Let’s start with the positive. This notebook is cheap, very cheap. At only £1.50 it is one of the cheapest I’ve seen. It is also a good size and will fit into most instrument cases. The very bright red colour will also help to avoid it getting lost amongst piles of other paper work.
The diary has 36 lesson pages which should be enough for a year of lessons for most people. Each lesson page has space to note lesson date and time followed by a large blank area for the teacher to write notes. Halfway down each page is an arrowed line which is intended to be for an important note from each lesson – though this is not entirely clear. The bottom half of each lesson page contains a grid into which the pupil enters what they practised and for how many minutes each day. The book then finishes with a page to record exam results and one to note concerts attended.
Overall the diary does have a cheap and flimsy feel to it, not unexpected at this price. I suspect however that a few weeks in the bottom of a music bag would see the book in a poor condition. The design and layout are un-inspiring, it doesn’t look like something young learners would want to own. Lesson pages are basic and I would question the value the student would derive between lessons.
These are however minor gripes and not my major concern with this notebook. The biggest problem is the grid at the foot of each lesson page where the student is required to write in how many minutes they practised for each day. I’ve long argued that time should not be the measure of practice and that achievement of goals is far more important. This notebook however seems more focused on time than improvement. Not only is the pupil encouraged to record time against each activity, these are then added up to give a weekly total practice time. For me this sends out entirely the wrong message.
You might gather that I’m not a big fan of this diary, however I should emphasize that this is an improvement upon a standard ruled notebook. That said there are other much better products available.
Music Student’s Practice Diary and Teacher”s Notebook, (1991, Piccolo Press, ISBN: 978-1872203159) is available from:[amazon asin=1872203159&template=htp price]