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Make It Stick!

Learning and Practice, Make It Stick,

The science of Successful Learning


Here is an overview of some of the things covered in this book!

How” Much To Practice? 1 hour? 2 hours? 3 hours? 4 hours ??? How much is enough? What is too much?

Is there an optimal number of hours that one should practice?

Practice with your fingers and you need all day. Practice with your mind and you will do as much in 1 - 2 1/2 hours. ~ Leopold Auer

We are all unique and what we are practicing for at given times depends on our musical goals and desired level of performance.

How: HOW you practice/learn, is the question, as opposed to the amount of time. And, WHAT are you practicing / learning?

Type: Note that the key here is not the amount of practice required (as the exact number of hours is unique to individual and level desired) but the type of practice, that is required to attain an expert level of performance.

Mindless Practice vs. Mindful Practice Mindless: Most people practice without much care and thought, mindlessly.

Mindless practice is: 1. Repetitive They repeat things numerous times. ex. 10 times with out thought. They practice piece/pieces for ____ number of minutes. (as if only the minutes mattered)

Learning: How We Practice and Perform They practice on auto pilot (play for a while and stop at something, then start again) Problems with this kind of practice are: Waste of time as you are practicing your errors, unwanted habits, and the things you don’t want to do. Therefore you are adding more time to your practice in the long run. “Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent.” What do you want to create and make permanent in your practice and performing?

2. Boring & Tedious. Mindless practice is when we are not engaged, involved, questioning, learning, passionate, creating and playing. So, we may find it boring and tedious. In mindless practice we do not consciously notice that we are the ones learning and getting better at something as we are not emotionally connected to our practice and the possible outcomes. We do not get excited or happy or encourage ourself. To value yourself and what you do takes being aware of why and what you are doing. This kind of commitment and ownership to how and what you are doing is empowering! Energizing & empowering vs. boring & tedious.

3. Makes you less confident. Most people tend to perform with more awareness than we practice with each day. So, our mindless practice makes us a nervous performer and is the opposite of confidence. In mindless practice, a part of you knows that you do not know how to consistently produce the results you really want. Even if you establish a fairly high success rate in the most difficult passages via mindless practice, and find that you can play it as you want it 3 or 4 out of every 5 attempts, your confidence won’t grow much from this.

Real Performance Confidence comes from:

Being able to execute what you want 10 out of 10 times. Knowing that this isn’t a coincidence. That you can do it the way you truly want on demand!

Most importantly:

Because you know precisely why you can play it exactly as you want to or you know exactly why you missed it.

Because you know exactly what you need to do from a technical and musical standpoint in order to play the passage perfectly every time. = performance confidence.

What is Mindful Practice?

Mindful: Deliberate, clear, intentional practice, that is done in small sections or practice chunks. Repetition has a clear intention that builds upon a strengths and refines musical habits. Repetition is: to challenge and attain more expertise and higher artistic levels.


How We Practice and Perform for that asking questions, creating solutions and trying them out. listens and looks for deeper understanding and knowing of the music and yourself.

Slows You Down!

It takes time to understand something. To consider, discover, engage in, give thought and meaning to your practice and music making.

It is an active and thoughtful process where you have to ask questions and come up with the ideas on how to solve the question.

THEN, you have have to try it out. AND, then ask did my solution work? How? Give yourself feedback on what you did. (teaching yourself) Then repeat the process... Mindfully :-).

Very few musicians take the time to stop and analyze what went wrong, why it happened, and how they can correct the error permanently. Instead they just stop... or just keep going...

Spaced Learning/ Practice:

People who do all of their practice at one time during the day only retain about 25% of what they are practicing. People who space out their practice sessions during the day, allowing for integration of what they practiced, learn 57% more this way. For example, three 40 minute practice times as day vs. 2 hours at one time.

Deliberate: How expert one becomes has more to do with how one practices, than with merely performing a skill a large number of times. An expert breaks down the skills that are required to be expert and focuses on improving those skill chunks during practice and is often paired with immediate coaching feedback. Deliberate practice lies in continually practicing a skill at more challenging levels with the intention of mastering each new level.

A mindful, deliberate practicer learns about 75% more than someone who just plays things through, the average practicer and they retain most of what they learn.

  1. Define Goal - What and How?

  2. Go for it! Play it!

  3. Evaluate Result (be specific and detailed)

  4. Identify Problem (be specific and detailed)

  5. Identify Cause (be specific and detailed)

  6. Create a Solution (be specific and detailed)

  7. Test Solution and repeat step 1-7.

This process slows you so that you can learn more deliberately, mindfully... It is actually faster and you will retain what you learned.

Kinds of Practice & Learning!

Creative: Explore, question, wonder, create and play with your own and others practice ideas.

Retrieval: Retrieving knowledge and skill from memory, self quizzing; see what you remember.

Elaboration: is the process of finding additional layers of meaning in new material and making connections with things you know and adding that layer to the new material.

Generation: is to attempt to answer a questions or solve a problem before being show or given the answer, teaching yourself.

Reflection: is a combination of retrieval and elaboration, that adds layers to learning and strengthens skills.

Hope you enjoyed this and gave you some new ideas for your practice!

Heartfully~ Jennifer

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