As part of my ongoing work to develop as an improvising musician, I have started to keep a personal reflective journal which I update after any performance.

I’d noticed that personal reflection was encouraged among trainees at work as a means of identifying strengths and weaknesses, and considering how their performance might be improved in the future.

As well as a means of reflecting upon my own practice; my strengths and my weaknesses, I felt it would be useful to document my activities, along with my responses to particular sessions.

I have been using a free android app called ‘Journey‘ to do this.

I’ve honestly found the process to be rewarding and enjoyable. I enjoy taking a few moments, usually on my way home after a session, to reflect upon what happened – how did the session feel? What did I actually contribute? What did I do that worked well? What might I try doing differently in the future?

I’ve had a few sessions recently where my reflection has initially been negative – I have come away disappointed with how the group worked together, or felt that I have struggled to contribute. In these circumstances, I have found the reflection useful to consider how I might deal with these situations in the future.

So one of the other things this process is allowing me to do is further develop a tool-set for improvising – documenting techniques that work, that don’t work, and ideas for future sessions.

Sometimes on the way to a session I have read back through my journal entries as a means of preparing myself.

At the moment I am keen to keep the journal as a very personal, reflective thing – I can express an idea in a much more genuine, useful and honest way when I’m not having to consider communicating the idea to another person – but there is perhaps scope to pick out and share some of the ideas within the entries.



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