A spreadsheet for keeping track of “a tune a day” type progress.

A spreadsheet for keeping track of “a tune a day” type progress.

If you’ve ever considered attempting the "learn a tune a day" thing, this might - MIGHT - be useful to you. I built it for myself, but it occurred to me others could find it useful.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1zkQc7h67bOrzVNCzJUr9-4DJPmAkyGu1JFrXsk2ErRE/edit?usp=sharing

The idea: you have a list of tunes and you assign them to days on which you want them to be "tune of the day", starting about a month from now.

You decide on a practice schedule for how often you want to practice the tune in the leadup to the day; I’ve split it into "practicing" and "memorising" days as I tend to tackle them as different things: this is obviously not compulsory.

The sheet then crunches all this and spits out a handy little list of the things you should be practicing today.

If you’d like to try using it, note that:

- it can’t be exported to Excel; there’s a function I use which Excel can’t (easily) duplicate. If this is really important to anyone I can fix it.
- the first date on the tunes tab is actually a formula - this is so that the sheet always "wakes up" with a current, working example. Change this if you use it for yourself.
- You should only need to edit the bits in yellow.
- You can change the day you’re looking at by editing the yellow box on the "Today" tab to be +1, -1, etc.

It’s pretty user unfriendly at the moment - any comments in this regard will be gratefully received and may or may not be fixed!

Have at it.

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Re: A spreadsheet for keeping track of “a tune a day” type progress.

It sounds terribly stifling to me. Each to their own, I suppose, but I like to learn whatever tune I like when I feel like learning it.

….There again, maybe that’s why I’m a mediocre musician.

Re: A spreadsheet for keeping track of “a tune a day” type progress.

Sure. The only reason to use something like this is that you’ve made a conscious choice to learn a lot of material in a short space of time. Once you’ve decided you want to do that, some sort of systematic approach can only help…

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Re: A spreadsheet for keeping track of “a tune a day” type progress.

The Glasgow Reel AND Tam Lin?
Hmmmm…..ok… nothing wrong with reinforcing what you’ve previously learned I suppose….

I agree with CreadurMawnOrganig it seems a very regemented way of learning, when it ought to be about having fun!

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Re: A spreadsheet for keeping track of “a tune a day” type progress.

Some people have type A personalities and do have fun with organized approaches.

Re: A spreadsheet for keeping track of “a tune a day” type progress.

well organized practice is actually a good idea if you are serious about being a good musician. If you are just out to have fun, then nevermind. Have at it. But personality types don’t really matter. Music is hard and tricky and it takes a lot of work no matter who you are. If you have patience and make time to practice you get better. Generally speaking, the people who treat themselves like athletes (don’t drink, stay away from drugs, eat healthy, etc) and take an organized approach always improve faster than people who don’t.

at least that is what I have observed from a lifetime spent among musicians

Re: A spreadsheet for keeping track of “a tune a day” type progress.

I’ll stop being Lazy for a moment….
Nate: "Generally speaking, the people who treat themselves like athletes (don’t drink, stay away from drugs, eat healthy, etc)…."
Not sure if that had been my experience as an erstwhile long and middle distance Club runner. Take an old mate of mine, Robin Thomas, for example:
http://www.scottishdistancerunninghistory.co.uk/Robin%20Thomas.htm
…And some of his homespun philosophy might well apply to music and music practice, IMV.

Re: A spreadsheet for keeping track of “a tune a day” type progress.

>> The Glasgow Reel AND Tam Lin?

Belt and braces…

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Re: A spreadsheet for keeping track of “a tune a day” type progress.

Interesting idea. A little similar to the idea behind irishtune.info’s Practice Machine, only you control the logic of the generated tune recommendations. If it works for you, great!

I like IrishTune.info’s approach, but get a little stifled when tunes I want to learn aren’t (yet) in Alan’s index. I’ve been debating creating a solution that does the same thing but allows user-entered tune titles. Should be a simple enough project, but setting aside the time to code it…

Re: A spreadsheet for keeping track of “a tune a day” type progress.

Belt and braces yeah maybe but what a sh¦t tune to learn twice. I’d say half-learn it once then forget it. It doesn’t desserve a place amoung many of the other lovely tunes on your databbase.

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Re: A spreadsheet for keeping track of “a tune a day” type progress.

I actually did write a program for this — two, really. https://github.com/colomon/TuneReminder

Unfortunately, the documentation is non-existent, the UI is primitive, and none of it has been tested with the latest Perl 6 compiler. If other people are interested I can start beating the text interface version back into shape…

Re: A spreadsheet…or not….

Speaking as one who gets cross eyed when spreadsheets and other computer related programs are mentioned I guess I’ll just go practice. :)

Re: A spreadsheet for keeping track of “a tune a day” type progress.

> many of the other lovely tunes on your databbase.

I will confess that the tunes on there are simply the first that came up when I googled ‘list of tunes’, for placeholder purposes.

Maybe it’s the tune to the ballad of the same name.

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Re: A spreadsheet for keeping track of “a tune a day” type progress.

SRS anyone?

Any Spaced Repetition Software will take care of a lot due to the supposed forgetting curve. Whatever you add, the software will remind you to review depending on how well you remembered the item the last time. Most use such software to review vocabulary, and there’s usually a self-grading system like Again, Hard, Good, Easy. Entries which you grade "Again" will show up sooner than others, and obviously Easy entries won’t show up as often. You don’t want to review everything every day, but rather the things you "have to" review.

You could easily add titles, ABC etc. to such a system. If ten tunes is what you know, add those. The first time you run the program it will ask you to review all of them. Play each tune once and grade yourself accordingly, or do something else, say, play it once for the Again level, twice for Hard, three times for Good and four times for Easy (you don’t want to have to review Easy tunes too often so you’d better learn them well, today). Unless you learn another tune today, you’ll probably be asked to review all of them tomorrow, but maybe not at the same time.

No, I don’t practice tunes like this, but I do review vocabulary with SRS.

Re: A spreadsheet for keeping track of “a tune a day” type progress.

Lazy, I can see why you like Robin Thomas, "The original newspaper article was published in the Edinburgh Evening News at the formation of the club. It was written by Sandy Sutherland and was headlined “New Edinburgh club – but not for the elite!” Three founding principles of HBT – apart from anti-elitism (metamorphosed over the years into non-elitism!) – NO God-Squad; NO Tories; and NO lager drinkers! This is to demonstrate from the outset that humour, morale, irreverence and banter are all-important to HBT
[Hunters’ Bog Trotters]."

Nate, I also appreciate your observation about musicians who’s music benefits from healthy habits. I have my share of anecdotes about musicians who improved substantially by sobering up, excellent musicians who outlived many of their mates by not partaking, as well as alternatively sad outcomes for very talented musicians who had little concern for their health.

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Re: A spreadsheet for keeping track of “a tune a day” type progress.

its the drink and drugs that I’ve seen do the worst to people. I mean maybe athletes weren’t the best group to compare to. But taking care of yourself does help. It just stands to reason that if your body is healthy, and your mind at peace that you will retain more from your practice and master whatever you are working on faster.

Re: A spreadsheet for keeping track of “a tune a day” type progress.

Nate and AB, well said. I have had at least one adult student who could attest to some major changes like this, making a big difference in their lives. In fact, I married an adult musician many years ago who had quit drinking and turned around how he was able to care for himself and others. His last 20 years of life were in his words, an awakening, and he was definitely better at his job, and his music. :)

Re: A spreadsheet for keeping track of “a tune a day” type progress.

> SRS anyone?

That’s a great idea - I suppose it’s the flipside of what my sheet is meant to do. I guess it would be a useful extension, though a spreadsheet isn’t going to be the best tool for the job.

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Re: A spreadsheet for keeping track of “a tune a day” type progress.

Good stuff Calum and Sol, Thanks for sharing!

Re: A spreadsheet for keeping track of “a tune a day” type progress.

My TuneReminder stuff (specifically bin/spaced_tunes) tries to do a dumbed-down version of SRS. Basically it tracks the number of times you indicate you successfully played the tune minus the number of times you said you didn’t know it (with min 0, max 5). It then assigns a weight to each tune, so that each time the status goes up by one, the odds of choosing that tune are cut in half. So when it chooses tunes it will tend to pick the ones you need the most work on, but will still get back around to the older ones occasionally.

Looking at the source, I’m 100% sure it will not run correctly in the latest Perl 6. I’ll see if I cannot get at least spaced_tunes running again this evening.

Re: A spreadsheet for keeping track of “a tune a day” type progress.

Another Thumb’s up to Alan Ng’s Practice Machine at irishtune.info

Left to my own devices I tend to work more on favorites or jump to a new flavor of the week, and avoid harder tunes. The Practice Machine gives me just enough structure to guide/encourage my practice while being really easy - or else I wouldn’t bother.

I notice that there is some randomness in Alan’s algorithm, but also certain tunes come up more frequently, like new ones, or older ones with fewer plays. I might like it to have a "learning" vs "memorized" flag, as it is oriented towards maintaining and improving tunes you already have in your repertoire, but in actual usage, I just throw in both, and it doesn’t really matter.

I can’t get to much more than 1/2 hour on weekdays, so organizing my practice really helps me.

Re: A spreadsheet for keeping track of “a tune a day” type progress.

Cool spreadsheet! I use one that I keep taped on the wall and on my computer desktop to help me see what’s in the practice pipe.

Mostly, tho’, I practice what’s crawled in my ear, what a teacher has given me, or what I just listened to.

This is my maiden voyage with the google thing in public. Here goes:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1uWxSLTRXCPMlr25ki6fKr2FypHUZrmt_2kxFgtrInXE/edit?usp=sharing

Re: A spreadsheet for keeping track of “a tune a day” type progress.

You’ve got to be kidding me.

Re: A spreadsheet for keeping track of “a tune a day” type progress.

No, Robert, I’m not kidding. I expect you - and every other member of The Session - to be using this spreadsheet. No exceptions. No allowance for personal preference. No consideration of what your musical goals are. Certainly no different approaches for different learning styles.

Honest to goodness. Yes, people, most of you have no need or desire for a tool like this. I did, so I built it. I thought others might like to try it, so I shared it. And one or two of you do like it, and are using it. Great.

I wonder about that guy who showed up one day with a chanter that could play two octaves. I wonder if the rest of the crowd turned round and said they had no need for such a thing, and that it was a waste of time, and asked if he was kidding.

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