Accelerate Your Fiddle Progress: Why You Need an Audio Practice Journal


Did you know that you can use audio recording to get immediate feedback on your performance? Not only that, but you can use it as a practice journal and to track your progress.

I’ve done different lessons on recording, practice journaling, and progress tracking.

But it recently dawned on me that there’s an easier, simple way to do this.

Simply make it a daily habit to record what you practice. The review the recordings next time you practice.

This works best if you use a voice memos app on your phone, tablet or whatever device works for you.

I’m currently using Apple voice memos on my laptop with a decent usb mic made be Elgato.


  • Review recent recordings to guide your practice.
  • Practice a skill or song for 5-10 minutes.
  • Make a short reference recording.
  • Label it

Here’s an example

I’m working on Old Town Road in F going into Jerusalem ridge in Fm. I know from looking at the previous recordings that Jerusalem is challenging for me in this key, so I focus my practice on this. When I’m done I make a short recording of just this. It seems better, so I indicate that when I label the recording

Labeling is a key step! Apple Voice Memos automatically includes the date as a subtitle. I find it helpful to see the date of the recording. It’s part of what makes this like a journal.

Include any other information you want your future self to know.

  • What part of the song did you record?
  • What tempo?
  • What new thing did you try?
  • Should you return to this soon or can it incubate for a bit?

Repeat the process for everything you practice that day.

The next time you practice, look at what you did yesterday and ask yourself, “Do I need or want to work on any of this again today?” Maybe you do, maybe you don’t.

If you decide you want to work on different stuff, then scroll back over the last week, asking yourself, “should I review any of these things?” If nothing calls to you, then maybe you decide to work on something new.

In general, I recommend making short recordings. However, if I’m doing creative practice, like arranging a song of fiddle or composing or improvisation, then I make longer recordings. These serve as a reference.

Practice Anywhere, Any Time

And if you have these recordings on your phone, you can literally practice anywhere, any time.

  • Just listen back to things you’ve worked on. Notice what could be improved.
  • Practice Visualizing the music. Imagine yourself playing it as you listen back.
  • This mental practice which actually help you perform.

Let me know how you use audio recording to improve your playing!


There’s a lot more you could do to track your progress.

You can embed these recordings in your notes program. On my MacBook, I just drag voice memos to the notes program:

Master Practice List

You can also create a Master Practice List of everything you’ve learned. Organize by skills, songs, or whatever categories work for you. Use a spreadsheet for easy organizing.

Here’s a template that you can download and tailor for your own practice.

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Further learning

Fiddling With A Music Journal

How To Track Your Practice

Fiddling With A Master Practice List

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3 responses to “Accelerate Your Fiddle Progress: Why You Need an Audio Practice Journal

  1. A good tool for recording yourself is ForScore. It’s the tool our little group uses for storing sheet music, creating setlists, etc. But it also has other useful practice tools. For instance, you can make recordings that stay attached to the particular piece of sheet music. You can make several sequential recordings if you like. I also use it to record the melody and then play it back to practice the harmony. ForScore also has another useful feature; the Dashboard, which keeps track of everything you view (and for how long) during a practice session. In addition, there are tools such as a metronome and tuner (and probably more I haven’t used yet).

  2. I audio record only my playing on my desk top computer but much more infrequently than every day, more like once a month. But what I do every day is video record my playing using my web cam and 22″ computer monitor.This is extremely useful in showing straight bowing or lack of it and general posture. Far better than a mirror. Then I switch over to the program stored on the computer, which automatically records the audio of any video recording and watch the visual representation of the audio. This shows the intonation as well as note values and metronome, if used. I am a visual learner so this is by far the best practice system I’ve found.