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Practicing Smart 

 June 26, 2013

By  Ryan Swapp

Piano and cello

Don’t practice only what you already know how to do. Practice the things you don’t know how to do.

In a study conducted by Florida State University psychologist K. Anders Ericsson it was concluded that “the difference between expert performers and normal adults reflect a life-long period of deliberate effort to improve performance in a specific domain.” Ericsson’s study concluded that people become experts in their field by practicing smart. When someone practices smart they are engaged in what Ericsson calls “deliberate practice,” which is to practice the aspects of your field that are the hardest. If a piano player only plays the portion of a song that they know already then they will never learn the entire song. To learn the song and master it, the pianist needs to deliberately practice the parts of the song that are the hardest and the parts they have not yet mastered. If we always focus on overcoming our challenges rather than taking the easy route, we will become experts at whatever we do.

Discuss: What do you want to become an expert at? If you are already working on developing a talent such as playing a musical instrument, do you practice only the difficult parts of a song or do you continually play the parts that you already know?

Find a way to remind yourself to always work on the things that are hard for you and you will be an expert in no time!

(Featured image by Luca Bertolli @123rf.com)

Ryan Swapp


Calm and collected but sometimes outrageous. Check out my website for more info!

Calm and collected but sometimes outrageous. Check out my website for more info!

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