jo skates

Skating in the key of life

Insights on practicing


So my teenage son wrote up two lists that include insights about learning and practicing  from his cello teacher, the legendary Mr. Howard. In earlier posts, I’ve adapted many of his ideas to skating (“Bow change motion, no matter what your age!”) is one of my favorites. I thought these were very useful for skating as well!

Mr. Howard’s answers to “What do you need to learn?”

  • Learn how to learn.
  • Learn now to practice.
  • Learn how to use time wisely.
  • Learn how to hear, really hear.

Mr. Howard’s Five Steps to Practicing

  1. Identify the problem.
  2. Isolate the problem.
  3. Analyze the problem.
  4. Figure out a creative, imaginative, and effective way to practice it.
  5. Practice, but not until you’ve done the previous four steps.


Author: Joskates

Don't see me on the ice? I may be in the classroom or at the theater, or hanging out with my family and friends.

6 thoughts on “Insights on practicing

  1. Wonderful list from your son! I approach skating very similarly to practicing music – much like you. Identify the problem, isolate it and address it! Eventually the problem will become a strength. 🙂


  2. Thanks, Eva! Nice to know that these systems translate from one skill to another–and I like your positive approach!


  3. If I could follow those five steps I could certainly learn so much faster (3 1/2 years so far on juvenile moves!). Usually I don’t know the answers to 1-4.


  4. But I’m sure those juvenile moves are looking darned good, Mary! I find #4 particularly challenging, since I tend to just go at the problem until I get frustrated–or ignore it and hope it goes away until one of my coaches calls me out on it!


  5. Yes, yes, I “address” all of my problems. Many of them now have their own zip codes. Some day I hope they grow up and move away!


  6. So funny, George! I will be thinking about how to live in the space of my problems now. Maybe if I sent an eviction notice?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s