Topic: Making Decisions
Neuroplasticity is a big word that describes the ability of the brain to change, actually increasing the volume of sections that are activated and exercised over the course of a lifetime of learning. Fifty years ago this was only the stuff of science fiction!
What exciting applications are being made as we understand just why practice really does make progress. Not just with musicians, chess players, and scientists.
Practice makes progress when it comes to making sound decisions, too! As long as we don't rush the process.
I hope you caught what I just said because I believe it's the most important and most difficult thing that any musician must learn. Speed kills--not just with driving.
Speed, which can be equated with impulsivity when it comes to learning any new skill, is counter-productive. Here's why: Human beings VERY quickly learn to memorize mistakes. Speed often keeps us from even SEEING mistakes! So we make the mistake over and over, rushing through our "practice" (better known as life when it comes to making very important decisions).
Sometimes it's impossible for me to get a student to slow down, even when I'm standing right there. I have to get very cranky if I succeed with most students. That's because they want to just "play the piano" rather than practice something first. Eighty percent of students--yes 80%--have to learn the hard way that when they have played a section of music as few as five times, making the same error, they have already memorized the mistake!! It will then take five times as long to un-learn and re-program the brain so that the result will be what the music calls for! What's more: the student will get so used to the sound of the error that the teacher will be hard pressed to convince the student that there IS an error!!!!!
Same goes for learning to make good, moral decisions. Both music and good decisions can be made almost without thinking; but not before one has done so persistently over a long period of time.
Practice DOES make progress, even if it never makes perfection in any individual or institution.