One person's crazy opinion here:
I never learned self-arrest formally. I've used it once or twice on an unavoidably steep descent turned into involuntary glissade, but I simply don't fall on easy terrain, and difficult terrain if I fell...it would be over, immediately. This is after three seasons on snow and many snowy ascents, and alot of glacier/snowfield travel, often solo.
I would just study the moves beforehand and practice for a few hours until it's relatively smooth. Chances are in real life, stopping is either trivial, or impossible (you die). Self-arrest is useful, but in most falls isn't really a very powerful tool as mountaineering schools seem to present.
EDIT: If you do fall though, and aren't stopping even using your ice axe, don't give up, fight for your life all the way down until you can't. Slowing yourself down might make the difference between a bad injury to a terrible injury.