How do we Practice?

 

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If we examine two concert pianists, two professional athletes, or two people attempting a new skill, how do their practice habits impact their performance?

 

The obvious habits of dedication, hard work and discipline influence performance in a major way.

 

Another area we may overlook is the ability to make mistakes, think outside the box.
Trying new things brings a vulnerable, awkward feeling. We desire to be accomplished, proficient and confident. Making mistakes does not feel like that.

 

 

Growth, improvement and satisfaction are the rewards for our risking.
We fear embarrassment and that feeling limits our growth.

 

I worked with a concert pianist a few years back. He tried to be perfect not only during a performance but during practice.


It limited his growth and stole his enjoyment of playing.


With daily focus and acceptance, he agreed that a half hour a day, he would tolerate mistakes.

 

 

I suggested he start playing from the middle of a piece and practice a short part of the composition. This was a moment of freedom for him, a big weight removed.
Now, he could enjoy himself, rather than be responsible for pleasing the composer, his teacher and the audience.

 

I challenged him to speed up, go fast and accept stumbling now, to be more proficient later.

 


There was no room for his needs or enjoyment with perfection as a goal.

 

The next day it was like he found a whole new area of opportunity. He could relax and just play for the first time.

 

If we can not allow ourselves to make mistakes, we limit our ceiling of growth (my opinion).
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