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#2232363 - 02/16/14 01:59 AM Are you keeping a practice journal?  
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Calgary Mike Offline
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If so, what kinds of things are you keeping track of...?


Kawai K6 and Yamaha P85
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#2232376 - 02/16/14 02:42 AM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: Calgary Mike]  
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I think a practice journal is essential and could not get by without mine.

I use an excel workbook with a list of pieces I am working on in one column against the date in the other column. I might also include a part of a piece I am trying to master or a technical exercise I want to track. If I work on something I put just a "yes" next to the item and date. The absence of any "yes" entries reminds me I am avoiding something lol, and lets me know the start and finish date of a piece.

In another page of my workbook I track my sight reading exercises. I track the date, time spent, tempo and grade level I have worked on as I use a computer program for these exercises and may attempt different tempo's and grade levels. I can look back and see a small but steady improvement over time. I started monitoring this when I found I was missing days and preferring to work on pieces rather than sight reading (naughty me).

The third page of my workbook is for scales. If I work on a scale, again it gets a "yes" entry for a particular day. Using the counting function of excel I track which scales I have worked on and how many times I work on it. Again this sort of simple entry lets me know if I am shirking my scales, or if I am favouring one over another. Some of them still have a zero against them as I still have major scales I have yet to start.

I use a fourth page of my workbook to enter piece names I want to learn and have a sort of queuing system for what comes next.

I just happen to really like excel and find as things change then so to a spreadsheet program is quite adaptable.

That takes care of the monitoring stuff, for the more personal aspect I keep a diary in Microsoft Word. Entries tend to be once a week to once a fortnight usually after I have some sort of revelation, an uplifting event or am down in the dumps. It's only been going for a just over a year (since I started)and to me is an interesting chart of the ups and downs of your typical adult learner with a fastidious recording keeping problem.


Problems with piano are 90% psychological, the other 10% is in your head.

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#2232389 - 02/16/14 03:49 AM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: Calgary Mike]  
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Earlofmar, which computer program do you use for practising sight reading? Is it free?

Last edited by TheodorN; 02/16/14 03:50 AM.

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#2232412 - 02/16/14 05:14 AM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: Calgary Mike]  
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earlofmar Offline
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TheodorN - I use sightreadingfactory.com and I have taken out a yearly subscription which I think is very reasonable. You can trial it for free however to see if you think it is going to benefit you.


Problems with piano are 90% psychological, the other 10% is in your head.

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#2232419 - 02/16/14 05:58 AM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: Calgary Mike]  
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I keep a school exercise book on the piano listing the pieces and bar numbers I'm to be working on that week and tick them off as I go. I periodically leave a page to list all the current pieces in memory that I play through at weekends and a list at the back of the book of my long term repertoire pieces.

Like earlofmar, I also keep a spreadsheet with more detailed commentary, history and projections.



Richard
#2232445 - 02/16/14 07:46 AM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: Calgary Mike]  
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Thank you earlofmar, will check it out. This site also came up after a Google search.

Last edited by TheodorN; 02/16/14 07:47 AM.

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#2232456 - 02/16/14 08:32 AM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: Calgary Mike]  
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mabraman Offline
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There are free templates of schedules in musiciansway, too.
Faith Maydwell (aussy as earlofmar) wrote an excellent book "Piano teaching" in which she explains how to keep a practice diary and what to write in it.


Learning piano from scratch since September, 2012.
Kawai ES7.Kawai K-200
#2232460 - 02/16/14 09:06 AM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: earlofmar]  
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Originally Posted by earlofmar
TheodorN - I use sightreadingfactory.com and I have taken out a yearly subscription which I think is very reasonable. You can trial it for free however to see if you think it is going to benefit you.


I've looked at it and reminded me a prototype in which I was working a while ago.

Last edited by supertorpe; 02/16/14 09:07 AM.

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#2232471 - 02/16/14 09:43 AM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: Calgary Mike]  
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TheodorN Offline
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Started a new thread on sight-reading, since the original topic is about something else.

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/2232470.html#Post2232470


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#2232493 - 02/16/14 10:22 AM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: Calgary Mike]  
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I don't, but I am going to start tracking repetitions of tricky passages, since I know I cheat. I will just write the measure number and tally marks on a post it.


Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.
– Roald Dahl

#2232503 - 02/16/14 10:56 AM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: Calgary Mike]  
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I'm slacking off filling up mine but I usually use a regular notebook ( I really like the large ruled moleskine, the hard cover is rugged enough and the size is perfect for me). sometimes I'm happy just to "check in" if I touch the piano, most of the times I also write what I'm practicing and the progress. I practice "often enough" that I can still remember what I did the day before, but I like to mark when I start new pages or some hard spot that might take some time to be acquired. It's also a very nice way to see your progress and keep you motivated. just roll back, check what you were playing / struggling on 2 years ago and try how easy does feel today. if it doesn't, you're doing something wrong and you know you need to change something. ( in my case was, get a teacher ).



Private Piano Teacher. MTNA
working on:
Albeniz: Iberia
Beethoven: Op 53
Bartok: Mikrokosmos vol. 5
Debussy: Estampes
Moszkowski: Op 72
#2232513 - 02/16/14 11:26 AM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: Ataru074]  
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No. However, I do post every week to the Achievement thread (AOTW). Over time, this is journal, but not a what most would think of as a practice journal.

In my case, I don't think the traditional practice journal would do me much good, because I spend a lot of time writing music, and am so very slow at learning pieces. People are different, and will have different experiences.

#2232544 - 02/16/14 12:29 PM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: Calgary Mike]  
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I use a loose-leaf 3-ring binder.

There's a page for each piece I'm working on. That makes it easy to add and subtract pages. I keep the pages for past stuff in an "archive" binder.

For each piece I record what part of it I practised, and what I accomplished/was trying to accomplish. Something like "the A section, last 4 measures, 5 x each at 40 (bpm) to 55 by 5s) or "the octaves, staying relaxed, making sure thumb hits the key" or "experimenting with different accents" or whatever. This is helpful to me as I progress thru a piece.

Then I have a page on which I simply record the total time I spent in a section, and what pieces I spent it on. This helps with motivation for getting to the bench, since I track total time (it's what I do instead of MOYD), and lets me know if I'm neglecting important pieces (like repertoire for a gig).

Works for me.

Cathy


Cathy
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#2232559 - 02/16/14 12:56 PM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: Calgary Mike]  
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Pencil and paper, using forms available from graham Fitch's site.
The Bach fugue below is up to 24 pages . Mr. Beethoven at 20

I stRted doing this in June of last year. I can't imagine not doing this now.


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Haydn Hob. XVI: 23 in F major
Debussy Arabesque #1
#2232560 - 02/16/14 12:56 PM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: Calgary Mike]  
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I keep a practice journal. Looking back reveals my progress/sticking points and where I need to change my approach to whatever I'm working on. It is great to see where you are, where you've been and where you are headed. Also, whenever I've taken a few days off (not often, but it happens - work schedule, not feeling well, etc...) and go back I see where I am. It really is a "progress Guide" so to speak and a very useful tool as a pianist.


Barbara
...without music, no life...
#2232565 - 02/16/14 01:11 PM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: Calgary Mike]  
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When I wrote my Rules and Commandments the number one Commandment was: Thou Shalt Not Kid Thyself. If you don't write it down you really have no way of knowing how much you practiced or even an accurate idea of what you covered. However, if you keep records you will always know just how diligent or... lazy you have been. You can't kid yourself as to why your playing is suffering or shining.

Keep whatever records you need to help your motivation. My records have gone through various iterations through the years depending on my needs. I have pretty complete records for most of the past 30 years. For the past several years I have kept an Excel spread sheet log. This has proven handy for allowing me to monitor my efforts from month to month and year to year. Also, it makes final tallies on pieces of music pretty easy. It is a very important part of planning to have a reasonable idea of just how long it will take to learn a new piece if you know what it took to learn the last piece of similar length and difficulty.

My blog, which includes the complete Rules and Commandments is linked to in my signature: AndrewRemillard.com. Just open the rules and commandments folders.

ANR


Andrew Remillard
http://www.ANRPiano.com
http://www.AndrewRemillard.com
Downers Grove, IL 60515
#2232622 - 02/16/14 03:37 PM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: anrpiano]  
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adultpianist Offline
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I dont need to keep one because when I have a lesson, my teacher writes the homework in a notebook so I look at that

#2232632 - 02/16/14 03:58 PM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: adultpianist]  
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My teacher also writes my assignments in a notebook.

But I do have a separate journal that I keep. In that I write specific details of what I work on each day. I also include my thoughts and frustrations, successes too. The journal allows me to reflect on my progress, allowing me to see where I have been and project where I am going. All in all, it helps with my focus.


Kawai MP11 : JBL LSR305 : Focusrite 2i4 : Pianoteq Standard

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams. Willy Wonka


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#2232635 - 02/16/14 04:00 PM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: Calgary Mike]  
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I keep a spiral-bound notebook at the piano (start date 29-Nov-2011) and write in the date and what I'm working on. For pieces I've already learned and am playing for fun or to refresh, I'll usually just jot down the name of the piece.

For things I'm still learning, I'll put down the measure numbers I'm working on and often include a reminder for the next day's practice, such as "Attn: articulation in m. xx. And count!" or something of that sort.

Sometimes it's useful to go back and see when you started working on a piece, but mostly (for me) it's rewarding to see the pages pile up as testimony to practicing everyday.


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#2232651 - 02/16/14 04:28 PM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: Calgary Mike]  
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invaluable app called music journal.
http://www.axe-monkey.com/musicjournal/

Built-in Metronome
Set the beats per minute (BPM) and play along
Metronome always starts at the speed you last practiced
Perfect as a count-in when playing at full tempo

Track Your Progress
View detailed practice times for each song or group of songs
Beautiful graphs show total/average practice over time
Track your speed in BPM to see how you improve
Vary your repertoire by choosing songs you haven't practiced recently
Stay Organized
Keep songs organized in folders by composer, instrument, etc.
Rearrange songs and add subfolders when you need
Attach optional notes, color labels, and BPM goals to every song
Bonus Features
Import and export your data by email
Share a summary report with a music teacher or friends
Universal app designed for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad




#2232862 - 02/16/14 11:49 PM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: Calgary Mike]  
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Nope. I do not keep a practice journal


So much music and so little time!
-----------------------------------
1916 Mason & Hamlin BB
Yamaha P155
#2232969 - 02/17/14 08:20 AM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: Silver Keys]  
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adultpianist Offline
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For those of you who do keep one and find it helpful that is good. As I said before, I do not need to keep one. I do not feel the need to track my progress in such a manner. I have a teacher who writes my homework in a book and I take the book home and look at what she has written and complete whatever homework she has given me. I have a brain in my head and can think beyond what she has written and just do a bit more if I feel I have more time. I know in my own head what progress I have made and each time I have a lesson we discuss my homework and go from there.

#2232995 - 02/17/14 09:24 AM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: adultpianist]  
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Originally Posted by adultpianist
For those of you who do keep one and find it helpful that is good. As I said before, I do not need to keep one. I do not feel the need to track my progress in such a manner. I have a teacher who writes my homework in a book and I take the book home and look at what she has written and complete whatever homework she has given me. I have a brain in my head and can think beyond what she has written and just do a bit more if I feel I have more time. I know in my own head what progress I have made and each time I have a lesson we discuss my homework and go from there.
interesting


Kawai MP11 : JBL LSR305 : Focusrite 2i4 : Pianoteq Standard

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams. Willy Wonka


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#2233002 - 02/17/14 09:41 AM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: scorpio]  
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I keep one, but it is extremely simple. A paper notebook and a pencil. I write the date, the time I started, and a extremely cryptic shorthand for the piece, then the time I moved on to the next piece, then the time I stopped and so on.

Here's yesterday's entry:
2/16/14
6:13
C 69/2
6:45
T June
7:08
Joplin
7:33

So only I can really read it. C = Chopin, T = Tchaikovsky, and the Joplin is Fig Leaf - the three recitals I am preparing for.

So I know how much in a day I have practiced.
I know how much time I spend on each piece.
I only spend a few seconds writing.
I don't have to fool with computers or apps, things that would detract from my enjoyment of practice.

Occasionally I go back and add up the time I have spent on a piece, by hand, counting on my fingers and toes smile but not often.

So I take the minimalist approach and keep it very simple.

Sam

#2233004 - 02/17/14 09:55 AM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: Calgary Mike]  
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I don't really. I do have a notebook where I keep notes from lessons, and I will note down questions or revelations that come up during practice. Sometimes I'll also keep track of how far I've gotten in a piece, measure numbers or tempo.

I haven't felt the need to keep track of my practice time. I'm not too worried about being lazy, as I practice whenever I can. In fact, I'm a little afraid that if I added it up, I'd have to admit how much time I'm stealing from other things for the piano! (Might be almost as bad as counting up the time spent on PW smile! )


1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Haydn, Sonata Hob. XVI: 19
Chopin, Waltz in E minor (op. posth.)
Schubert, Op. 90 no. 2
#2233044 - 02/17/14 10:50 AM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: adultpianist]  
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Originally Posted by adultpianist
I dont need to keep one because when I have a lesson, my teacher writes the homework in a notebook so I look at that


there's a huge difference between writing down an assignment and keeping a journal. Not the same thing at all.

#2233046 - 02/17/14 10:55 AM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: adultpianist]  
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Originally Posted by adultpianist
As I said before, I do not need to keep one.


If you play for fun, you don't need it. What's to track? But if you don't play for fun, then you are thinking like a hobbyist while fooling yourself that you are more than a hobbyist.

#2233056 - 02/17/14 11:20 AM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: Calgary Mike]  
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jotur Offline
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I think the purpose of a practice journal is different for different people. Just as many here in the ABF find MOYD an integral way to keep them on track, and some of us don't, some of us (me included) find that keeping track of total time we spend gives us a little nudge and some of us don't find that useful. But I think it's a personality thing on those kinds of things - I've been a "score keeper" since I was very young, and it's manifested itself in many variations over my life, from literally keeping score for my brothers' baseball teams to using it make a living part-time by doing bookkeeping. It's just part of my neurology.

The crux of a practice journal, to me, goes beyond those nudges, and is embodied in jdw's post:

Originally Posted by jdw
I will note down questions or revelations that come up during practice.


That's the real use of my practice journal, too - the questions - why isn't the forte really forte? - and the revelations - ah, that's how it really feels to play with no tenseness - or, ah, I can feel the tenseness in my shoulders, I hadn't noticed that before. Because, for me, those are what lead to problem-solving and finding ways to practice more efficiently and play more musically. And keeping the details of what I'm practicing. It's way too easy, given the number of piano projects I have, to not remember which measures or problem spots I've spent time on, or what tempos I've been working at, accomplishing them or not.

So for me the practice journal is also an integral part of being an independent musician.

And there are those for whom a practice journal isn't the way they remember questions and revelations, too.

I'm always sceptical of one-size-fits-all prescriptions. My favorite one is the housekeeping guru that insists that the first thing you have to do every morning is "get dressed to shoes", "put your shoes on". Well, I learned some things from her, but putting on my shoes wasn't one of them laugh Around the house, and in the office for that matter, shoes are a horrible distraction for me. So I don't wear them. I pad around bare- or sock-footed. People are different, and they learn to listen to themselves.

But a practice journal has made a huge difference for me.

Cathy


Cathy
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Practice what you suck at - anonymous
#2233136 - 02/17/14 01:28 PM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: Calgary Mike]  
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I already gave up on using tally marks for repetitions of tricky bits. Picking up a pencil and making a mark is too disruptive. I am keeping track using a visualization trick someone taught me for knitting.


Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.
– Roald Dahl

#2233168 - 02/17/14 02:31 PM Re: Are you keeping a practice journal? [Re: malkin]  
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I keep one, and find it very helpful for me in many ways. My journal has gone through a few iterations over time. I based it on the Musician's way form originally. Each week I print out a form I made in excel that lists the technical work for the week, pieces in the new, developing, and performing category, and sight reading. The form is for one week, I record the times for each piece or category along with goals or notes on problems. It has really helped me assure that I cover everything in the week. It also gives me goals to work toward, or reassurance when I look back at previous weeks or months to see what I was struggling with that now is easy. It is a great motivator.

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