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Posted By: sara elizabeth Can we talk about apps again? - 07/31/19 12:38 PM
Specially practice logging apps. A lot of them require $$. I don’t mind paying if it’s good, but I was hoping people could share their experience. I just downloaded one called “practice notes” for iPhone (icon is sky blue with an 8th note). What I like: it has a timer that you start when you begin your piece, you can pause if you get up from piano, easy to use. You enter each individual piece that you need to practice and the amount of time you are planning on spending on it. What I don’t like: there doesn’t seem to be anything to do with the data. No graphs, no summaries etc.

Any suggestions?
Posted By: JDHMD Re: Can we talk about apps again? - 07/31/19 02:22 PM
I use old fashioned pen & note book... while I am a heavy user of IPhone and all sorts of apps, there is a point where returning to basics make sense...
Posted By: BruceD Re: Can we talk about apps again? - 07/31/19 03:07 PM
I don't understand the need to keep a record of every minute spent working on every individual piece. Perhaps you could explain why that is of such importance to you. If that is the way you practice, isn't a pencil and paper satisfactory?

I know we are all different, but: When I am working on a piece, I isolate sections that need work and work on them until either I have solved the problem I was working on or I have reached a point where I need to put the piece or section aside and work on something else.

I've never felt the need to keep a record of the number of minutes I have worked on a section because the results speak for themselves: either I have made progress or the section needs still more work. Frame of mind, attitude, energy, fatigue all determine whether I persevere, whether I turn to something else or whether I take a break for coffee.

Regards,

Posted By: sara elizabeth Re: Can we talk about apps again? - 07/31/19 04:01 PM
Originally Posted by BruceD
I don't understand the need to keep a record of every minute spent working on every individual piece. Perhaps you could explain why that is of such importance to you. If that is the way you practice, isn't a pencil and paper satisfactory?

I know we are all different, but: When I am working on a piece, I isolate sections that need work and work on them until either I have solved the problem I was working on or I have reached a point where I need to put the piece or section aside and work on something else.

I've never felt the need to keep a record of the number of minutes I have worked on a section because the results speak for themselves: either I have made progress or the section needs still more work. Frame of mind, attitude, energy, fatigue all determine whether I persevere, whether I turn to something else or whether I take a break for coffee.

Regards,



Hi Bruce -

I tend to get carried away on working on a single piece for too long, and then by the time I am ready to move on to the next piece, I don't want to practice anymore. I want to be able to section my practice off so I can make a sensible plan so nothing gets missed. I do not like pencil and paper because it requires me to look at the time and write it down, then do subtraction to figure out exactly how many minutes that was. Also if I go to the bathroom how much time should I subtract etc. I have tried pen and paper before and it's not me. I like numbers and analysis. I find graphs of my progress to be motivational. I find my unstructured practice has only gotten me so far, and now that I'm at a higher level I can't get away with the unstructured practice anymore. I end up working on my fave pieces and my technique and studies go several days without being worked on.

Sara
Posted By: BruceD Re: Can we talk about apps again? - 07/31/19 05:15 PM
Sara:

Thanks for your perspective.

Regards,
Posted By: Sam S Re: Can we talk about apps again? - 07/31/19 09:09 PM
I use my timer app, "Now Then", at every practice session. Ages ago I used a pencil and paper and just wrote down minutes, but that is really more trouble than using an app. When I start working on a particular piece, I start the timer. Want to know how long I have been on this piece? Look at the timer. Want to know how long I have been practicing? Look at the timer. And there is no cheating - maybe it feels like I did 30', but the app doesn't lie.

You add your own pieces ("tasks") to the timer, so the main screen has all my current projects in a list. Very nice. Since I am trying to juggle a lot of pieces, that keeps me from forgetting something. When was the last time I worked on X? The app knows. How much time did I spend on Y last week? The app knows.

So using an app is very helpful for me. "Now Then" is just a general task timer, not designed specifically for timing practice, so that is my only complaint about it.

Sam
Posted By: Chrispy Re: Can we talk about apps again? - 07/31/19 09:58 PM
You know I've not really looked at any practice logging apps until I read this so I poked at a few. I found Modacity (https://www.modacity.co) which I've been playing with. It's pretty neat. It lets you put in a lot of detail in the notes, including allowing you to easily break out "sub headings" as you start to focus on specific parts. It also has an integrated recorder and a neat timeline feature to listen to playing the piece over time. And, it adds a metronome too which seemed like a nice touch. Anyway might be worth a try for you, I'm going to give it a go and see how I like it. My only complaint so far is the font they use is quite small, even with my readers on it seems tiny. I'm going to try it for a week and see what I think.
Posted By: earlofmar Re: Can we talk about apps again? - 07/31/19 10:37 PM
I don't understand the benefit of charts and graphs but I did come to conclusion I needed to set target times on the pieces I was learning. Eg I wanted to stop just playing the piece a couple of times a day, then saying to myself I had finished that piece for the day. So I came up with some targets depending on the piece. Generally, I doubled the amount of time I would spend on any one piece, but in easy increments (10, 20, 30, 40 minutes). I bought a cheap timer and I fill in the results to an excel spreadsheet. Although I put in the time spent on the piece, it is really just ticking off that I played the piece on this day. I find this sort of documentation just keeps me honest, and the increased time on pieces has paid off as you would expect.
Posted By: malkin Re: Can we talk about apps again? - 07/31/19 10:43 PM
Happy birthday earlofmar!
Posted By: sara elizabeth Re: Can we talk about apps again? - 08/01/19 12:48 AM
Thanks for the insight Sam. Is it easy to remove old pieces when you are finished with them? I think I’ll try this one.
Posted By: Sam S Re: Can we talk about apps again? - 08/01/19 01:25 AM
Originally Posted by sara elizabeth
Thanks for the insight Sam. Is it easy to remove old pieces when you are finished with them? I think I’ll try this one.

Easy to delete - just swipe right.

You can also make folders. I have a technique folder with scales and arpeggios and so forth that I keep track of.

Sam
Posted By: sara elizabeth Re: Can we talk about apps again? - 08/01/19 02:00 AM
Okay I played around a bit with it and like it so far. I really like the colour coding. I made pieces in blues and technique in pinks.

I tried to download modacity but I couldn’t get it to work. I may try again tomorrow.
Posted By: Groove On Re: Can we talk about apps again? - 08/01/19 12:35 PM
The Better Practice App looks interesting, but haven’t had a chance to test it. Subscription is US$4 / month (free for teachers). Has categories to Learn, Master and Maintain pieces, plus spaced repetition for smarter practice.

Website - https://betterpracticeapp.com/
Posted By: earlofmar Re: Can we talk about apps again? - 08/01/19 09:37 PM
Originally Posted by malkin
Happy birthday earlofmar!


why thankyou. Funny how my piano birthday has been taking on more importance than actual birthday smile
Posted By: sara elizabeth Re: Can we talk about apps again? - 08/01/19 10:35 PM
Originally Posted by Groove On
The Better Practice App looks interesting, but haven’t had a chance to test it. Subscription is US$4 / month (free for teachers). Has categories to Learn, Master and Maintain pieces, plus spaced repetition for smarter practice.


What is spaced repetition?
Posted By: bSharp(C)yclist Re: Can we talk about apps again? - 08/02/19 12:01 AM
I've tried a couple of times to keep track of what I practice on paper. It lasts for a couple of days, and then I just go back to keeping track of it in my head smirk
Posted By: Henri2106 Re: Can we talk about apps again? - 08/02/19 02:38 AM
Hello, Sara, and pianist friends. I have been using the ForScore application on an Ipad pro to keep all my scores and read music. I really like it; allows one to take all the music library on a single piece of equipment anywhere along with email, podcasts, web browsing, etc.
ForScore has a function called Dashboard which keeps track of all the pieces which have been displayed (one assumes, therefore, played) over time. I don’t look at it too often, but it is a rather convenient way to track both time played daily and the pieces being worked on.
Posted By: Groove On Re: Can we talk about apps again? - 08/02/19 04:14 AM
Originally Posted by sara elizabeth
Originally Posted by Groove On
The Better Practice App looks interesting, but haven’t had a chance to test it. Subscription is US$4 / month (free for teachers). Has categories to Learn, Master and Maintain pieces, plus spaced repetition for smarter practice.

What is spaced repetition?

Spaced Repetiton is the idea that it’s more effective to study in short bursts over many practice sessions vs. studying everything in one long practice session.

For example, it’s more effective to repeat a passage 20x times daily for 5 days vs. doing 100 repetitions all at once.

It also makes it more likely that you’ll do focused, quality repetitions vs. mindless ones.

Associated with Spaced Repetition is the idea that if something is easy, you might schedule practice times further apart while for things that are hard, you might schedule more frequently. For example, you might practice the most difficult sections of a piece 2x daily for 5 days, but the easiest parts you practice every 3 days.

The Better Practice App referenced above helps you schedule practice sessions by using Spaced Repetiton.
Posted By: mimi9 Re: Can we talk about apps again? - 08/02/19 03:09 PM
There's a little more than that about spaced repetition. Yes, short bursts and many sessions are part of it which is a good way to use traditional flashcards. But computer flashcards and other SR tools repeat the items you have missed a bit more often than the items that you haven't missed.

http://www.flashcardlearner.com/articles/what-is-spaced-repetition/
Posted By: sara elizabeth Re: Can we talk about apps again? - 08/02/19 05:46 PM
Thanks I'm going to look at those links.
Posted By: RogerRL Re: Can we talk about apps again? - 08/05/19 06:46 PM
This will perhaps be an unwelcome opinion based on the general discussion of this thread, but I think it's worth pointing out that multiple studies have shown that practice time is not correlated with skills, and hence aiming to practice for "30 minutes" (or whatever) really isn't going to get you to your real goal (which is presumably to play better, not to play for a given amount of time). What is correlated with improvements is how you practice - practice the same phrase in different ways, turning them into mini-etudes, vs just "play this section 10x for 5 days" is what lets people advance quicker.

This is a nice paper on the subject:
http://cml.music.utexas.edu/assets/pdf/DukeEtAl2.pdf

Quote
Irrespective of the pedagogical implications of the more recent studies of practice behavior, making practice assignments in terms of time practiced instead of goals accomplished remains one of the most curious and stubbornly persistent traditions in music pedagogy
Posted By: dogperson Re: Can we talk about apps again? - 08/05/19 06:53 PM
Originally Posted by RogerRL
This will perhaps be an unwelcome opinion based on the general discussion of this thread, but I think it's worth pointing out that multiple studies have shown that practice time is not correlated with skills, and hence aiming to practice for "30 minutes" (or whatever) really isn't going to get you to your real goal (which is presumably to play better, not to play for a given amount of time). What is correlated with improvements is how you practice - practice the same phrase in different ways, turning them into mini-etudes, vs just "play this section 10x for 5 days" is what lets people advance quicker.

This is a nice paper on the subject:
http://cml.music.utexas.edu/assets/pdf/DukeEtAl2.pdf

Quote
Irrespective of the pedagogical implications of the more recent studies of practice behavior, making practice assignments in terms of time practiced instead of goals accomplished remains one of the most curious and stubbornly persistent traditions in music pedagogy


It is not an unwelcome post at all.... but a method that works well for me. The ‘trick’ is that the practice time must be spent on the problems not the parts that are in good shape.
Posted By: Lazarus Re: Can we talk about apps again? - 08/05/19 08:36 PM
Originally Posted by RogerRL
This will perhaps be an unwelcome opinion based on the general discussion of this thread, but I think it's worth pointing out that multiple studies have shown that practice time is not correlated with skills, and hence aiming to practice for "30 minutes" (or whatever) really isn't going to get you to your real goal (which is presumably to play better, not to play for a given amount of time). What is correlated with improvements is how you practice - practice the same phrase in different ways, turning them into mini-etudes, vs just "play this section 10x for 5 days" is what lets people advance quicker.

This is a nice paper on the subject:
http://cml.music.utexas.edu/assets/pdf/DukeEtAl2.pdf

Quote
Irrespective of the pedagogical implications of the more recent studies of practice behavior, making practice assignments in terms of time practiced instead of goals accomplished remains one of the most curious and stubbornly persistent traditions in music pedagogy


Very interesting paper, Roger! Thanks for sharing.

Scientifically, I wonder how the results correlate to the more real world case of learning a full piece. Can the full piece be deconstructed in this way as a set of passages such that the listed techniques remain effective? Or is there something new added when many phrases are linked together into a full piece not covered by the study?

Regardless, the best approach is undoubtedly not just "practice 30 minutes a day" but "practice 30 effective minutes a day". It does seem a major gap in pedagogy that exactly how to achieve efficient practice is seldom discussed.
Posted By: sara elizabeth Re: Can we talk about apps again? - 08/05/19 11:37 PM
Originally Posted by RogerRL
This will perhaps be an unwelcome opinion based on the general discussion of this thread, but I think it's worth pointing out that multiple studies have shown that practice time is not correlated with skills, and hence aiming to practice for "30 minutes" (or whatever) really isn't going to get you to your real goal (which is presumably to play better, not to play for a given amount of time). What is correlated with improvements is how you practice - practice the same phrase in different ways, turning them into mini-etudes, vs just "play this section 10x for 5 days" is what lets people advance quicker.

This is a nice paper on the subject:
http://cml.music.utexas.edu/assets/pdf/DukeEtAl2.pdf

Quote
Irrespective of the pedagogical implications of the more recent studies of practice behavior, making practice assignments in terms of time practiced instead of goals accomplished remains one of the most curious and stubbornly persistent traditions in music pedagogy


I don’t think logging practice and practicing effectively are mutually exclusive. Or even partially exclusive.
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