The Best Gift You Can Give Your Musical Self
‘Tis the season of gift-giving! .
And what if I told you there was one gift you could give your recorder playing self that’s completely free, doesn’t require a schlep to Target, and is 100% guaranteed to make you a better player?
Sounds great, right? It is great.
It’s called distributed practice.
I know distributed practice may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you imagine recorder-related gifts (I for one would like a full Renaissance consort, a nice Kung bass, maybe a quality sopranino….right after I win the lottery).
But it is hands down the best thing you can do for your playing this holiday season.
What is distributed practice? Simply put, distributed practice is practice that’s spread out over time. Distributed practice means more frequent, shorter sessions as opposed to less frequent, longer sessions. If distributed practice were a sandwich fixing, it would be peanut butter- a nice, even spread over your bread.
If you’re working on a new skill (like using your thumb correctly, or mastering a particularly difficult passage), research from the field of motor learning strongly suggests you will learn better, and faster, if you distribute your practice over time.
Instead of two marathon practice sessions a week, try five short ones.
Instead of one hour-long session a day, try two half-hour sessions.
Instead of packing all your technical exercises at the beginning of your practice, try them once at the beginning, once in the middle, and once at the end.
Trying to master a finger twister? Practice it, then leave it, then practice it, then leave it, then practice it- etc. etc.
For me, distributed practice has been transformative. I believe it can be for you, as well.