From the outside this series of notebooks promise much with their bright, colourful covers. On the face of it something that every student would like to own.
The inside of the front cover is given over to recording student and school details, which instrument, grade, contact details and so on. The inside of the back cover has a few basic musical terms and symbols explained. Useful, if a little plain.
The bulk of these practice books are given over to lesson pages which cover a double page spread. Depending on which version you buy you get a different number of lessons. For example the Yearly Practice Book has many more lessons than the Pocket Practice Book.
The lesson pages have space for date/time and some manuscript. There are sections labelled ‘Pieces’, ‘Scales’, ‘Sight Reading’, ‘Aural’ & ‘Theory’. I’m assuming this is for the teacher to write notes/comments during the lesson.
The second page has a section for manuscript and two sections which deal specifically with practice. The second of these two sections I like. It is a chance for teachers to feedback on the weeks practice and to grade the progress as poor, satisfactory or excellent. All good stuff.
The first of the sections on practice is however where I have a problem, a problem shared with many other notebooks. Space is given over for pupils to write in how much they practised each day. The real problem is with the line ‘Total Practice’ which indicates a focus on minutes done. This is no way to assess practice in my opinion. If I were using this notebook I would ignore this and instead employ a method of just ticking the boxes to show practice had been done.
Moving on to my second issue with these books, quality of production. The bright covers are let down by a much poorer quality inside. The paper being thin and the design/layout uninspiring. A little upgrade in quality would go a long way.
In Wisteria’s defence however these notebooks are at the cheaper end of the market and for those on a tight budget they may still be the best option. Indeed for schools on a budget they are able to offer branded notebooks with school badge or crest which is a nice touch.
All in all these practice notebooks are ok. They’re not the best I’ve seen and certainly don’t tackle the subject of practice in any meaningful way.They are a step up from a plain note book. Whilst suited to those on a budget others, who want more focused help on practice during the time between lessons, should look elsewhere.
Pocket Practice Book and Yearly Practice Book, (2006,Wisteria Books) are available to order from: Wisteria Music Books