Whilst it may seem like a rather alien concept to some, keeping a piano diary or journal can be a sensational tool to help keep your piano motivation at a high no matter where you are on your piano journey.
By tracking things such as your practice duration, what you have been learning and what you are struggling with is not only a great tool for helping you progress, but it will also help you realise how far you have come!
If you have never kept a piano journal before, these quick tips will help you get started and give you some ideas on the kinds of things that a piano journal can be used for.
What Is A Piano Diary/Journal?
Keeping a piano diary is easy - all you need is a dedicated notepad kept near your piano or you can even use a notes app on your phone if you prefer! A piano journal is no different to the likes of a food journal or even a personal diary, it is a space where you can fill in your goals, struggles and a place to document the ins-and-outs of your piano practice to help identify both your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to playing piano.
As you fill in your diary, you might realise that the same things come up over and over, for example a particular piece of music theory, or that it seems to be your finger technique that is slowing you down, or that your lower back starts to hurt after a certain amount of time. All of these things then give you a goal to focus on for next time, for example if you are finding your back is hurting, then during your next practice, it might be worth spending some time on achieving correct piano posture.
Over time, as you begin to notice these trends and work on them, you will become an overall more holistically rounded pianist.
What Should I Keep In My Piano Diary?
Piano diaries are incredibly personal things so there is no right or wrong thing to put in your diary, if it feels relevant, note it down! Below we have listed a few ideas to help get you started as well as how you can use them to your benefit.
Date: Pretty self explanatory but make sure you date your diary entries! This means that when you look back on your diary, you’ll be able to see how far you’ve come in the space of a month or over the course of the year!
Duration & Time: A good one for newer players. As you begin to progress, it is worth noting how long you are able to practice for at a time, this will help you realise not only that you are building your stamina for practising but also, if you are finding your practice being cut short by outside distractions then it might be worth reconsidering the times when you practice. We have written about this further in this guide to finding time to practice here.
Mood: This one may seem silly at first, but it is a really important one! Many players often say that they play differently based on the mood that they are in. It is worth noting here both your mood when you first sit down at the instrument and then also when you step away.
Writing your mood is a great exercise in realising not only the kinds of music that you enjoy playing and learning, but also how the piano is affecting your wellbeing. For example if you have come in from work after a stressful day and perhaps feel agitated when you first sit down and after playing perhaps some emotionally led Brahms or Beethoven, you may feel either happier or more at peace then you can deduce that the piano has directly impacted your mood! Likewise, if you end each practice session feeling frustrated or upset, what is it that is making you feel that way? If it is a particular piece of theory or passage that you can’t just quite seem to get, it might be time to change your approach to learning, or to try something new to get your creativity flowing again!
What You Practice: Whilst you don’t need to write down absolutely everything that you play during a practice session, pull out some key points, for example do you keep playing the same pieces over and over? Then it’s time to learn something new! Likewise, be proud of the small things that you may have learned, for example if you perfected a scale or arpeggio for the first time, make sure you write that down!
Successes & Issues: What did you learn? What did you struggle with? These are all great things to note down so you can focus on them next time!
Goals: What is the next step on your piano journey? Writing down your goals and ambitions is a great way to bring forward why you started playing the piano in the first place to the forefront of your mind. This will help not only motivate you to keep playing but also give you some structure and focus for your next practice session.
Share Your Diary With Your Teacher!
Some teachers will be aware of the idea of a piano diary, others won’t! If you are learning with a teacher, don’t be afraid to share your diary with them, they will not only be excited by the fact that you are practising with such enthusiasm, but they might be able to help you spot patterns in your learning that you are missing.
That is why it is important to always be truthful in your diary. We know that not every practice session is super productive, but that isn’t a problem, as long as you can pick up on what is making the session less productive as then you are able to correct it. You won’t get anywhere by making things up or making yourself look good all the time, so being honest with yourself will help generate the best results!
Do you keep a piano diary already? Or are you going to start after reading this article? Share your piano journey with us on social media and join our musical community today! Alternatively, if you are looking for advice on either upgrading or purchasing a new piano, our experts would be happy to help you.
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