One key phrase seems to be deep practice, popularized by Daniel Coyle in The Talent Code as an expansion of Anders Ericsson‘s research on deliberate practice. It’s a bit underwhelming, both the underlying science and the practical techniques. The main physiological mechanism that shows up is building myelin, the insulating sheaths around axons. That makes sense broadly, but is mylenation really so fine grained and specialized that I grow a Clair de lune myelin pattern when I practice that piece? Or is it like exercise or eating right, growing evenly and aiding overall cognitive function?
Similarly, the science-inspired practice techniques are believable, but leave me wanting. Chunking and repetitionwere table stakes when I played piano in high school. Same with playing slowly and forcefully. The two new ideas I came across were interval training and distraction, eg turning the TV on (with volume low or off) while you practice.