Scientific Research & Self-Development Activism
I want to share my experience on how to get the most out of your practice.
It does not matter if it is an instrument, martial arts, dancing. This is the
general idea that i got from playing accordion for almost 10 years now.
Part 1:When you start as a child
I started very early. I was 9 years old when i held instrument for a first time.
And in that time the 50% of your practice and your learning capabilities is based on instinct. But as you grow older you become more and more aware and you start noticing your mistakes. That didn't develop for till i was around 17, that full awareness of what, in my case, your fingers are doing.
And that's the first thing i want to introduced here is: Practicing with awareness.
Part 2:Practicing with awareness
What it basically is that no matter if you are dancing or lifting weights.
Every move done by being fully aware of it, and practiced with full awareness is 10 times more powerful than one played with your mind absent. In order to master anything you have to bring your mind in to it.
No move can be done without playing it in the brain first. First you practice it slow, than when you see that you can play it without any effort whats so ever, you speed up i little and than you see that you are not fully aware of the moves you do and that you can control them absolutely than you slow down again. As you practice more and more, slowly and gradually speeding up, specific neuroconnections linked to that action will get strengthened and whit practice you reach the level when it goes automatically and you don't have to think about it any more.
Part 3: It is not linear!
Most of the people that try to learn some craft think that success goes like this:
The more time you invest in some craft, the better you become in it.
Well, that's not entirely truth. The more time you invest yea, you will become better but the catch is that you need to know how to invest.
Learning curve goes much more like this:
It has it's ups, downs and plato's. Plato is a period when you do not improve no matter how much you try and i will explain how to recognize plato, how to overcome it and advance to higher platos. The main thing you have to know about them is not get frustrated when you reach them.
Part 4: Overcoming platos!
No don't think platos are bad. But you don't want to stay on them forever and not improve in your craft. When a learning curve goes up you can recognize it easily. It give you that feeling of fulfillness in your body, everything you practice goes well you feel powerful etc. And when you have your up period than you should practice as much as you can. But when you hit a plato, it's a feeling of no progress at all, things just don't work out, what ever you try goes bad etc. In does periods you shouldn't try to resolve problems in practicing you have by more practice. Insted you solve whit your mind. You practice to keep the level of skill you have. But when you are not practicing solve the problem with your brain. Analyse carefully every aspect, think about, whats wrong, whats good, what working and whats not. And when you solve it, it will just come to you as a illuminating idea and you will be on a up period again.
Part 5: How often/long should i practice ?
Well that depends, if you are just starting a hour or 2 of conscious practice a day should do it. And yes you should practice everyday. I personally am at the point of 8-10 hours a day. But for anyone starting that's way to much. But as you get better and better thrust me, you will eat that 8 hours like child eats an ice cream.
One session shouldn't be longer than 30-60 min when you are beginning because brain can not concentrate more than that efficiently, but more and more you practice the more and more you will be able to concentrate.
Part 6: Don't force it
Practice only when you are fully relaxed for the most efficient training. If you are frustrated or nervous try to avoid it, you will only get worse. Now some people like to practice when they feel that way because it makes them calm, am not like that. But if that works for you than go ahead. My personal opinion, let go of all worries and give your self fully to your craft.
The great thing that helped me feel better and gave me ability to focus my attention better is meditation and i will explain it in my next post.
I hope that this article helped you, if you have any questions don't hesitate
to ask. This is based on my personal experience and what worked out for me the best.
Great post, Marko! As someone who had played and instrument for about seven years and learned to paint and draw, I really agree with the last part about not forcing it. From my experience, I progressed the most when I didn't feel like I needed to force anything or worry about progress. I just did my thing and it work out great.
this made me think of when i started school this fall, i learned the classes really quickly, but as i`m closing in on some of the first exams, i spend more time worrying than actually learning.
Awesome post :) I completely agree that by being aware of your movements and actions, you maximise how much you gain from the practice.
Most people will figure this out, but for the others out there, Marko made a mistake above and used the name Plato when he was really referring to plateaus. Plato --> plateau :-)
I've experienced those at different times in my life, as I'm sure many of us have.
Here are a couple of martial arts articles related to them: