It’s one of those things that you always hear your teacher say and you always shrug off as something they say to get their students to practice but practice really does make perfect. We look at it this way. Learning an instrument is more like a marathon than a sprint. Instead of rushing through the books and only half way completing a song take each song as a marathon. Try to perfect every aspect of that song and get it to sound good before moving on to the next song. We always tell all of our students to practice at least five days a week and to play their song about 20 times (or about 15 minutes) a day. Getting in the habit of practicing everyday will make it that much easier to play the songs as the student progresses.
Why is practice the most important aspect of music?
A good analogy for practice is comparing it to a person that goes to weight loss meetings once a week. If that person goes home and doesn't put into practice what they've learned in their meetings throughout the week then they wont lose any weight. In the same way when a student comes to class each week they learn the tools needed to play their song. Their teacher gives them the information they need to know to play their song. But if they don't practice at home during the week, they wont progress and they wont remember most of what they have been taught.
Another analogy for practicing is if you think of practicing as the hands on a clock. The hour hand on a clock takes twenty four hours to make a full circle around the clock while the minute hand takes only sixty minutes to make it fully around the clock. The minute hand on the clock refers to the student that practices everyday. They are able to accomplish a lot more in a shorter amount of time. The hour hand is the student that does not consistently practice. It takes this student a lot longer to master the same concepts that the other student learned in a shorter time because they don't practice.