by Khoo Hui Ling
I had a love-hate relationship with Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto. Those consecutive thirds in the first movement, they eluded me. Almost everyday from 2013-2014, the practice rooms in the University of Oregon resounded with those thirds. They were like a majestic announcement of my presence, except I felt deeply apologetic to those practicing next to me, for having their ears relentlessly pulverised by those thirds.
It was during this period of time that I turned to journaling my practice sessions. I had run into brick walls before, but this time was different. This time, I felt like I was up against the Berlin Wall! Journaling was crucial in helping me overcome the practice rut I had strayed into.
Recently, I’ve found myself encouraging students, especially adult students, to keep their own practice journals. It helps to clarify one’s thoughts and objectives, and is an especially cathartic exercise if the practice session had been frustrating. And if the practice session went well, then journaling becomes a form of self-encouragement.
I was thus inspired to write this post on how I use my practice journal, and I hope it ignites some ideas pertaining to journaling your own music journey.