Functionalities of Your Practice Journal

Logan Damery

Mon Oct 12 2020 | 4 Minute Read

If you are looking to get the most out of your practice journal, there are several other applications beyond simply writing what you did during your practice sessions. Please note that these are not independent applications. Several of these applications work excellently together. 

Key Takeaways


To-Do List

This method allows you to focus on a couple goals for your practice session. These goals and tasks can carry over from session to session and can also come straight from your instructor. Essentially, these are things you want to get better at, or just need to get done. This works really well, especially if you are working on a set list, or need to get a specific chunk of music learned by a certain date.


The roadmap method is a system that allows you to plan out your session by the minute. Planning by the minute forces you to thoughtfully plan what you need to improve upon, step by step, rather than just throwing general ideas down and hoping you hit what you need. It actually works similar to the To-Do list model. This method works really well if you are under a time crunch, or if you like to manage your time. This works best with a stopwatch/timer running behind your practice session to keep you on track. Here's an example:

- Finger stretches - 2 minutes

- Two octave arpeggios - 5 minutes

- Major scale practice: each scale 5 times -20 minutes

- Song featuring major scale - 20 minutes

- Notes - 5 minutes


Conceptual Variations

You can use your journal to write variations down on concepts and musical figures. For example, a drum set player can create several pattern variations just by rearranging what limb  plays what partial of a one beat triplet. I.e. KRL, LRK or RKL. This allows you to be more creative with your practice and pushes you to expand your horizons as a musician.


Habit tracking is an excellent way to keep yourself accountable; a habit tracker acts as a daily list of habits that you want to establish in order to use during each practice session. Some healthy starting goals for these habits could be warming up for at least 15 minutes before each practice session, drinking a bottle of water throughout and taking at least a 15 minute break. This tool is incredibly helpful if you are wanting to make systematic improvements to your practice time.

Another tracker you can use is a mood tracker. A mood tracker allows you to track your motivation throughout your weekly practice sessions. It’s a great tool to see where you need to make changes in your sessions to keep your time the most efficient, while maintaining a positive attitude while you are in your practice sessions. 

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