How do we know we are progressing? Evolution is a slow and drawn out process that cannot be felt, it can only be tracked. I think this is the key. Self-tracking is essential to quick and efficient progress. Many times we feel we should practice so many different things that we find ourselves confused at the end of it all because we work so much on our weaknesses that our strengths begin to atrophy.
Self-tracking is easy.
1. Get a piece of paper or open a text document.
2. Write down what you would like to improve in your playing (i.e. speed, intonation, feel)
3. Everyday, record how practicing went that day.
4. Review at the end of the week exactly how you have improved (i.e. has your comfort with the material increased? have you developed ease with the material? are you ready for more difficult music?)
5. That’s about it. Just make sure you practice with a goal in mind. Be sure to divide playing and practicing. Be in the now. Know what your goal is.
Here is an invaluable lesson from the great pianist, Bill Evans. Enjoy!