Because we looked at keeping monthly and yearly guitar practice logs in a couple of previous articles, I thought it would be a good idea to talk now about some of the benefits of logging your guitar practice.
Let’s jump right in with the first benefit…
Increased Consistency And Quantity Of Practice
Filling out guitar practice logs allows you to accurately keep track of two important guitar practice metrics…
- The consistency of your guitar practice.
- How much practice you do.
By doing this detailed tracking, you’re much more likely to improve both of these things, when compared to not logging your practice. This is because what you measure tends to improve. For Example: Let’s imagine that you have very ambitious musical goals, and know that you need to practice a lot to reach them. (Your guitar teacher recommended doing three hours a day, six days a week). If you keep a practice log, and notice that you’re only picking the guitar a few times a week for an hour each time, then this will allow you to see clearly that your current efforts aren’t congruent with your goals. This will create some mental discomfort, that can motivate you to work harder—assuming that those musical goals are very important to you.
It Helps Your Guitar Teacher Gauge Your Progress
Although guitar students all progress at different rates, very experienced guitar teachers have taught enough people to know what speed of progress to expect on average. So if a student is progressing much slower than they would normally expect, this means they’ll need to do an analysis, to determine the cause of the slower than expected progress.
The best place to start with this analysis is to see how often, and how much, the student has been practicing. (Both bits of information can be found on the student’s practice log). If the student hasn’t been practicing, or has only been practicing a very small amount, then the answer is obvious—the student simply hasn’t been practicing enough. But if the student has been working hard, then the guitar teacher will need to dig deeper, and find out exactly how the student has been practicing at home.
If you don’t keep a guitar practice log, then it’s obviously not possible for your guitar teacher to do any sort of analysis of your rate of progress—in essence, they are flying blind.
It Allows You To Manage Your Expectations
Some guitarists that start guitar lessons have completely unrealistic expectations about how fast they should be progressing. They’re basically expecting their guitar teacher to be a miracle worker, that helps them to progress very quickly, even if they don’t do much guitar practice. Obviously, this mindset is ludicrous—it’s a bit like someone going to a personal trainer expecting to lose a lot weight, while continuing to stuff their face with junk food every night. 🙂
By keeping track of your guitar practice, you’ll be able to be more realistic in your expectations, both in terms of your progress, as well as the musical goals you can realistically expect to achieve. If you can see, from your practice log, that you’re consistently putting in the effort of a very casual hobbyist, then you’ll know not to expect to get the same results as a more serious guitarist that practices several hours a day. You’ll also know to set more modest musical goals that are appropriate for how much practice you’re doing. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t set more ambitious goals, but you’d need to be prepared to work much harder.
It Can Help You To Persist Through Progress Plateaus
Because progress isn’t linear, and often happens in fits and starts, there can be periods where you don’t see much improvement in your guitar playing. To many guitarists, this sort of plateau can be very discouraging, and can cause them to lose motivation with practice, and also cause them to quit their guitar lessons—both of which aren’t very conducive to getting better! 🙂
But, by logging your guitar practice, and focusing your attention on maintaining your consistent practicing, rather than excessively worrying about your progress, then this makes you more process oriented. And the cool thing is, if you focus on keeping up the hard work, it’s only a matter of time that you have another burst of progress.
You Can Create Guitar Practice Challenges
If you’re the sort of person that thrives on challenges, and is competitive, then you can use your practice log to set guitar practice challenges. For Example: If you did 3,200 minutes of practice in July, then you could challenge yourself to do 3,500 minutes in August.
As well competing with yourself to do more practice, you could also do challenges with a friend. Although music isn’t a competitive sport, it can be fun trying to do more practice than your friend. Even if your friend is a practice maniac, and always beats you, if a bit of friendly competition helps you to progress faster, then it’s all good. 🙂
You’ll Feel A Sense Of Satisfaction
By logging all your guitar practice, you’ll be able to look back at all of the great work you’ve been putting into improving your guitar playing. This allows you to feel a great sense of satisfaction and pride, as you look at all the practice you’ve done over the previous months and years.
A Few Last Words
Logging your guitar practice takes (at most) a few minutes a day, and can be very beneficial. So if you’re a bit resistant to the idea of use practice logs (and some guitarists are), I recommend keeping an open mind, and try logging your guitar practice for a few months. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about whether or not you want to do it over the long-term.
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