Don't just know how to do something

I had a huge breakthrough early in my college music studies when I first started practicing for extended periods of time (besides the obvious). 

When I was younger, I would generally practice the stuff I liked to play and avoid the stuff I didn't like (generally longer, involved pieces... that required more of an attention span).  This naturally led to me only being able to play the fun stuff and hating the hard stuff--  a vicious spiral.  When I confronted these issues in college, I went too far the other way and only practiced the stuff I had to practice because I knew I needed to work on it, kind of like a musical health nut or cross fit.  At one point my teacher asked me to do something and I kind of glossed over it to get to the tricky part... which I intended to wow him with.  Naturally, he brought me back to the simple section and pointed to mistakes I hadn't realized were there.  I then realized that there were all kinds of situations where I thought I knew how to do something but I had never actually done it, so it didn't work out as well when it came time to do it. 

Although there are great studies that point to the benefits of visualization, from the romantic Glenn Gould practicing in his head scene from 32 Short Films to basketball players being able to hit more shots when they just pictured making a bunch of them, you still need to have actually done it at some point to be able to do it again in the future.

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