It’s Not WHAT … It’s HOW You’re Practicing


Too often, our focus lands on what we are practicing – whether it’s your dulcimer, a sport, a language, or a skill. However, the true essence of mastery lies not just in the act of practicing, but in how that practice is approached and executed. It's a subtle yet profound distinction: it's not what you're practicing; it's how you're practicing that truly matters.

Quality Over Quantity:
Mindless repetition of tunes or exercises does not lead to improvement. The key lies in the quality of practice. Deliberate, focused, and mindful practice involves full concentration and a conscious effort to improve with each repetition.

Setting Clear Goals:
Effective practice starts with a clear goal in mind. Whether you aim to increase your repertoire, perfect chording, or learning a new lick, having specific, measurable objectives provides direction to your practice sessions. Goals act as beacons, guiding your efforts and ensuring that your practice is purposeful and structured.

Feedback and Adaptation:
Receiving feedback, whether from a mentor, a coach, or self-assessment by recording, is crucial for improvement. It's not enough to mindlessly practice; you must adapt and adjust based on feedback, making each practice session a dynamic process of continuous learning and refinement.

Embracing Challenges:
Growth occurs outside of our comfort zone. Practicing with challenging goals means deliberately incorporating aspects that stretch your abilities.

 Mindfulness and Presence:
In the best practice session, you are fully present in the moment. It's not about going through the motions; it's about being deeply engaged, mentally and physically, in the tune or exercise at hand.

Consistency and Patience:
Mastery is not achieved overnight. Consistent, disciplined practice over an extended period is the hallmark of true musicians. It's not about rushing to the finish line; it's about the journey of continuous, purposeful refinement.

The path to mastery is paved with intentional, focused practice. By practicing this way, anyone can unlock their full potential and achieve excellence on their chosen instrument.

Happy dulcimering,



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