March 15, 2007 at 5:18 AMI’ve been thinking about practice logs for a long time. I wrote about the subject in my blog of 12/28/06 and got a lot of helpful comments. There was also a discussion on the subject, and that gave me a lot of food for thought, too. My problem was that most of the practice logs I’ve seen serve as records of how many times the student has practiced or how long the student has practiced. I wanted to address the quality of the practice. What should you focus on? What are your goals?
One of my students did some Internet research and devised a log which helps him. I took his log and modified it. I’ve been using it on my students for about two weeks and getting very good feedback.
Here is a sample practice log with goals. I mixed goals from several different students to make this sample practice log.
The bottom part, with spaces to record the number of minutes practiced each day, is for kids, but one of my adult students likes to use it, too. The third column on the upper chart is for the student to fill in. Some kids like to put a check next to a piece every day they practiced it. I’m trying to get all my students to give me feedback on some of the pieces they’ve played. So far, only one has done it. She wanted help playing the attacks in Allegretto in Suzuki Book 1. I also encourage the students to write down anything they’ve practiced that I haven’t assigned. They enjoy that, and so do I. I find it helpful to know what a student can do or try to do by himself. When I write the goals, I limit myself to 1, 2, or, rarely, 3 per piece. The short list is designed to help the student focus. I usually write notes on the music, too, but sometimes I wonder whether the students pay any attention to them.
So far, all my students, including adults and kids, have given me positive feedback on this practice log with goals. As always, I welcome comments from my readers at v.com.
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