Have you ever been to New York City? If you visit, you’ll probably want to check out Carnegie Hall, which is where many famous musicians play live concerts every year. If you’re not sure how to get there, just ask anyone, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?”

Don’t be surprised, though, if the answer is the same from everyone: “practice!” This is an old joke, which means that it takes years of practice to become a great musician who could play at Carnegie Hall.

By now, you probably know all about practice. If you’re an athlete, you know all about sports practices. If you’re a musician, you know all about practicing with your instrument. If you have a math class, you know all about practicing your basic math facts.

You may have even heard a popular saying that many people use often: “practice makes perfect!” But have you ever WONDERed whether that’s really true? Does practice really…eventually…make perfect? Always?

Sometimes practice does make perfect. Take a math test, for example. If you know you’re going to have a math test on your multiplication facts in a week, you can practice those facts over and over again before the test. If you get a 100% on your test, that’s perfect and you can safely say the practice helped get you there.

In other areas of life, though, practice doesn’t always make perfect. That doesn’t mean that practice doesn’t help. Sometimes it just means that there’s no such thing as “perfect” in a certain area.

For example, if you play sports or a musical instrument, is there such a thing as a perfect game or a perfect performance? It all depends upon what you consider to be “perfect,” and that definition can differ depending upon who you ask.

Even if practice doesn’t always make perfect, it almost always makes you better than you were before practicing. You’ve probably seen this fact many times in your own life. The more you do something, the easier it becomes.

Sometimes you may hear people use a similar phrase: “perfect practice makes perfect!” What does this mean? The idea they’re trying to convey is that it matters how you practice. As with anything, the more effort you put into practice, the more benefit you will get out of it.

If you practice half-heartedly, you won’t get as much benefit out of that practice as you would if you gave your all during practice. Some experts recommend you engage in deliberate practice. This means that you constantly assess your practice efforts and focus on areas where you’re weak, so you can continually improve.

So how can you make the most of your practice? Give it your all. Do it frequently. And make sure you’re getting good feedback from an expert, such as a coach, instructor or teacher! focus on ways you can get better and set goals to improve in those areas.

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