Why Musicians Need to Use a Practice Log


If musicians keep track of their practicing goals each week, each month, and document their progress, it makes it easier to feel the forward momentum of getting better. It’s that simple. Musicians need to start and maintain a practice log, practice journal, or musician’s notebook.

Why? Because it helps!

Musicians need to use a practice log because it will keep them on target. Whether you’re studying with a teacher or learning the instrument on your own, it’s great to have a record of what it is you’re trying to accomplish each time you sit down to practice – whether it’s a guitar, piano, saxophone, trumpet, flute, drums, or your voice. It’s the same.

Do you need to practice scales each lesson? Then break them up and work on specific scales for a specific day. Perhaps your teacher has assigned a major and minor scale pair for the whole week – say A major and A minor, either two or three octaves, or the full range of your instrument (or voice). A practice log will be a way to check off that you completed that work each day, even if it’s not a journal you need to share with your music teacher.

Your practice log can just be a tool for your eyes only.

And because every instrument has its own unique performance challenges — long tones for winds, brass, and voice, for example — it makes sense to have a plan to address those idiomatic techniques at every practice session. This will help you (or your students) progress as a musician, whether or not a career in music is the long-term plan. You know the argument: The attention to detail and skill achievements on your musical instrument will easily translate into similar accomplishments in all aspects of your life and career. All from keeping a log.

We’ll leave you with one of our favorite sayings:

“Plan your work and work your plan.”

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