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Why Play Games When Practicing?

People often underestimate how much mental power it takes in order to practice a musical instrument.  The challenges of the instrument aside, even just deciding simple things like how many times is "enough" can wear you down.  This is especially true when the students are young.  Almost any child will decide he has done something "enough" after two or three repetitions tops.  This is usually in direct conflict with the parent who knows that he has not done said task nearly enough.

Games can not only remove the charged emotional elements but they also have the power to draw the participants closer together.  Games are a social experience that present a challenge outside of a regular comfort zone.  While a student may only "feel" like doing two or three repetitions, throwing a number five on a dice pushes the student to do just a bit more.  The act of trying to overcome that challenge is more of a bonding experience than someone just telling the student what to do.

Games also have the power to break up the monotony.  While routine is a good thing when it comes to fitting regular practice into a day, too much of the same thing becomes tedious.  Playing with things like dice give "permission" to have lighter or heavier practicing days.  Sometimes you'll roll a one for everything or sometimes you're roll at twenty.

Games remove the mental taxation of constantly having to wonder if you've done something "enough."  They provide a definite starting and ending point for a learning process that has, honestly, no definite ending point.  An instrument is a life study that can constantly be improved upon.  A single practicing session will not fix all problems.  It's the slow accumulation of skills over many practice sessions that will make the real difference.

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