Five Musical New Years Resolutions (You Might Actually Keep)

"This year is going to be different."

That's what you told yourself last year, isn't it? Well, just because you have the desire and will to make a New Year's Resolution doesn't mean you have the will to actually get it done. It's pretty easy to make Wishtown your home when you really need to move to Do City (say "Do City" a few times fast; it's worth it).

You've got rock 'n' roll New Year's resolutions, and we've got advice for you on how to learn guitar, start a band, get into local music, and more. Plus -- these resolutions aren't a total drag, so might actually wind up sticking to them.

Learn to play the guitar

Or the instrument of your choice, really. Let's face it, if you only bought a guitar to woo a lady with your skills, save the douchebaggery and invest in some John Mayer tickets or something. If you want to be proficient enough to play at parties, all you need to do is learn four chords - G, C, F and A

But, hey, if you've always wanted to learn to shred, there are ways to stay motivated. You can find great tutorials on YouTube, but having the one on one experience with a teacher allows you to ask questions. Many local music shops, like Milano Music in Mesa, offer lessons. Or, just head to your local record store and scope out the flyers.

Start a band

So now you have the guitar part down and you want to put your skills to good use. You could go the traditional route of starting a band by going out to local shows and simply schmoozing with people. See if any of them are musicians.

There's really no need to do that these days, though. You can connect with almost any kind of musician with Craigslist or (as we mentioned here yesterday.) As soon as you wade through the creepy, get a conversation started with prospective partners about the kind of music you'd like to play and the direction you'd like to take things.

Start appreciating/supporting local music

You can find some excellent suggestions from music editor Jason Woodbury here, but really, the best way to get in touch with the local music scene is to get in the trenches. Go to shows of bands you're unfamiliar with. Head to Stinkweeds and buy some of the aforementioned local records and put them on heavy rotation. Soon enough, you'll be memorizing lyrics and counting down the days until shows. Hell, maybe your new favorite band is accessible and right here in the Valley.

Record an album

There are many ways to approach this and all of them require a bit of money, unless you plan on recording on that karaoke machine your grandmother just bought you for Christmas. First, you can invest in some equipment to record at home. This is probably something more along the lines of a demo. For a record, you want to go big and start shopping around for the ideal producer. Save up some cash. The trick is that the producer also has to want to work with you. Cash helps. Take time to find the right match. Then, you can send the record off to record companies, or just take the DIY, self-promotion route.

Brush up on the classics

If Robert Zimmerman references leave you clueless, it might be time to think about how your favorite music evolved. If you're digging on Fleet Foxes, it could be argued that they never would have existed without Simon and Garfunkel. If you don't want to pay $22 for S&G on vinyl, head to your dad's record cabinet. If he doesn't have any vinyl, odds are he, and every other dad on the planet, donated those records to Goodwill. Get to searching. Most vinyl at the second hand store is between $1 and $3.

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Christina Caldwell