The Important Difference between Exercise and Learning

by | Apr 5, 2022 | Learning


The Important Difference between Exercise and Learning

A question that comes up all the time in my classes or after presentations – especially with people new to this work – is: “I feel so great after that thing we did. Should I repeat it every day from now on so that I can always feel this great?”

My answer usually (and right now for you, dear reader) is…

“Well, it depends, but basically… NO.”

And here’s why…

Let’s start with the “no.” and the why and then get to some exceptions (aka the “it depends.”)

The answer is “no, you should not repeat this day after day” because…

1. It was a lesson, not an exercise.

An exercise implies that there’s a particular result that should be expected from doing some sequence of movements or sounds. In a lesson we also do sequences of movements and/or sounds but in a very different way. And, as a result of that difference, what will happen will be different for each person who does it.

And if one repeats the lesson (or sequences in it) you will most likely get a very different result. It will still be good and functional, but not the same.

So, since what I do is learning-based, not exercise-based… no, you don’t need to repeat it. You learned something and what you learned is what you take away after the lesson. What your system does with that learning and how you will integrate it into your practice and life will unfold naturally.

You can repeat it, but if you do…

2. Repeating it could turn it into an exercise

…you run the risk of turning it into an exercise with too much repetition combined with an expectation of a certain outcome. If you do this, the experience will lose its novelty and your system will lose interest and stop responding in an expanded way.

In short, your system will get bored of it and it won’t work any more. Or – even worse – it will solidify into a habitual response which will most likely depreciate over time.


3. It will stop working eventually

Yup, it will stop having any good effects.

After a while it may even have negative effects. So.. DON’T DO IT! DON’T TURN IT INTO AN EXERCISE!

Let it be the expansive, surprising, even somewhat confusing learning experience it was and enjoy the learning that resulted.

In order to do this (aka NOT turn it into an exercise) you need to…

4. Trust your system

Instead of trying to capture the experience and control it, you’ll need to trust your system and trust that what you learned is enough for now and that your amazing and intelligent nervous system/brain will do wonderful things with what you learned – even if you don’t know what that is.

And you can also trust that if you keep learning in this way, experience by experience, learning by learning, eventually all of the learnings will add up into an even greater and more expansive integration with time and awareness.

In essence, the learning takes on a life of its own in your system and eventually you will be in a state of perpetual learning, updating, expanding and improving. Trust me, trusting your system and learning to let it learn for/with you is the best thing you will ever experience.

But, you cannot control it in a reductive way. It won’t work.

Trust. Learn. Trust. Learn. Trust…

As I said, above, there are some exceptions to this rule (like most rules) however…

– Sometimes it’s just SO INTERESTING, new and fun that you and your system really wants (or even need) to explore it  more.

But, in this case, it is best to explore the lesson or sequences from the lesson as if you were a young kid with a new toy… You’ll play with it and play with it, this way and that, getting to know it, trying it in different contexts and then eventually, usually around weeks you’ll become less interested and slow down with the play until you are ready to move on with something else.

By that time, you’ll have learned what you’ve needed to learn and that will now come with you as you move on to a new interest.

But, in this kind of process, it is vital that you use…

– Variations!

Part of what makes the play fun, functional and a continuation of the learning process is that you bring little variations to your play with the sound/movement you are into at the time.

So, again, it’s not just rote repetition. Vary it… in many ways (different pitches, different positions, different songs, different contexts, etc.) so that each time you return to it, it is still a little new. This will keep your system interested and extend the expansive learning process even as you come back to it again and again…

Because, as with anything…

– You’ll naturally get bored with it after a while.

Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It means that you’ve mastered what you’ve needed to master and you take that new skill with you into other experiences and more and more complex learning situations.

Just because you used a creation toy to help you learn to tell time on a clock when you were a kid doesn’t mean you still carry that toy around now and use it every time you need to figure out what time it is… no. You learned it. The toy is long gone, but the skill and awareness and ability remains.

You learned it. The toy is long gone, but the skill and awareness and ability remains.

Robert Sussuma

So, even if you do nothing… you/your system will integrate any new learning into your life to the best of your nervous system’s ability. That’s it’s job. Trust it. Allow it. And enjoy the amazing benefits of systemic learning in your life!

Let it go.

Find another toy!

You can return to the idea of the lesson periodically just to see what your system has been up to while you’ve let it do its thing. Sometimes it does amazing things, sometimes not… that’s just the way it goes.

If it really interests you, you can also make whatever you’ve found in a lesson/sound/movement a reference for other lessons… do it before and after other lessons and see how even that can expand… indirectly.

This kind of learning is built into the structure of THE SINGING SELF PROGRAM and TEACHER TRACK so that by following the course you will be doing what I described above automatically. I facilitate this in every lesson, every class and throughout the program.


It’s weird at first to not be asked to endlessly practice things and repeat them until you “get them,” but once you let go, trust the lessons, trust your system and let the learning happen you will be amazed at the results. You will update your entire body/mind/voice/self from the inside-out easily and without force.


This post discusses: vocal learning | voice exercises


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