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How helpful are practice logs? #2799551
01/07/19 10:32 PM
01/07/19 10:32 PM
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 450
Canada
Bluoh Offline OP
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Bluoh  Offline OP
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Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 450
Canada
Do you have a practice log? Do you record your playing using your phone?

What kinds of things do you write in your practice log? How useful is it? I.e. does it help you practice more, and does it improve your quality of practice?

I was thinking of creating something online to help pianists keep track of their practice and recordings!

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Re: How helpful are practice logs? [Re: Bluoh] #2799572
01/08/19 12:36 AM
01/08/19 12:36 AM
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 5,689
Seattle area, WA
gooddog Offline
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Seattle area, WA
I’ve never used one, even in my youth. I keep track of what I need to work on in my head. I briefly worked with a (horrible) teacher who demanded a practice log. I found it annoying.


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: How helpful are practice logs? [Re: Bluoh] #2799577
01/08/19 01:08 AM
01/08/19 01:08 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 21,922
Victoria, BC
BruceD Offline
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Victoria, BC
I'm in the same class as Deborah. I don't see the need for documenting my practice routine; I know what I do from one day to the next and I know what I need to do to keep moving forward.

What others do, shouldn't be a determining factor in what you do, although suggestions from others may be helpful to give you new ideas. In the long run, however, do what works for you.

Regards,


BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190
Re: How helpful are practice logs? [Re: Bluoh] #2799579
01/08/19 01:10 AM
01/08/19 01:10 AM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 789
Dublin
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johnstaf Offline
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Dublin
I'm with the previous two posters. I don't see the point of it for me. I can see how other people might make use of it, but I'm not great at keeping things organised...

Re: How helpful are practice logs? [Re: Bluoh] #2799582
01/08/19 01:22 AM
01/08/19 01:22 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 1,876
Tyrone Slothrop Online content
Tyrone Slothrop  Online Content


Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 1,876
I was using Inspire Music Practice Journal part of last year. But since it hadn't been updated in a year, I tried the Sessions Music Practice Log, which is better maintained, although a little anemic in its capabilities. I discovered this online tool here, but before I signed up to try it, I decided to go with PianoTV Allysia's Practice Journal for Musicians, which I just got and am starting to use.

I get why people don't journal however. Like gooddog, I've previously kept everything in my head, whether for work or play. But to be able to review it, I've been trying to journal now, first electronically, and now on paper.


across the stone, deathless piano performances
Re: How helpful are practice logs? [Re: Bluoh] #2799601
01/08/19 03:39 AM
01/08/19 03:39 AM
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 574
South Wales
C
Colin Miles Online content
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Colin Miles  Online Content
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South Wales
I have a notebook on the piano where I have logged every session since I restarted some 17 years ago. Since I got my new piano the target has been around 2 hours a day, 6 days a week. I only do relatively short, concentrated sessions from 10 to 30 mins but every little helps. I either use my watch to do the timing, or an online stopwatch. I only log the time, not the content.

I do have targets regarding what I will practice and general overall aims, but that is separate and very fluid as to how closely I follow all of these. Useful for me, but each to his own.


Roland LX7

South Wales, UK
Re: How helpful are practice logs? [Re: Bluoh] #2799644
01/08/19 07:40 AM
01/08/19 07:40 AM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 279
Virginia
coaster Offline
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coaster  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 279
Virginia
I started keeping one. It's just a plain composition book I keep on the piano. I don't write much - just the date and which piece(s) I worked on. I might make a note about if I did slow practice, what metronome markings I worked at, or which measures need more attention in my next session. Sometimes I might even write down something new I tried in a certain part or a new idea I want to try next. Lastly, I write in the margin how many minutes I spent on that piece.

I have found it to be useful, especially when I have a lot of pieces I'm preparing for something like a solo recital or competition. I can see which ones I've neglected for a few days. Otherwise, I tend to forget what I did and what my plans are, even from day to day.

I've also found it interesting to see just how long (minute-wise) it takes me to learn to play a piece all the way through fairly decently. Sometimes what seems like forever really isn't all that long, and that is encouraging.

Edited to add: You asked about recordings. When I was learning Chopin's 4th Ballade this summer, every few days I would post a snippet on my Facebook page in its own separate album so I could document the progress. That was fun, but I probably wouldn't do it too often, as it could seem obnoxious to post the same kind of thing over and over and over.

Last edited by coaster; 01/08/19 07:44 AM.

aka Lady Arabesque
Re: How helpful are practice logs? [Re: Bluoh] #2799681
01/08/19 08:53 AM
01/08/19 08:53 AM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 11,249
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bennevis Offline
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When I was a student in high school, I had a 'homework book' which all students were given to use for their academic subjects. Similarly, the peripatetic music teachers used them for all their students, and wrote in them what needed to be accomplished or worked on for the next week's lesson.

But it wasn't a practice log, and I've never seen any need for one. Any piece I work on takes as long as it takes, and if I was to look at my practice log and saw that I'd spent 500 days of practicing two hours a day on a particular piece, I might be disheartened and give up. And that would mean that some of my favorite works that I play today for my own pleasure, as well as perform regularly (like Gaspard), would never have seen the light of day (at least, not from my own dainty fingers), and that would never do...... cry

Conversely, I might also look back on my log and saw that it took me all of fifteen minutes to learn and memorize a piece, and think that I must be pretty good wink........but on the other hand, that piece was actually very easy (like Von fremden Ländern und Menschen), and that would not be good for my own self-development either.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: How helpful are practice logs? [Re: Bluoh] #2799765
01/08/19 01:26 PM
01/08/19 01:26 PM
Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 680
North Vancouver
L
Lady Bird Online content
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Lady Bird  Online Content
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Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 680
North Vancouver
I sort of keep a log .I play quite a feW pieces but lately forget what has
been worked on and what sections need to be spruced up .
I just write down." middle sections LH of Beethoven Sonata in Bflat ,first movement "or grace notes of Chopin Nocturne in G minor "and the date .
This helps and encourages me to try and do some more good practice the next evening on a different piece or play the piece and
see what else needs to be done .
Some evenings I "reward" myself by just playing .

.

Re: How helpful are practice logs? [Re: Bluoh] #2799768
01/08/19 01:34 PM
01/08/19 01:34 PM
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 2,567
SE USA
WhoDwaldi Offline
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WhoDwaldi  Offline
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Joined: May 2008
Posts: 2,567
SE USA
Much of the time, score scribbles are a sort of practice or lack-of-practice log. Some teachers write a rich history of dates next to the same missed notes. 😁

Planning out broadly can be helpful, things like: "I have 3 months to learn this and will have notes secure by week 5 and memorized by week 9." However, I knew someone who was very detailed with daily goals and such--the piece had different ideas (some passages needed more or less attention than anticipated, or what was good one day fell apart the next and needed work RIGHT THEN, regardless of plans).


WhoDwaldi
Re: How helpful are practice logs? [Re: WhoDwaldi] #2799772
01/08/19 01:39 PM
01/08/19 01:39 PM
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 574
South Wales
C
Colin Miles Online content
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Colin Miles  Online Content
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Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 574
South Wales
Originally Posted by WhoDwaldi
However, I knew someone who was very detailed with daily goals and such--the piece had different ideas (some passages needed more or less attention than anticipated, or what was good one day fell apart the next and needed work RIGHT THEN, regardless of plans).


Indeed. I always think it's a bit like gardening. I would go out with plans to do certain things then as soon as I got to the allotment discover that something else needed urgent attention. Flexibility is the key - work on what needs to be worked on.


Roland LX7

South Wales, UK
Re: How helpful are practice logs? [Re: WhoDwaldi] #2799837
01/08/19 05:46 PM
01/08/19 05:46 PM
Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 680
North Vancouver
L
Lady Bird Online content
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Lady Bird  Online Content
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Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 680
North Vancouver
Originally Posted by WhoDwaldi
Much of the time, score scribbles are a sort of practice or lack-of-practice log. Some teachers write a rich history of dates next to the same missed notes. 😁

Planning out broadly can be helpful, things like: "I have 3 months to learn this and will have notes secure by week 5 and memorized by week 9." However, I knew someone who was very detailed with daily goals and such--the piece had different ideas (some passages needed more or less attention than anticipated, or what was good one day fell apart the next and needed work RIGHT THEN, regardless of plans).

Right one day falling apart next .,this is bad practice or other problems .,probably both.

Re: How helpful are practice logs? [Re: Bluoh] #2799844
01/08/19 06:00 PM
01/08/19 06:00 PM
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 451
Toronto, Canada
T
thepianoplayer416 Online content
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Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 451
Toronto, Canada
I've never kept a practice log. If all you are doing is to keep a log of the amount of time you practice, it doesn't tell you much about your practice session. I normally practice for at least an hour a day anyway.

I do record regularly with my keyboard. When I'm just practicing my pieces, I'd press the REC button on top at the end of the session to take a sound recording. When I'm proficient with a piece, I'll set up a tripod and record the video version. Just listening to the notes you don't usually pick out incorrect posture like bending your back too much, sitting too far or playing with dropped wrists.

Re: How helpful are practice logs? [Re: Bluoh] #2799879
01/08/19 08:02 PM
01/08/19 08:02 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,842
Georgia, USA
Sam S Offline

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Sam S  Offline

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Posts: 2,842
Georgia, USA
My college teacher sometimes makes us keep a practice log and turn it in for points - its a good exercise but not something I want to do every day.

I used to keep a paper notebook, but I found that I only wrote down times in it. Now I keep track of time with an app on my phone called "Now Then". It just takes too much time to write something down in a notebook. The app has to be fast, unobtrusive, and easy to use.

I do write on the music - a lot. Practice tempos, dates when I reached some milestone, tempos of recordings I've listened too, facts that would make good talking points about the piece. Its easy to find those notes too - there they are, right on the music.

Sam

Re: How helpful are practice logs? [Re: Bluoh] #2800151
01/09/19 01:55 PM
01/09/19 01:55 PM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 117
Sweden
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Animisha Online content
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Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 117
Sweden
Originally Posted by Bluoh
Do you have a practice log? What kinds of things do you write in your practice log? How useful is it? I.e. does it help you practice more, and does it improve your quality of practice?

Yes! I have no piano teacher and my rule is that I need to play a piece at least on three days in a satisfactory way before I drop it. So in my log I write, for instance, piece 98: 1/1 - 2/1 - 4/1 (Thus, meaning that on each of these three days I was satisfied with my playing. Before I had a log, I was often unsure if I was ready with a piece or not.)

Originally Posted by Bluoh
Do you record your playing using your phone?

Yes. I record my playing (sound only) with Garageband on my Air (Mac), listen to it, practise the things that need to be improved and keep on doing that until I have made a recording I am satisfied with.
And yes, I record my playing (sound and vision) using my phone, but only small fragments. I compare these fragments to a teacher who plays the same fragments.

Originally Posted by Bluoh
I was thinking of creating something online to help pianists keep track of their practice and recordings!

Good idea, good luck!

Re: How helpful are practice logs? [Re: Bluoh] #2800756
01/11/19 05:18 AM
01/11/19 05:18 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 1,778
Auckland, New Zealand
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Ted Offline
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Ted  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2002
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Auckland, New Zealand
If I have a good idea, musical, technical or otherwise, late at night, I often write a note about it for the next day. I don't know about anyone else, but I seem to have wonderful insights just before bed and they invariably vanish by morning if I do not do this. I am aware the next day that something was discovered the night before but cannot recollect what it was; very annoying. When I injured myself I kept an experimental diary to aid recovery, but that was not a practice log, which I have never used.

Last edited by Ted; 01/11/19 05:19 AM.

"We shall always love the music of the masters, but they are all dead and now it's our turn." - Llewelyn Jones, my piano teacher

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