Updated: Feb 12
Practice logs can be a helpful part of our musical growth, allowing us to reflect on our thoughts and questions about our time in the practice room. It can help us visualize the tasks we are working on, goals we want to meet, and see the progress we are making over time. Here is a list of what you should keep track of in your log, including some worksheets to help you get started.
Keep track of the times you started and stopped practicing throughout the day. It is hard to schedule a long practice session into our busy schedules. Don't force yourself to sit for an hour and a half and get everything done. Plan small chunks through out your day and work towards your large, daily goal.
Also, write down how much time you need to spend on each section you want to practice. Break larger pieces into smaller sections so they are easier to tackle. If you allot 30 minutes to practice your aria and you are still stuck on a section, move on to something else and come back to this section at a later date. If you have extra time at the end of your session, come back to the sections you are struggling with and work on them again.
Write down your goals so you don' forget them and are always reminded of what you want to accomplish. A goal for a practice session can be as simple as, "I want to be aware of my breath" or as specific as "I want to sing through pages 100 - 110." Before you start to sing, think of one or two goals that you would like to accomplish and write them in your practice log. Keep in mind you want to be able to achieve this goal in your practice session, so make it something you can accomplish in the time you have. You can also set larger goals for the month or year. Write your larger goals in the front page of your practice log and refer to them frequently to remind yourself of what you want to accomplish.
Make a plan
Use your practice log as a road map to remind you of your goals and what steps you need to take to achieve them. You can plan a day at a time or months in advance. Be realistic about what you can get done in that time, and be as specific as possible. Start by planning your warm ups and then move on to the pieces you want to work on.
Planning can also be helpful for times when things don't go according to plan, or you have to take some time for yourself. If you are planning a vacation or can't practice one day, schedule that into your practice log so you can still achieve your goals.
Taking notes allows you to reflect on your practice sessions. How do you feel when you practice? What is working? What new challenges have come up? If something works, write it down and come back to it later. The more detailed notes you take, the more you can learn from them in the future. The more honest you are, the more you are able to identify what you need to work on, or what you really loved about your practice time.
Often, questions come up in practice sessions that require the help of your voice teacher or coach. Why not write those down? Your practice log can help you make the most of your precious time in voice lessons. There are no silly questions, and the more you ask, the more you learn. Allow yourself to question what you are doing and allow yourself to ask why.
Incorporate these ideas and a practice log into your own practicing. If you need some help getting started, download our FREE practice logs HERE!