World Wide Woodshed

Notes:

  1. Exercise Code: It’s a good idea to give the exercise an "id code" so that you can easily cross-reference them (using "Related Exercises" at the bottom of the sheet). I suggest simply date-and-sequence coding them. For example, you might use "1/19/99-1" and "1/19/99-2" for the two exercises that you started working on on 1/19/98.
  2. The Session column is just for the number of the session on a given date. For instance, on 1/19, you might practice the passage 3 times, maybe for 5 minutes each time. Then once on the 20th, and twice on the 21st. You could fill in the practice log like this:
  3. Date Session

    1/19

    1

    2

    3

    1/20

    1

    1/21

    1

    2

  4. The Section column is for sub-sections of the piece you’re working on. Draw on the notation to mark difficult parts "A", "B", "C" etc., and then write the appropriate letter code in the Section column
  5. Starting Speed: We suggest that you start each practice session a couple of notches down from the peak speed that you achieved the previous time, to let yourself warm up to full speed gradually.
  6. Closing (edge) speed: How fast can you get the metronome, to where you’re playing all the right notes most of the time, but maybe you’re missing some of them some of the time. This is basically one metronome notch above a speed that’s at the top of your "comfort zone", where you can reliably play all the notes with good tone almost all the time.

    If increased speed is your goal, you proceed by trying each day to transform the previous day’s edge speed to a speed that’s within your comfort zone. Sometimes – when you’ve hit a plateau on a passage - it make take more than a day (assuming three 5-minute sessions on a particular passage per day) to accomplish this. A week, in some cases, would not be out of line. If it takes more than a week to turn an edge speed into a comfort speed, then the edge speed is probably higher than it should be. Try lowering it. Or try refingering the passage – something is probably not right about what you’re trying to accomplish.
  7. Special speed. You could use this for one of several purposes. I like to use it for keeping track of either a speed where I am really focussing on articulation and tone, where my standards are higher than usual. I will play slower but more accurately, and sometimes I prefer to keep records of that separately. I sometimes use this column to track my speed when playing with my eyes closed. That’s always useful to work, even if you wouldn’t necessarily play a difficult passage in performance that way.
  8. Related Exercises: It’s often a good idea to let a particular passage spawn some related exercises. For instance, you may become aware while practicing a particular section that your 2-octave arpeggios are weak. This could lead you to create several more general arpeggio exercises, and also to create several more particular applications of 2-octave arpeggios to other songs. This field is useful for putting in the exercise codes for related exercises.

 

 

Thanks for checking out the practice log

- Warren Sirota

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