Friday, May 8, 2009

Keeping a Practice Journal

Ever wonder why your playing isn't really improving - why you're not seeing a marked change in your ability to read  music, play chord progressions, or speed through those scale exercises?  You might be suffering from a lack of what we call 'discipline'.

If you're really serious about improving, there's no better way to track your practice time and improvement than by keeping a practice journal.  Here's how you do it:

Make a spreadsheet that you can use for an entire month.  Use one row for dates and one column for all of the different things you need to practice: bar chords, scales, arpeggios, sight-reading, ear-training, etc.

At the beginning of the month, make a few, key goals, then think about how much practice time you'll have to put in to meet those goals.  In an extra blank column, write down how much time you think you should practice every day next to each of the different items you need to practice (from above).

Every day you practice, keep track of exactly what you work on, using a timer to keep track of how long you practice.  As an extra motivator, use a metrenome to track and record your speed on scale exercises.  Write the beats per minute and rhythmic division you use (quarter, eighth, or sixteenth notes) in the column for the exercise for that date.

I have attached a sample, one-month journal page as a Microsoft Excel file (xls).  And because every student curriculum is a bit different, you'll probably want to go in and tweak the fields a bit.  Here it is: 

I hope this helps!  Keep practicing!


If you have any questions or comments, use the "comments" link below.

No comments:

Post a Comment