Keeping A Practice Diary.
Sometimes keeping a practice diary can get over looked. Let's look at some of the benefits of keeping one.
Firstly what is a practice diary?. It is somewhere where we are going to log what we have been practicing, within are practice sessions. It is also a place where we can note any difficulties you are having with a particular area of your playing.
In are practice diary we can put down what we have achieved in are practice sessions, and tick off any goals we have completed. This one is a good one, as I like to write down all the goals I have for that week, month or even year.
I will be honest with you, I don't always keep a practice diary. But when I know I have a specific goal that I need to accomplish, I will always have one. I find that keeping a diary just gives me that extra bit of discipline, to help me work towards my musical goals.
Having a practice diary, you can see each week, what you are practicing. You can see how long you are spending on each area, and what areas you need to work on.
What to write in your practice diary.
This is so you can keep track of the days you are practicing.
I always add a warm up section to my practice diary. You may want to use sight-reading as a warm up, and keeping track of this is a really good idea.
Simple really, just writing down what you are working on. It maybe scales, chords, or a particular song or riff.
What key signature you are working in?. You maybe working in the key of G major one week, and then the key of A major another week.
Keeping track of what keys you are working in will help you not miss any of the key signatures you might find tricky. You don't always want to work in Keys you find comfortable.
Writing in the key signatures you are working in, will help you focus your practice. One week you might be working in the keys of C major,G major, and D major ,so the 2nd week of practice you might want to change this up, and work in the keys of A major,E major and F major.
What I like to write in the Rhythm section is, what subdivisions I am working on. Say I'm working on an arpeggio idea, and I'm playing the arpeggio in triplets. I want to keep track of this, as I can change different subdivisions and cover all possibilities in the following weeks.
Writing down the duration of your practice session, you can clearly see if you are using you time wisely, or if you could be more strict.
How long you have spent on an idea or technique, will determine if you need to spend more time on that particular area. Say if you are spending 10 minutes on the G major scale, 3 note per string, starting on the 3rd fret, 6th string. You are playing triplets at 90bpm and you can't seem to play it any faster, even though you are practicing it on a daily basis. Writing down the duration, you can see how much time you are giving it and it maybe an idea to give that exercise more time.
With regarding time on a certain exercise, you may want to spend 1 hour on a chordal exercise for instance, but it is a good idea to develop and build up to this. You may want to spend 15 minutes a day one week, then increase during the following weeks. Going into an exercise full speed ahead, you can quickly burn out.
You don't need to write a lot in your practice diary, just enough so you can keep track of what you are doing.
I find after a practice session, spending 5min at the end, just writing in my practice diary, a nice way to wind down the session.
Where to get a practice diary.
Now of course you can get a note pad for your diary, but I find there to be some nice ones on amazon, which have all the titles you need in them.
Also feel free to make your own, and be creative with them. I know some people like to have different practice diaries for different areas of their playing, maybe one for sight reading, one for scales, and one for songs.
I hope you find enjoyment in keeping a musical diary, like I have always done.
If you would like lessons, and a clear guide on a practice routine, then please feel free to get in contact for a FREE 30min lesson to all new students.
Till next time.