I spent last week at a #guitar course (blues, rock, rhythm) in Switzerland ("Guitarosa"). I am not a good musician, but persevering. Thus, inspired by this course, I pledge to practice at least half an hour every day (a full hour would be better, but becomes difficult). So where does neuroscience come in? I remember reading about a book (I haven't actually read it, nor can remember the title[correction a month later: it's “Guitar Zero”]) where someone [Gary Marcus] in a similar situation than me described years of learning from a neuroscientific viewpoint. Here spacing comes into play. The Spacing Effect describes the finding that breaks between exercise spells improve learning

http://www.frontiersin.org/Human_Neuroscience/10.3389/fnhum.2012.00203/full  (first author Jürgen Kornmeier did his PhD with me and I feel honoured to call him a friend).

So: lazy as I am, I really like to take a break. And I have the feeling that it actually works. Just earlier this evening I practiced a brief lick – trivial, yet difficult for me – for 15 minutes and did not seem to get any better. After some minutes break, I felt I had markedly improved. This is probably an illusion, if a nice one. To get back to Guitarosa, I was pleasantly surprised that in their course notes they stress the importance of breaks during practicing. A pity that the breaks alone are not sufficient and you have to practice in between…