Malcolm Gladwell, one of the noted authorities on the acquisition of expertise and expert performance, theorizes that 10,000 hours of practice is necessary to achieve proficiency at a task.
15-25 years for world-class level!
New theories are emerging which state that it is not the AMOUNT of practice, but the TYPE of practice required to reach this elite level.
The student should be engaged with the task in order to gain a productive practice. Autopilot does not work. Take time to analyze what exactly went wrong and determine possible options to correct the error permanently. As teachers, we must isolate each student’s needs and refine their approach to the situation with inquisitiveness, and the practice room becomes our laboratory!
As Paul Kantor states, “Be as perceptive with yourself as you are with colleagues [peers]”. Be an active observer of yourself! Hold yourself accountable to yourself. The best way I know to do so is to record your practice session. If that voice was a peer, what would you think? Be honest. The good and the not so good needs to be documented. This is what they call the “complex cognitive process”, which pushes body and mind to extraordinary heights.
“Deliberate practice is the magic bullet that takes someone into the stratosphere of brilliance….not innate talent but…albeit practice of a particular, concentrated grueling kind”. –Geoff Colvin
We grow best when we practice mindfully. Don’t practice just the lines that come easily; practice those moments you wish to ignore or skip. That specific moment is where the opportunity for real growth lies! Stand on the edge of uncomfortable and dip your toe in!
In short, practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect!
Now, go practice!