How to Practice Effectively

MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY

TED Talks are one of my favourite channels to listen on. They have multiple topics, and whether it’s a lecture or video, they are always informative, educational and inspiring.

I came across this video about practice recently and I wanted to share with all of you. As performers, we are constantly confronted with the act of practice; in fact, you probably spend more time practising than be in lessons. Knowing how to practice is vital as they way you practice will shape your craft. Your teacher can help you refine your craft, but they cannot do it for you. It is YOU who decides upon the quality and quantity of practice, which will have a direct impact on the performance.

As mentioned in the video, it takes years of practice to master a skill, therefore, knowing and learning the most efficient way to practice will maximise your development – something Ed Sheeran mentioned in the video I posted a couple weeks ago (you can read it here).

Additional to the suggestions in the video, here are some of my advice…

1 Learn/practise it in small sections – don’t try to learn your whole entire song/dance/monologue routine from start to end, leave that to later when you’ve mastered every corner of the song/dance/monologue.

2 Troubleshoot and target the weaker areas FIRST – this might mean practice from the middle of the song/dance/monologue, this is because what you practice first will be consolidated better normally because you have better energy and focus. So if you start your practice with the beginning of the piece each time and end with the end of the piece, you might find yourself feeling less confident as the song/dance/monologue goes on.

3 Mental practice – although most of our practice are physical, mental practice are equally valid if not more important. Remember, your muscles don’t actually contain memory, even though we speak about muscle memory, it is still your brain that sends the coordination signal to the muscles. Of course, I am, by no means, undermining physical practice, but mental practice is a way of practice to refine those signals without the distraction of the human limitations. What you have to do is visualise the coordination of your singing/dance/monologue, imagine and ‘see’ the most perfect way you know and perform it (in your mind) – basically physical practice but in your mind. This is a great practice method especially when you don’t have the environment or facility to do physical practice – and yes, this means you have no excuse to not practice now.

Hope this has been useful. Enjoy!

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