Saturday, January 30, 2010

what practice is not...

The following quote is from Vernon A. Howard's essay "Artistic Practice and Skills" from the Arts and Cognition.
What practice is not. Many confusions engulf the notion of practice, none more perplexing than those relating to the nature and role of repetition, of "repeating the same thing" over and over. ... it is a popular misconception that practice amounts to mere repetition of exercises or of whole pieces until, somehow, the performer "gets it right," and can "do it without thinking." In this context "getting it right" implies an achievement threshold--performing up to some preconceived standard which requires at least a modicum of critical judgment at some developmental stage along the way.

And while it is common to speak of practice as if it were merely repetition, more than that is implied from the start.
It may seem kind of strange to those who practice some form of artistic endeavor, that practice, and the cognitive aspects of it would require explanation. But we live in a world in which the hands and their contributions to intelligence and character are too little known.

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