About This Blog

This blog was started as a place to post book reviews. The books reviewed here will be mixed. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, General Fiction, NonFiction and more. Both positve and negative reviews will be posted, as well as reviews for books written for all ages and all reading levels.

Many of the books reviewed here are ones that I have purchased for my own reading pleasure. Some, I receive free in exchange for reviews. Beginning in December, 2009 you will know which are the free ones if you read the final paragraph of my reviews.

Also of note: I choose what I will read, attempting to avoid the books on which I would end up writing a negative review... but I have been known to make mistakes. Thus you see some one and two star reviews here. Since I don't enjoy writing negative reviews, I only write them if the review was promised, or if the book was so exceedingly bad, I just had to say so. Regardless of the percentage of positive to negative reviews on this blog, I give my honest opinion each and every time, and have never received financial compensation for posting my reviews.

Note that, except for fair use portions quoted from some of the books reviewed, all copyright in the content of the reviews belongs to Lady Dragoness.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Log Your Practice Sessions for Better Results

The Complete Music Practice Record Book:
A Six-Month Log and Journal for Dedicated Students

by Larry Zafran
Larry Zafran (2011),
Paperback, 108 pages
Rated 4 stars of 5 possible

At first glance, one might be intimidated by all the blank spaces in this practice log, yet filling the pages with your information in the vast variety of categories provided by the author can help you to better monitor your own or your child's practice sessions while studying any instrument.

While this practice log was not originally intended for a beginner, it is widely adaptable and can be used by music students of any age and for any instrument. A small corner of each practice record has been allocated for parents or teachers to initial if this is required. The author has thought of most everything one would like to track and provides spaces for each item in a concise half-page a day format. He has left the date spaces blank, so you can start at any time. If you skip a day or have a poor practice session, there's even a space to indicate why.

There are a few categories of information for which space is provided that I will probably not use. Mood(s); Meditation, Breathing, Physical Exercise, etc. aren't the sort of data that I consider to be part of my practice time, while Performance/Rehersal/Recordings are not something in which I am involved at the moment... but which I might use in the far future. However, these few categories currently of no use to me may be useful to others. The book would best be used with a fine point pen or very sharp pencil and neat, small writing.

The author pointed out to me that this book is not spiral bound... which I would definitely have noticed on my own. I doubt that, for such a slim volume, the lack of a spiral binding is going to be a large handicap. Even so, the lack of a spiral binding is something that can be remedied at many local copy shops such as Kinko's.

The spaces provided to write in aren't very convenient; they feel cramped for someone with large, sloppy handwriting like mine... Each practice log or self-assessment section has been given a medium width bold border that helps visually divide the page, and which some may view as an asset. On the negative side, this same border helps the page feel more cramped, especially to those of us who normally write large. The months have been rounded to 28 days, which, over the course of one year (two of these books) leaves out 29 daily practice sessions, and four personal assessment records - approximately another whole month of practice data; hence the four star rating of a potentially five star product.

Possible Improvements
I'd like this to be a full page for each day, with a bit more space to write for the day, especially in the notes section at the bottom of each daily practice log. The page size need not continue to be 8 X 10 inches; I think 6 X 9 inches would work as well with the single daily practice log per page. I'd like to see the book expanded to handle an entire 52 week year. The weekly assessment sections could remain in place at one after every 7 daily entries; only the monthlies would need to be arranged differently, with one being placed at roughly every 1/12 of the way through the log.

Recommended to all dedicated music students and professionals. This review is based on a full copy of the book provided to me free by the author in exchange for review.