I recently started a practice journal. I don’t know why I had never used one in all my years of being a musician but now was a great time to start. Like a lot of us, I’m finding that memory and concentration are a little more difficult right now. Keeping a journal reminds me of what I’m working on, how I need to improve, and adjustments in posture and technique to make things sound better. It has also helped me to identify some places of tension and how to work through them. Most importantly, I’ve been able to leave myself some notes of encouragement and find myself truly in the music again.
So far, I’m only using this with the harp. The other instruments have languished somewhat as all my group ventures are on hold. I’ve also been philosophizing over my relationship with the guitar. I find that it’s more of a tool than a means of self-expression. Some of this is the nature of working with a diverse population and dealing with an ever-changing core repertoire. I often don’t have the time to get more than the basics down. As a multi-instrumentalist, it’s also pretty easy to just switch instruments when I find I can’t do something on one. However, simplifying has often meant relying on one instrument, usually my guitar. Improving my skill has the potential to make me a better therapist.
Musicians, what are your tips and tricks for better practice sessions?