Sunday, October 6, 2013

Great! Now do it again

I'm always using basketball metaphors, but I guess 'tis the season to talk about football, so here goes.

For two years in high school, I played on our school's football team. It was a lot of fun and taught me much about hard work, teamwork, perseverance and more.

I remember a day when our coach introduced a relatively complex play. We worked hard and finally got it right after lots of tries and correction. For some reason, I expected the coach to move on or give us a break. He didn't.

Instead, he said, "Great! Now do it again."

We proceeded to run the play correctly for over an hour, until we could do it without even thinking about it. That, it turns out, was the goal. After that practice, our coach explained the following principle:

Getting it right is just the first step. "Practicing," means doing it right over and over again. 

Now, think of that principle in terms of your music. Do you ever move on after only one or two successful runs at something? Muscle memory develops after lots of reps over a long period of time, so be sure that getting it right becomes a habit.

It's almost cliche to hear a coach say, "Again." But it's a core principle in becoming great at anything - repetition is how we learn something, how we make it permanent. It wasn't very fun practicing the same play over and over again that day in practice, or on the following days. But it was very, very rewarding to run the play in a game situation and have it work perfectly

Happy practicing. (Again and again and again.) 

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