Brina Kay © 2019

  • Brina's Nashville Diary

SMART Music Goals

Disclaimer: This is another old post that I accidentally skipped over. I honestly could not have found it at a better time, because I am in the midst of setting my goals for year two. It's really cool for me to read some of this and know that I have made a lot of progress this past year. I will leave another note in italics from me today 10/30/19 reflecting on what I wrote in this post and how I feel now.




I learned the value of setting SMART goals from my day job, and I have brought that into my music as well. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. I decided to make these for my music at the start of the year. And they were very ambitious.


One thing about being an aspiring artist in Nashville, that I’ve come to learn is very important, is prioritization. There is a lot I want to accomplish here, like learning guitar, brushing up on my fiddle playing, creating social media content and growing my following, etc. that I want to do and that is all-important in some way, but it also all requires time and money. So while setting goals is an important first step, prioritizing them is even more important.


I need to learn guitar, and I will in time, but my main focus at this moment is my voice. I have a good voice. I grew up playing an instrument and understand how to sing on key, breathe all the basics. But there is a lot I want to improve on, such as my range and stamina. I can always find someone to play for me (like Perry who graciously did for my first writer’s round and for my YouTube videos) but if I want to be a performer, not just a writer, I need to be able to sing at my best.


So the first goal I achieved was finding a voice teacher and setting up lessons. Like most musical things here in Nashville, there was an overwhelming number of options for voice teachers I had to choose from. I again utilized the power of Facebook groups and asked for advice in the YEP group (Young Entertainment Professionals) and got a number of good responses. I narrowed my choices down to the teachers who’d been recommended multiple times, and then by those who offered free consultations. After meeting with him, I decided on Brian Lucas. His nontraditional style of teaching (going beyond simple scales and exercises) paired with his scientific approach and charismatic personality made me feel really comfortable. He had me singing better within minutes and I knew he’d be the right teacher for me.


I’m currently working on three new singles and planning two music videos. This, along with my vocal coaching is urgent and important because I need to be producing music and musical content if I want to attract fans. My overall goal right now is to get my Spotify streaming numbers up along with my social following. When labels see you already have a fanbase, they are more likely to give you a shot, and even if they don’t, with fans, the music can still generate income and lead to future opportunities.


After I spend the money on these singles and depending on if I can get a loan from the bank or not, I will start formal guitar lessons. Then after that, I will look for formal fiddle lessons. Until then I will continue to practice those on my own time. I am also going to dance classed once a week.


Don’t let people talk you out of investing in yourself. The way I see it, I spend over 30 thousand dollars for my college education, so why would it be irresponsible to put 10 thousand towards my music? It’s only going to seem irresponsible to people who don’t believe in you. Don’t be one of those people. It is no different than starting a small business, which people do all over the country every day. Nobody is going to take your music seriously as a career if you don’t first, and that means investing in yourself so you can produce a high-quality product people will want to buy. You can’t put a price on your dreams.


Here are the SMART goals I set out at the beginning of the year. If I'm being honest with myself, there is a lot that I didn't achieve (like guitar and my social media following lol) but I am proud of what I did achieve, and I am proud of the progress I was still able to make on the ones I didn't achieve. I will admit to being very ambitious and I need to keep in mind the "attainable" aspect of these goals (I realize I can use other tools like a vision board for manifesting the more lofty ones.) That being said, even writing out goals on paper is so important, because even if you don't achieve them, you are at least giving yourself a sense of direction and a reminder of what you think is important. I honestly haven't looked back at these in a while, and I'm glad I am because it will help me in terms of planning my round of goals for year two. I think every aspiring artist or honestly anyone who doesn't want to remain stagnant in their life or career should writing out goals. I don't want to be playing the same shows or doing the same things I'm doing today ten years from now, I want to keep progressing steadily toward bigger and better things and writing out my goals like this help me hold myself accountable.

Specific: learn guitar

Specific: Practice 3 days per week

Measurable: did I do it

Attainable: yes

Relevant: music, independence

Time-bound: Schedule lessons by the Feb 15th, once a week


Specific: perfect fiddle:

Specific: Practice three times a week

Measurable: did I do it

Attainable: yes

Relevant: skills

Time-Bound: Feel comfortable playing devil went down to Georgia by end of January, look into scheduling lessons by Feb 1st.


Specific: perfect voice:

Specific: practice on weekends with Mikes exercises

Measurable: did I do it

Attainable: yes

Relevant: skills

Time-Bound: Finnish all exercises, look into starting lessons by the end of the month


Specific: Go to NSAI every Thursday (unless songwriting

Measurable: did I do it

Attainable: yes

Relevant: networking

Time-bound: weekly


Specific: take a dance class

Measurable: did I

Attainable yes

Relevant: performance

Time-bound, once weekly or bi-weekly


Specific: attend one show a week

Measurable: did I do it

Attainable: yes

Relevant: networking/experience

Time-bound Weekly


Specific: Cowrite with two new people a month

Measurable: Did I

Attainable: yes

Relevant: networking/expanding mind

Time-bound: 2 per month


Specific: one new networking meet up a month

Measurable: Did I

Relevant: yes


1 video storytelling a week, one cover a week

Time-bound: Monthly


Long Term

Release 3 new singles by end of year

2 music videos by end of year One music video within the next three months

1 gig a month

See 1 show a week

2 cowrites a month

(reach out to someone once a week)

7,000 or more twitter followers by next year

1000 or more youtube subscribers by next year

5000 or more Instagram followers by next year

15000 or more monthly Spotify Listeners by next year

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