david santistevan


How To Practice Better

I think we all know that what makes a person better at what they do is practice. In the book “Talent is Overrated”, Geoff Colvin talks about the massive amount of hours it takes to make someone an extraordinary performer; however, it’s not just practice that makes perfect, it’s what he calls “deliberate practice” that makes all the difference. It’s not just sheer hours; it’s utilizing those hours wisely.

For example, if I practiced worship songs on the piano 4 hours a day for the rest of my life, it wouldn’t make me an extraordinary pianist. It might assist in making me a good worship leader, but in order to be an extraordinary pianist, I need to deliberately practice scales, arpeggios, finger-strengthening exercies, repeat difficult passages till my hands hurt, study music, hire a piano doctor, etc. It’s not just practice; it’s deliberate practice.

Now, I understand your goal may not be to become the Tiger Woods of your field, but are you improving? We should all always be improving what we do in order to better serve God and increase our effectiveness.

Here’s some simple tips:

  1. Study the greats – whether your area is ministry, business, music performance, worship leading, etc, study those who are outstanding at what they do. Great performance starts with intense learning. Ask the question, “Why are they so successful?” I’ve tried to develop a lifestyle of learning. Wherever I am, whomever I’m with, I want to learn something new. Another key: listen more than you talk 🙂
  2. Cut out the non-essentials – I think part of what makes someone a great performer is concentration. They aren’t trying to live a ‘balanced’ life. While the rest of their friends were hanging out, they were practicing. I understand this may sound intense, but practically speaking, if you can let go of that 1 hour of TV (which won’t enrich your life in any way), use that time to practice. Great performers use their time wisely on what matters.
  3. Hire a coach – this may not apply to everyone, but great performers have coaches. Find someone who knows more than you do who can see your weakness and help you get better.
  4. Apply it – make sure you get in the game. Take what you’re learning behind the scenes and apply it to what you do. This is the gauge as to whether your practice is working or not.

What else would you add? What are some ways that you practice?


November 9, 2010 - Posted by | Leadership, Music


  1. […] to Practice Better – Worship Leading In a previous post I talked about how important practice is. But not just practice…deliberate practice – […]

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  2. […] a previous post I talked about how important practice is. But not just practice…deliberate practice – […]

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  3. […] from a lot of young musicians is that he works hard. Really hard. I’ve been writing a lot on how to practice better. Check out my posts here and here. I asked Rob to give some insight into what he does. Love this […]

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  4. […] why I write a lot of list posts (they can be scanned quickly) and how to’s (practical). Here’s how I would recommend you read […]

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  5. […] what is practical. That’s why I write a lot of list posts (they can be scanned quickly) and how to’s (practical). Here’s how I would recommend you read […]

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