You have a performance or recording coming up. And you’re far from ready, but you don’t have much time to practice. So you grab your practice planner and get to work.
It sounds like a nightmare situation. But our busy, modern world means musicians can’t spend all day practicing.
Whether you’re a student, amateur, or professional, you can benefit from planning your practice. Keep reading to learn how a planner can help you!
What Is a Practice Planner?
A practice planner is a type of planner you can use to write down your goals and track your progress as a musician. It doesn’t matter if you want to become a professional or keep music as a hobby.
You can find tons of practice planners with different formats to help you organize everything. A good practice planner should include space for long-term goals as well as short-term plans.
You may also want a place to reflect on your practice. If you feel frustrated or overjoyed with your playing, writing that down can help you remember those better practice days.
Who Should Use a Practice Planner?
Almost all musicians could benefit from a practice planner. You don’t have to use it every day, but you can to track your practice in more detail.
Using a practice planner provides many benefits before, during, and after your practice sessions. A planner can help you figure out what to focus on each time you pick up your instrument.
You can look back at old entries in your planner. That way, you can get some internal motivation when you aren’t feeling as excited to practice.
Are you still not convinced you should use a practice planner? Here are a few types of musicians who could benefit from one.
If you’re in music school or are just taking lessons, a planner can help you track everything you’re learning. As a music major, you have to take private lessons and play in one or more ensembles.
You could easily have four or five pieces for lessons and another four or five per ensemble. Managing all of that can is not easy. Sometimes, you won’t get to everything each time you practice. Using a practice planner can help you track what you work on and when.
And if you aren’t in music school, you may still have multiple things to prepare for a lesson. You may have to work on fundamentals, like scales and tone exercises. But you may also have a solo piece or a study piece to play.
Tracking your various exercises and pieces can help you prepare for upcoming lessons. That way, you can know what to work on more before a particular rehearsal.
If you’re a professional musician, you have a lot on your plate. You probably have to teach lessons, perform or record, and perhaps compose or arrange music.
Or you may have a job in arts administration or even outside of music and the arts. You no longer have hours upon hours to practice each day.
So you have to make the time you do have productive. That way, you can maintain your playing and keep getting better. Once you do have a gig, you’ll be able to play your best.
Planning and tracking your practice as a professional is super useful. If you do have to take a break from practicing, you can set goals for when you come back, and that can motivate you later.
Amateurs and Hobbyists
Perhaps you want nothing to do with music as a profession. But you still love playing and want to make it part of your week or day. You especially need a practice planner to help you practice.
If you work outside of music, odds are your job is 40 hours a week or so. That leaves you with a couple of hours each week day and perhaps more on weekends.
When you don’t have much time to practice, it can be tempting not to even touch your instrument most days. But you don’t have to practice a ton to see results.
You can use a planner to set realistic goals, such as practicing for 20 minutes each day. A planner can work well when music is something you do for fun, but remember to keep it fun and not let the planning make you dread practicing.
Whether you’re headed for music school or not, practice planners are great for beginning musicians. You can use a planner to set goals for yourself, and you can set goals whether you have a private teacher or not.
If you take lessons, your teacher can help you set reasonable goals. And if you don’t take lessons, you can set small goals. That way, you can take things at your pace.
You can use your planner to track your progress from the start. After a year of playing, you can see how far you have come.
As you keep improving, you can use the planner to set even bigger goals. Then, you can keep getting better, and you can pursue music more seriously as a professional or amateur.
What to Look For in a Practice Planner
The best planner should be flexible. While you may have certain goals now, they can change. If you choose a very structured planner, it may not work for a long time.
Here are a few things you may want in a practice planner.
Setting yearly goals can help you stay motivated for a longer period. If you know you want to play a certain piece in a year, you can put that down. You don’t have to wait until a few weeks out to set a goal.
Sometimes, yearly goals can be hard to figure out, especially if this is your first time using a planner for your practice. Setting goals for the month is a bit easier because you can picture when the month is up.
A weekly tracker can help you or your students stay on track with practice between lessons and rehearsals. If you have a checklist for things to hit each day, marking each item off can be a great motivator.
If you have a great practice day or a horrible one, writing about it can help. You can look back at those days later to see what went well and where you can improve. Journaling can also show your progress toward long-term musical goals.
Announcing The Busy Musician’s Planner
I’m so excited to announce the release of The Busy Musician’s Planner. This practice planner includes all of my must-have elements so that you can set goals and track your progress.
You can use it as a beginner or professional or if you’re somewhere in between. Teachers can buy copies for their students to help track lesson progress. Music majors and students can use the planner for school, and amateurs can use it for personal goals.
The planner is super flexible, so you can print it out or use it with the PDF annotator of your choice. You can make multiple copies of the pages to make it last as long as you need the planner, and you can use it each year.
You can buy the planner right now!
Have you used a practice planner? Do you want to now? Check out The Busy Musician’s Planner and get your copy today!