Could I become the principal clarinetist of a major orchestra? A YouTube star? Generate a 6-figure freelance income? Deadlift 500 lbs?
When we consider such questions, we know what the “correct” answer is.
You know those happy moments in the practice room when you experience a tiny breakthrough, and after having struggled for a while, can finally play a passage exactly like you want?
Feels like cause for celebration, right?
Well, as a kid, I would reward myself for my achievement by putting my violin down and taking a practice break. Sometimes stretching into the next day…
This seemed like a reasonable enough thing to do at the time. Of course, now that I have kids, this sort of thing drives me nuts. I mean, you get through your Tae Kwon Do pattern without incident just once, and you’re ready to move on? What?!!
But how important is it really to practice beyond this point? Sure, we can always do more, but might it be that learning to the point of proficiency is enough for the time being, and additional repetitions beyond this point are an inefficient use of our time?