Track Your Practice Time

Introduction

You’ve decided to learn piano, but do you have a practice goal? I talk about how to Set a Practice Goal in a separate blog post. Once you set a practice goal, it can be helpful to see if you’re meeting that goal. I can guarantee that you won’t be able to meet your goal without sufficient practice. I’ll start by showing you how I track my practice time.


More About Practice

While practice time is a key component, there’s more you can learn about practice. Visit my Teaching Posts page to see the articles I’ve written on this complex subject.


How I Track My Practice

I use the free version of an app called Toggl, which allows me to track both how much and what I’m practicing. I also have a notebook to write details about my practicing, but some days I do that better than others. I’m also posting a practice summary online to show that I have to practice, too!

I consider this a better way to document my practice than documenting it in 30-second clips as you’ll see from certain Instagrammers. I’ve been very consistent in posting so far, but I did only make it for the first 4.5 months of 2021, so we’ll see how long it lasts!

Why Tracking Practice Is Important For Me

My practice is going to look a lot different than yours because my goals are different. I have to prepare for weekly church services at First Methodist, so I schedule my practice for both piano and organ around the rehearsal and service time I spend in Bella Vista. I don’t practice every day. When I do practice, it’s often for 2 to 3 hours per session.

I have goals aside from what’s required to fill the prelude and postlude slots for each church service. I have specific projects to learn the music of a Black composer (H.T. Burleigh) and a female one (Amy Beach). Some pieces from any of those side projects may end up in a church service, but I can pretty much guarantee the book I bought to learn salsa from the classical pianist’s perspective will not. I want to become a more well-rounded musician, which I hope will also inform my teaching.

What Works For You?

If you just want to make sure you are putting in the effort, you may not need to track at all. You might just want to use a simple silent timer. You can set it to countdown – ding, you’re done. Or, if you like practicing, use a timer that allows you to accumulate time instead. Most digital ones do. You can also use a watch or clock if that’s not too old-school for you!

Even if you do decide to track, you might just do it for a week or two, just to see if your practice time equals the effort you think you’re making. You might be surprised that the reality doesn’t meet your expectation. I like Toggl, but your best choice might be a scrap of paper, a Post-It, or a little notebook. Find what works best for you.

In Conclusion

To track or not to track. That is the question. Yes, you should commit to practicing. How you decide to make sure you are putting forth the effort is up to you. Hopefully, these ideas have been helpful. Please let me know!

Last Updated 2022-03-08 | Originally Posted 2022-01-04

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