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Using Your Pupil Record Book – Practice Makes Progress!

Every musician knows that the way to improve on your instrument is by daily, careful, focused practice, and the Record Book is designed to help you, your parents and teacher keep track of your practice and progress on your instrument.

After filling in your name, tutor group, instrument, etc in the front of the book, turn to the first page with a grid of boxes. In the left box at the top of the left page, put the date. In the large ‘What to do’ box to the right of this, put what you are going to work on. The seven little boxes above this are for the days of the week, starting on the left with your lesson day.

Start simply, perhaps just getting in the right position for playing. Write ‘Playing position’ in the ‘What to do’ box. Now go carefully through all the things your teacher has shown you about how to sit, how to hold your instrument, and correct position for your hands. Check everything is right, then play some notes from the piece you are working on, just to check it sounds good. Do this perhaps 4 times, then write ‘4’ in the first little box above the What to do box. Do the same thing each day for the rest of the week, and without really noticing, you will become expert at holding your instrument correctly, and do it without thinking.

Normally your teacher will give you things to work on, but you will always find your own difficult bits that need work. Focus your practice on them – for example, getting between two notes on different strings may trip you up each time, so just write them in the ‘What to do’ box and play them slowly and carefully ½ a dozen times each day for a week, and see the difference!

Later on, when you have a metronome, you can put the metronome speed in the little daily boxes to keep track of your improvement.

At the end of the week, fill in the ‘I have improved’ box on the right hand page, and get your parents to sign in the correct box. Then congratulate yourself on the progress you’ve made this week – well done!