Seeing Practice manifested in the Brain

I know that for many who are learning a new skill, it is difficult to put aside just how long it seems to be taking to see results. However, regardless of what promises and claims you might find, there really is no quick/easy steps to building those lasting skill-sets.

Without going into a long post about the neurophysiology of learning, plasticity, and potentiation—I thought you might rather like to see what it looks like to manifest change within the brain. On the left we see new spines forming on the dendrites of a mouse who is engaged in daily learning/practice activities (from Fu, Min, et al. “Repetitive motor learning induces coordinated formation of clustered dendritic spines in vivo.” Nature 483.7387 (2012): 92-95.) Those spines bring new potential/opportunity for increased activity between activity-specific neurons. We indeed have these same mechanisms in play when we learn, practice, and grow—but as with both mice and human—it takes time.

So rest assured that each day practicing at the easel does indeed count. It may not seem so from time to time but the long haul is where we find the skills that last. (and I hope a quick glimpse at these little “spines” helps to convince you of that.)

Happy Painting/Practicing all~~~~