Plasticize your brain in style. Well, what exactly does that mean? In this article I'll be discussing how and why practice makes things easier, or at least less difficult or awkward, and the physical reality that develops in the brain making this happen.

First of all, what is meant by practice? In all my years of teaching and playing I've noticed that the best results come from clear understanding in the mind followed by proper physical, systematic execution. I'll expand here with a few 'for instances'.

When it comes to the quick thinkers I've encountered on the piano virtually everyone of them has taken the time to dig in slowly, and really understand every concept and device necessary. They would also understand when and how to deploy each concept and device. For instance, I once taught an exceptionally bright young man who was learning to improvise on the piano. Not only did he learn the scale thoroughly, but he asked me for the specific fingering I used when deploying a variation of it descending on the piano. With that clarity, he was able to practice confidently and systematically, developing an ease of execution in his hands as the neurons in his brain developed, and fired more accurately.

What also developed? Let me give you one more 'for instance' first.

In Plasticize Your Brain In Style - Part One I mentioned an older gentleman in his early eighties I had the privilege of working with . He was having a bit of a hard time with a certain meter known as 6/8 time. Well, it was my job to find a way to help him understand it first in his mind. So, I did a number of things. I demonstrated it slowly; I gave explanations of how 6/8 time came from 2/4 time; I counted out loud; I even danced around the room to a recording in 6/8. Yes, he did get it! When he practiced he struggled with it at first. Within three weeks of daily, systematic practice it became so simple to him that he exclaimed, "How did I ever not know this?"

Now, for the physical development in the brain. This exciting reality is just so great. Whenever I feel a little tired of things I remind myself of this little miracle and I feel back on track, and purposeful. The synapse part of the brain has transmitters on one end and receptors on the other. The 'firing' happens across the two. Physical practice, systematic repetition, preferably with clear thought, increases the size of the receptors. So, what used to be a small receptor to catch the electric signal fired across this 'bridge' is now getting larger. Larger and more receptors means that more of a signal is getting across, and in my opinion, faster. In a relatively short time, what used to be awkward and almost impossible becomes an simple walk in the park. It is as if a veil is removed and whatever felt like a heavy fog or clunky maneuver now feels like second nature.

Why is this little bit of news exciting not only to the piano teacher? It is so useful in so many different ways, to virtually everyone. To know that if you make a commitment to practice for a few weeks, systematically, you'll see and feel a real difference for the better. Whether you are practicing the piano, another musical instrument, of learning something else like a language where you must pronounce words, the feeling of increasing ease is such a relief; an exciting reality.

So, plasticize your brain in style with systematic practice and your synapses will pay you back with plenty of interest.

John Agius
Learn Piano and Shine

Author's Bio: 

Having an A.R.C.T. from the Royal Conservatory of Music Canada as well as an ability to improvise and compose, John Agius is recognized for creative solutions to multiple issues students have with learning the piano. Along with teaching, he is known for being personable and filling the space brightly, performing piano at parties and events. Some of these events include the Alaskan Cruise and the China Orient Express.

Having taught piano and performed for over 26 years John has a proven ability to bring music and learning to life.

To see more detailed examples of learning, particularly related to the piano, visit John's website:

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