One of the most important things about developing effective practice habits is organization. If you organize your practice time you are able to get the most out of the time you put in which yields fruitful results. Today, I want to introduce you to the concept of keeping a "tempo sheet".
A tempo sheet is an extremely valuable organizational device when it comes to practicing technique on your instrument. Over my years of teaching I have seen many students make the mistake of becoming comfortable once they reach a certain tempo and then they stop pushing their technique. When this happens, growth grinds to a halt and rather than expanding your technique, you start simply maintaining your technique.
Keeping a tempo sheet allows you to keep track of the tempo that you started and ended with and it also allows you to set goals for yourself. The tempo sheet will keep you from falling in to the world of just maintaining your technique rather than pushing it by presenting your practice information in a very visual form. Every technical exercise or musical passage should be logged in the sheet. It is especially valuable when you organize the sheet by the "date" column in Excel so you can see what you haven't worked on in a while!
You can download a free tempo sheet to work with right here: TEMPO SHEET
On the tempo sheet itself you will find 8 columns:
1) Exercise: record the name of the technical exercise or passage you were working on.
3) Starting Tempo: record the tempo you started the exercise at in that practice session.
4) Achieved Tempo: the highest tempo that you played the exercise at without any mistakes.
5) New Starting Tempo: the tempo you will start the exercise at next time you practice it (this keeps you from starting at the same tempo you did on previous practice sessions and can save some valuable time).
6) Goal for Next Session
8) Goal Subdivision
Check back to this blog for more posts on effective practice habits!