Monday, April 13, 2009

Read A Book While Practicing

An odd theme:

[Fred] Astaire was famous for practicing his steps over and over until he didn't have to think about them. I read somewhere that his test was, while dancing, to read a book. If he could read the book and retain what he read, then he knew he had learned the dance.

[Franz Liszt] advised his students to read a book while practicing: "The advantage of reading a book while practicing for pure technique alone is that it enables us to forget the boredom of playing a passage over and over again, a dozen, or fifty or a hundred times until the body has absorbed it."

However, this is the opposite of deliberate practice.


  1. I don't really think it isn't the same.

    The second quote even states plainly: "pure technique"

    But I'm not even taking his word for it.

    I really don't see a core difference between what Astaire and A-Rod are described as doing. They are both ruthless in their technique, have specific goals/milestones as far as the feedback, I see nothing specific to the examples that suggest either had an excess or a lacking for it.

    Is there some key value of "deliberate practice" I'm not getting here, I'd like to know what I'm missing.

  2. @Colin: I wrote a long reply and decided to post it to my own blog here: but the summary is this: Deliberate practice is how you get to the next level of ability while read a book practice is how you make your current level of ability become effortless. HTH/Cheers!


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