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Sharon Bill Author & Music Tutor

Bullet For My Performance Skills

weekly_instrument_practice_diary_sharon_bill

I’m seeing a lot about music practice diaries and music bullet journals. Whilst habit tracking is an excellent discipline there are some pitfalls to be wary of.

It’s in my nature to jump to the head of the queue for a stationery fix, and I’d commit to any amount of study to warrant a new ring binder or notepad. However, I’m starting to have grave concerns for the growing obsession with elaborate practice diaries and music bullet journals.

I notice that many of the practice diaries are full of sections that aren’t relevant and they tend to be very expensive, meaning that you are paying a lot of money for a product that isn’t good value for money - inevitably there’s a lot of wasted space. I guess this is acceptable so long as you are willing to pay the price and absorb the cost of unusable pages.

Music bullet journalling gives me more serious cause for concern. There’s no doubt that the idea of colour coding habits to be tracked and decorating pages for various topics and goals is appealing - who doesn’t love to get the colouring pencils out? But herein lies the problem: You’re likely to spend far more time colouring in and decorating ideas about your music practice than you are working on your performance skills!

Maybe most people are more restrained than I am! Perhaps others are less likely to get distracted by diagrams, charts, illustrating and annotating than me. Then again, I suspect that I’m not really alone in this.

Habit tracking is a vital part of making good progress in any area of life. It’s a form of accountability and a good visual guide to the days slipping by into weeks and months is an admirable endeavour. BUT, the important part here is that the focus should be on the habit and not the habit tracking. In my experience a simple, business-like approach is best. Stay focused on the task in hand!

In order to help you stay focused on your practice I’ve made a weekly Practice Diary available to you as a free PDF download. The diary is undated and the days are just numbered so that you can jump in anytime and get cracking. This is a simple, but effective, method where you can make your own notes to aid practice. I tend to note down which scales and technical exercises I work on each day - that way I can work through a rota and everything gets an airing. I also make short notes on which pieces I’m working on and make general comments on aspects that I’ve been working on and what I need further practice on. This could mean fingering issues, articulation difficulties, metronome practice etc. The whole point is that you make a short comment to log your progress and get down to business.

Go to my FREE PDF page to get your A4 or US Letter weekly practice diary, stop prevaricating and get practicing!