Write Practice Journal to Practice Healthier

Violinist may experiences pain in neck, arm, or back because of long period of practicing. Especially when practicing by ourself, the long and restless practice happens when there is no practice plans. This is why writing practice journal is essential for healthy and efficient practice.

For me, the key of healthy and efficient practice is making targets smaller and detail. With this is mind, we will practice in less time because of smaller targets but more efficient because we practice in more detail. But of course, we will need more practice sessions. I once talk with American violist, Michael Hall. He suggested to make a session of practice consists of only three goals, with each goal is a specific thing and not too difficult to achieve. 

For example if we’re practicing orchestral excepts, goals for a sessions would be:

  1. Make staccato short in bar 24-28
  2. Phrasing in bar 80-88
  3. Practice the difficult passage from bar 127 with M. M. = 68

By writing them in our journal, we make ourself to focus on goals and it means practicing in less time. By making each goal detail, we raise awareness in both technical and musical aspects. And by making each goal not too difficult means less frustration.

If there are many things to practice it’s always better to make each practice session short but greater number of sessions. It helps me to be more focus on goals, more details in both technique and music, less frustrating while it also allows me to take more break.

Break between sessions is an ‘active’ break. It should be spent for writing review of the last session then writing goals for the next session. Also to avoid stiffness and injury, doing a short stretching will be helpful. So the break is essential in planning the practice and allows our body to be more relax and ready doing next session of practice. Don’t forget to take longer break after few sessions.

So, keep a journal is important not only to achieve better and faster result, but also keep our body in good condition. Happy journaling!

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