By: Konner Scott
By nature, I am not the world’s most organized person. When I was much younger and taking piano lessons, I would rely on my teacher to keep me on steady track so I could make progress and learn new material. Upon returning to consistent piano practice a couple years back, I found that I just felt scattered and lost. Even when I had a song or two to learn, my mental disorganization deterred me from practicing as much or as effectively as I needed to.
Enter the practice journal. I forget what exactly inspired the idea, but a little over a year ago, I found myself at Barnes and Noble picking out a nice notebook for exactly this purpose. I was excited to see if it would help me stay more organized and help my practice routine along, and luckily enough, that’s exactly what happened.
It took some time to develop a system that worked for me- early on, I was jotting down every detail, which ended up being overkill! I found myself writing as much as I was playing, and it interrupted the natural flow of my practice routine. While it was still an overall benefit, I realized over the span of a couple months that I could be ever so slightly less detailed, and it would allow me to better stay in the zone with my playing.
Since everybody’s brain works differently, a bit of trial and error is what it takes. Some people may even be able to get by without tracking their practice; others may require every little detail to be written down so they can stay focused and on task. I’m still working out the right balance for me, and that may be a lifelong battle. At the moment, I just write down what I’m working on, how long I work on it, and any other specific notes that I may forget when I resume my practice the next day. For now, it’s working, and my playing has improved tremendously!