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  • Writer's pictureRon Dickson

How to learn better Part 3

How do we get the material stored in our brains back out? We have a great storage capacity as humans. However, we often struggle to get the material stored back out. We call this our ability to recall, which improves with practice. Even faster with the correct practice. (Special offer at the end)


As we learn, we gradually build the ability to recall the information we have learned. What we want to be able to do is develop that recall so it is a faster and more accurate process. To do this, we use spaced repetition.


With spaced repetition, we are deliberately recalling something we have learned, allowing time for it to no longer be in our short-term or working memory and then repeating the process.


The simplified process is:-

  • Play a section of music that you have learned to play without mistakes (It doesn’t have to be full speed or song)

  • Pay attention to any mistakes, and mentally note them, BUT do not try to repeat to rectify them.

  • Set a timer for a short period (Starting at 5 minutes) and do something else

  • When time is up, Play the section again with awareness of where the mistakes occurred last time.

  • Repeat loop until practice session finished

  • Repeat each day until played from recall is correct (This can be a week or more)

  • Develop the section further, join with a different section or play it faster

  • Repeat until the whole piece mastered

For most, this is not an intuitive way to practice as we like to repeat until correct.


I have secured a discount for my contacts from Musical U till the 4th of July 2022 of 25% off the price of the Superlearning course run by Gregg Goodhart. In this course, he explains how to store information better, how to carry out retrieval practice, and the techniques of deliberate practice to significantly reduce the time taken to learn an instrument and perform with fewer mistakes. I recommend it, and you can get the 25% discount here.


More on learning next week

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