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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Building Skills 10

Hi all—hope you've had a great break and are ready to get back to work! This skills series continues:
 
More from Daniel Coyle: Tip#14 "Take Off Your Watch"
 
This has to do with our own preparation and practice.
 
Coyle says, "Deep practice is not measured in minutes or hours, but in the number of high-quality reaches and repetitions you make—basically, how many new connections you form in your brain."
 
He's saying to ignore the clock and focus on the sweet spot (see the last post) when you work, concentrating on depth of work, or repetitions practicing, not on time. I've written earlier about Thomas Sterner's book, "The Practicing Mind—Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Mind," and it has great ideas about this as well.
 
Slow, thorough, focused work—on score study, on improving your rehearsal or conducting technique—this is the work we need to do. Finding the time to do this work is often the challenge, but as Sterner points out, the kind of slow, deliberate work he describes (read his description in the blog post of tuning two pianos with that mindset), your work will often be more, not less, effective and efficient.
 
As much as anything, it's about your own mindset and approach. Try it.

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