Remember way back at the beginning of the school year when I announced that I was throwing out the practice log requirement for my students? I'm happy to report that it has made no measurable difference in how much my students practice. The ones who are good practicers are still good practicers. The ones who are moderate are still moderate. The ones who are slackers are still slackers. They're just not being
I don't think I can go back to the old way of rewarding students for the number of minutes spent practicing. When students are using good practice techniques, they can usually master their assignments more quickly. It feels counterproductive to teach those more efficient techniques and then reward them for longer time on the bench. It's also true that some students spend lots of time "practicing" while achieving no real results because they're not actually fixing the mistakes. I don't want to hand out points for sloppy, mindless practicing. Of course, I DO reward for doing independent work beyond what was assigned, or for learning pieces to a high degree of excellence, so there is incentive to spend more time doing good work. The more time you spend doing good work, the better you'll become. But, I've discovered that it works much better in my studio to reward for progress and results than for mere time.
If you are successfully using practice logs in your studio, I don't mean to throw water on that! I'm curious to know how you make it work! How do you get students to keep an honest record instead of generously guestimating and marking it down in the car on the way to the lesson? What do you do when their practice log indicates lots of time spent, but their playing sounds like bad sight-reading or worse than it did at the last lesson? What about using a practice journal as opposed to a practice log? What works for you?