Inspire Vocalists to Sing Using Practice Logs

Using Assignment and Practice Logs for Voice Lessons

Practicing Voice
Image courtesy of Tulane Public Relations via flickr cc license

Students benefit from practice and assignment logs for several reasons. It keeps them accountable and explains what and how to practice. A simple one allows students to record time without asking what they are doing. This may work for some students, while others might while away their practice time running through songs. Here are several key points to cover in practice and assignment logs to help those students struggling to practice.

Spiral Bound Notebook Method

Many teachers will ask students to buy a spiral bound notebook to record assignments. It allows for flexibility, but often lacks specificity as teachers have a limited time to make practice recommendations. Sometimes students continually or conveniently forget to buy a notebook. In such cases, it is wise to have loose paper handy. You may tuck it in the student’s book as a way to mark where their song is. If paper is not handy, you might write with pencil directly in student song or vocal exercise books. This may upset some, which will inspire them to bring a spiral bound notebook to their next lesson. Due to lack of space in a songbook, record a simplified instruction such as “practice low breathing using a 5-note scale and an 8-note scale.”

General Voice Logs

Here is an example of a simple assignment log that helps teachers stay organized and students on track. Students can check off their assignments daily by putting their logs behind a sheet protector if desired. Using a simple typed log improves readability of instructions and saves lesson time. Though this is a good example, you may easily create your own voice log suited to your needs using Microsoft Word. A checklist is created using bullets. To change them from circles to boxes, just right click directly after one of the bullets in a list. Click on bullets, define new bullets, symbols, and then scroll down to choose a font with symbols such as wingdings. Find a box you like, highlight it, and press ok.

Pre-Specified Assignments Based on Topics

Pre-set assignment checklists allow for a more in-depth practice guide. You may post them on a blog and tell students to look them up according to the topic you covered or print one-sheet copies ready for students to add to three ring binders or folders purchased for voice lessons. You may in addition use a spiral bound notebook to tailor information to each student or provide space for notes. Some voice teachers create their own information booklet or binder they hand out to each new student, which might include studio expectations, printed vocal exercises, solfège exercises, and assignment and practice logs. For those with more than 10 students, it makes sense to do the same. You may charge students what it cost to create the binder.

Be as Specific as Possible

List exactly what you expect students to practice. Always include what should be practiced, how many times or how long to practice, and date your entry. Dating assignment logs helps students to easily note how much they have learned, inspiring further practice. For a mature student, you may write in a spiral bound notebook: Practice Posture at least 10 minutes a day. Clap out the rhythm and solfège the melody “Oh Danny Boy,” once daily. Memorize the lyrics and practice performing “The Water is Wide.” For a student needing encouragement, you may need to write something more specific when it comes to practicing techniques, such as the below entry.

Practice posture 10 minutes a day using one to three of the following methods: 1) sit on a yoga ball, 2) practice sway back and C body position and find a happy medium between the two, 3) touch toes and slowly rise stacking vertebrae one at a time, 4) practice against the wall, 5) use a mirror, 6) walk with good posture. Be sure to try each method at least once during the week.

Clap out the rhythm and solfège the melody “Oh Danny Boy,” once daily. Be prepared to sing the song using solfège with accompaniment at your next lesson. Memorize the lyrics and practice performing “The Water is Wide.”