What Michael Jordan says about practice

Read Time 1min50

For anyone who can play a musical instrument at any level, (Joel Mclean – drums, Josie Harris – Clarinet, Iain Stewart – Harmonica, Alex Pederick-Keyboard, Richelle Hollis – Piano, Andrew Kerr – Guitar, Craig Kelly-Guitar Hero PS2) we know that practice is the key. Although time on the instrument is important for improvement, the way we practice makes a big difference. Doug Lemov in his book titled ‘Perfect Practice’ says that “practice makes permanent” as opposed to the old saying “practice makes perfect”.

If you were a year 7 student at Crusoe College you would be blessed with the opportunity to learn the Ukulele. Now to teach this I had to learn to play ukulele myself. I worked hard at playing C, G, Am and F. (4 Chord Song)  I isolated the finger positions, started slow, repeated the process, mixed the order up to improve fluency, played at differing tempos and I got pretty good. The deliberate and focused practice helped me get pretty good at playing those particular chords. I have not however extended my skills too far beyond those 4. I have played for hundreds of hours, I’m sure, but without the deliberate extension and focus on the next level of skill or challenge, I will continue to be at the expected level for year 7 ukulele. I have not spent time developing my finger picking technique or practised fancy chords. That would require focused and deliberate practice of those aspects of the playing to get good at those.

Now this may seem obvious, but it did make me think, I spend a lot of time each week teaching kids all sorts of things, and I have got to a certain level of teaching ability.  Am I deliberate or focused about how I might improve my teaching skills?

In the words of the great Michael Jordan “you can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way”.

I might try to focus on one thing today and see if I can do it a little bit better than yesterday.

Drew Roberts

Perfect Practice – Doug Lemov. https://www.amazon.com.au/Practice-Perfect-Rules-Getting-Better-ebook/dp/B007ZQ34V4

High Impact Teaching Strategy #6 – Multiple Exposures  https://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/teachers/teachingresources/practice/improve/Pages/hits.aspx?Redirect=1

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