Loading: How to Practice

by Amy Turner

Let me tell you about a student of mine. Every week, I see pictures of this student on Facebook living her young life. She loves to dance, and she loves horses. She goes to school, does homework, and cares for pets. She lives with her mom and dad, hangs with her grandparents, and does things that most families do; vacations, school plays, family dinners, anniversary celebrations, checkups at the doctor, birthday parties. And every ordinary week, when this student comes to play for me, something extraordinary happens.

The extraordinary is in-person, real-life proof of the best practicing strategy I can recommend. Do a LITTLE at a time, and do it EVERY day. When I first started teaching this student, we discussed parental involvement, over time ridding the parents of any practicing responsibility whatsoever, which they loved. When this kiddo created a method of practice that consistently worked for her, she stuck with it. And boy, does it show! How does she do it? Ready for the big secret?

She practices while a beloved game, Star Stable, is loading. 

How long does it take for a virtual game to load? Long enough for her to go over a piece or two, work out a couple problem areas, and continue on with her game and her day. But when short, concentrated practicing sessions like this continue, a solid foundation builds. With each short session, she works out some details, and then with the brain break until the following day, she processes and roots her learning deeply. The next day, instead of starting over from scratch, she is building upon what is already there firm and secure. 

Try it this week: do a LITTLE at a time, and do it EVERY day. It'll be like magic, I promise!

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