Basic human nature fights against musicians who want to learn to play a musical instrument efficiently.  Keeping a music practice log helps you fight back.

Without a special notebook for music lessons and practice sessions, music students stand little chance in dealing with two factors in the framework of the human brain:

1.  Our tendency to forget almost everything we see and hear.

2.  Our attraction to what’s already familiar to us.

Let’s explore forgetfulness first.

Everybody is exposed to too much information every day.  Most of this information never makes its way into long-term memory.  This is completely normal!  Our brain is designed to filter out sensory input that doesn’t seem important or relevant.

What this means for music students is that they will most likely forget what they are supposed to practice.  Not only will they forget the items on their practice list, but they will also forget the specific strategies that will help them achieve their musical goals.  Music students absolutely must leave every music lesson with these strategies written down if they are to have any hope of remembering what to do between lessons.

Focusing on what’s familiar is the second part of human nature that works against musicians.

It’s no secret that many musicians just play music they know and like whenever they practice.  They avoid anything difficult, new, or unfamiliar.  This tendency slows down progress since new material is never tackled, and returning to next week’s music lesson without making forward progress makes the lesson boring for both teacher and student.

However, in between lessons it’s hard to work on new material.  It’s easy to avoid anything unfamiliar–especially if there is no clear list of exactly what new material should be covered and how it should be approached.  Playing what you already know is fun.  And, it feels good.  Having fun by keeping to what is familiar is the very aspect of human nature that a music practice log helps us fight.

In the Musician’s Practice Planner, categories for practice items are clearly laid out with plenty of room to write in detailed strategies and goals.  Seeing repertoire, exercises, and scales in distinct boxes is much better for students than just making a list of these items.  It becomes obvious to music students (and their parents–for young students) that each box represents a separate part of their practice session.

They will remember what to practice, how to practice, and why to practice when they see each box of information.  And, by writing down what gets worked on each day, they can keep their practicing balanced by making sure they work on every item–every day.  Music teachers can help create this balance by giving clear instructions on how each practice session should be organized.

Your basic human nature does not serve you when it comes to learning to play music.  Unless you keep a special music notebook to organize and track your progress, you are likely to forget what to do when you start practicing.  This leads to just playing what you already know.

One Response to “Music Practice Logs: They Help You Fight Human Nature”  

  1. 1 Consuela Gastelun

    Hi! Good article! I will bookmark this site so I can return later and read some more.

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