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How a practice journal can improve your playing

If you're on a journey to improve your playing skills, chances are you’ve repeatedly been advised to maintain a practice journal. Though it may seem like a pointless exercise, it’s actually quite useful.

Keeping a journal serves as a comprehensive record of your progress and organizes any practice notes you may have. Beyond offering insights into your musical strengths and areas for improvement, it helps you establish a practice routine that produces lasting results. In essence, a journal is one way to ensure you practice with intent, and can help you to prevent wasting time on non-essential tasks.

Numerous musicians have provided tips online regarding how to keep a practice journal, so ample inspiration is available to help you devise an organization strategy. However, remember that a practice journal is a personal tool tailored to meet your needs. So don't fret if your journal differs from your peers'. Your journal serves as a way to measure your growth and engage in productive practicing, not a symbol of competition between musicians. Unsure where to begin? Let’s break down how to craft a successful journaling routine.

Start taking notes

a journal book

A musician’s practice journal is central to building and maintaining good practice habits, which in turn are necessary for becoming a better musician. Journaling can help players from novices to seasoned professionals, keeping essential information at their fingertips. This makes setting goals and tracking progress much easier, as the journal provides a record of both struggles and successes to review as you continue to practice. You can plan and modify practice routines and keep track of how effective they are, or note which songs or other compositions you’re working on.

Concrete evidence of your goals and your advancement towards them doesn't just enhance your musical ability; it also boosts confidence and motivation by clearly showcasing your hard work.

Looking back at your journey

Whether you’ve been on your musical journey for some time or are just starting out, having a practice journal is key to ensuring efficient and productive practice sessions. You can also invest in a musician’s practice planner to schedule practices and performances. This planner is designed both for teachers as an assignment book and students as a practice log. Thus it’s suitable for everyone: for all ages, and for use with any musical instrument.

Leveraging these tools will – over time – elevate your musicianship. Before long, your audience will be left wondering, “how did you get so good?”

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