Repetitive practice: Once more, with feeling

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Pedro de Alcantara provides tips on bringing creativity and intentionality into your practice time

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Every day we breathe in and out again and again, taking some 22,000 breaths. Every day we say thousands of words, giving a steady workout to jaw, lips, tongue, vocal cords and diaphragm, and also to the creative mind that comes up with the words and organises them in meaningful ways. Every day we walk here and there, and without thinking much about it, we can easily accumulate 10,000 steps or more in an afternoon’s outing. In other words, repetition is essential to life.

And if repetition is essential, so is repetitive practice. We see that in the dog playing fetch, the child digging a hole in a sandbox, the cook peeling potatoes, the weaver making a basket, the runner training for a marathon… and the musician at work in the practice room. Five concepts will help you practise repetitions (whether for ten minutes or for an hour or for three hours) without harming yourself. Intentionality is the main thing…

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