I recently came across this fascinating article titled, How Much Should We Practice? based on the findings of a research paper in the Journal of Neuroscience. The research was conducted by a team of scientists to determine if effective practice time can include not only practice of the assigned task, but also listening to relevant stimuli while performing unrelated tasks. Here’s a brief statement from the research paper:
“Learning was enhanced regardless of whether the periods of additional stimulation were interleaved with or provided exclusively before or after target-task performance, and even though that stimulation occurred during the performance of an irrelevant (auditory or written) task.”
I’m always somewhat skeptical of this or that latest finding that calls into question years of commonly accepted practices. There are always so many nuanced elements that go into a study like this and it’s important to keep in mind one of the basic rules of logic – that correlation doesn’t always equal causation. That said, I am intrigued by the implications and potential applications if the findings of this particular study are to be accepted. How would my practice routine and recommended practice habits for my students look different if I incorporate intentional sensory stimulation? Definitely some food for thought!
I would love to get some feedback from others on this! What do you think of the study and its findings? How do you feel about incorporating these ideas into your practicing and teaching? Any specific thoughts on what you would do differently?