The difference is that “how to practice” includes “what to practice” while “what to practice” does not include “how to practice”. Therefore “how to practice” is superior knowledge. One who knows how to practice obviously also knows what he is practicing. But one who knows what to practice does not necessarily knows how.
I would like to continue by quoting maestro Bill Mc Birnie
“In theory there is no difference between practice and theory but in practice there is…”
Generally “what to learn” is what most people is concerned with, but “how do I learned it” is another story. To assimilate something and use it at command you need to know “how to use” that, sometimes people tell me things like:
“…In theory I think I know that, but I don’t know how to actually play it…”
Which means you know at much “what” but you don’t know “how”
Other example is: “…I know harmony and some chords but I don’t know how to use them”. or “…I know some rasgueos but I don’t know how to use them while playing this or that piece…”
It’s like if I have a nice computer but I don’t know how to use it or like having a Ferrari without the key…
For knowledge to be all-encompassing and satisfactory you need to know how to practice which implies for sure that you also know what to practice.
Weeks ago we were talking about DVD methods etc, and you can see that those at most will give you a hint on what to practice. How to practice should be learned personally from a teacher only.
THE most important thing is HOW to practice.
“How” is about you, about your capacity to learn and apply knowledge.
That is why although I have uploaded more than 1000 video lessons on YouTube successful students of all levels request me to teach them how to practice, because with a video alone you can’t succeed; not even with a thousand ones. In video one talks in a general manner, you can’t explain in detail what an specific student may need. The process of how to practice involves the personal assessment of the teacher to the student in such a way that the student receives a personalized practice program according to his/her own needs.
That’s why a video lesson can never replace the role of a teacher.
In 25 years of professional playing and teaching I have never seen even one person who learned to play well flamenco without a teacher or just by knowing “what to practice”.
You may know many things, but if you don’t know how to use those it becomes void.
For example: Many people have written me asking about the specific order they should follow to approach my video lessons, and the answer is simple:
1) It depends on what you want to achieve. (I mean if you want to learn more about rhythm or a different repertoire etc)
2) To give you an accurate advice on any topic I need to actually see you on Skype and address what can help you to improve that area.