Practice Log Experiment

I am terrible at keeping a practice log. But I realize how important it can be to track progress. Whenever I do use one it helps a lot. So I’m making an effort this summer to stick with it and make it a habit.

So far I’ve taken the approach in my practice logs to more write down ideas about how to practice or what needs work.

Here’s the entries from today. Each number is about a half hour of practice, I don’t keep too strict of track, sometimes it’s 20 or 40 minutes. I usually have tasks set out from the previous practice day to complete and goals for the week. So my practice becomes more task based whenever I use a log, which is not a bad thing.

  1. Arpeggio practice, slurs (2, 3 and 4 finger combinations) on one string–working from the 7th fret to the 1st
    -No metronome usage, this just warming up. Lots of slow/fast alternation
  2. Villa Lobos Etude 1
    Stop/go practice on the first four or so measures
    Stuff to address:

    • V of iv | iv | measures, big jump, how to prepare 1 for the barre?
    • leading chord on A# into the cadential dominant
    • The actual moving lines need to be brought out more
    • my a finger sucks, more control, less volume, it shouldn’t stick out all the time, only when I want it to
    • getting to the high e before slurs is not happening, need to come up with a way to practice that more efficiently
  3. Tech work: finger alternation bursts (im, mi, ia, ai, pi, ip), 1 octave scales with metronome, 5 note ascending/descending bursts with the met, trills on one string (working from the 7th fret to the first).
    -I lost a lot of control in finger alternation, needs a lot of work, but it’s just about sticking it out
  4. Bach, BWV 995 Review

    • Allemande- Need to play the bass separately to get it in my ear, make a bigger deal out of the imitation at the beginning of each big section, use different rhythmic patterns with the compound slurs
    • Sarabande- alright, watch control on slurs
    • Gigue-Make a bigger deal out of the bass voice entrance in each section (What a moment!), starting to sit a bit better in one tempo and feeling more easy
  5. Berkeley, Variations, Op. 77: Variation II
    Worked on m. 7-11- learning and getting fingerings down
    Stop Go work needed on ms 6-7 and 7-8
    Next time: work measure 11-end
    Work to bring out the dialog between the melody and the descending 2nd motive in the other voices.
  6. Berkeley, Variations, Op. 77:
    • Theme
      -measure 11 needs more work, getting from the bar cleanly and keeping the line going
      -32nd note chords have to be even and controlled. But not loud! The control seems to be coming.
      -My Forte is pretty weak.
      -More contrast for the B section, sul tasto, take care not to get into that area for the A sections
    • Variation I
      -I suck pretty hard as rasgueado, tilting the RH back into a more “rest stroke” position seems to help.
      -m2-3: slow/fast seems to work, probably need to do some rhythmic alterations to make it more even
  7. Giuliani Folies Variations
    Worked on variation three and four getting the fingerings down. Really need to focus on 1.) not rushing and 2.) phrasing of things in a coherent way, sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t
  8. BWV 995

    • Gavotte II
      -less focus on speed, I think that it’s going to come up as I get more comfy with the piece
      -this just sits there, the notes are fine, but I’m not doing anything with them. Seek out some great phrasing stuff, more experimenting required
    • Courante
      -not sure what to do with this. The notes are there, but it just sits. Need to rip it apart a bit and see what’s going on, then get into some phrasing work

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  • GuitarVlog

    Sounds like a better way to use my online journal. I set-up a weekly regimen but may not stick to it. Tracking and analyzing what I’ve done each day may be more helpful. My entries would be much shorter than yours though.

  • Trev

    Chris – what do you use to keep your practice journal (notebook, text, file, etc.)? Do you record stuff during the practice session, or wait until the end?

    I’ve been thinking about keeping a journal, and I’m curious about how you approach it.

    • Chris

      I just use a notebook, and record stuff after I finish with a session. Generally I practice in half hour blocks, so I jot stuff down after I’m done.