• Are you using the 6 P’s to improve your practicing?

    in Piano

    There’s a set of “reminders” I got from a buddy of mine (Alex Sampson) that I want to share with you. I’ve added my own twist and explanations below.

    If you’ve listened to the radio show before, you’ve probably heard us talk about these “Ps” already.

    Use these “P’s” as a sort of litmus test to make sure you’re taking full advantage of your practicing.

    Here they are…

    Your practice must be:

    1) Purposed

    It’s impossible to reach for something without a clear vision of where you want to go. You can “lollygag” but this isn’t a good use of time and energy. And sadly, that’s what most of us do. We pull out our instrument and lollygag aimlessly, hoping to get better.

    Instead, know clearly what you want from each practicing session. Write long term goals, break them into smaller ones, and then into digestible chunks you can work on during each 30-90 minute practice period.

    2) Planned

    Having purpose and vision is nothing if you don’t take action by planning your practice. Studies show that when you carefully plan a routine activity (like exercising, “laundry days”) and do it as close to the same time, EVERY TIME, something magical happens. You “habitualize” the activity and it becomes a part of your life rather than a “chore” you have to do.

    3) Pushed

    Practice must also be pushed. This means you have to get outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself. Most musicians want to merely “rehearse” what they already know rather than push themselves to learn new stuff (like playing in unfamiliar keys, learning bigger chords that are hard to reach or weird for the fingers to play). It’s something about harder stuff that’s boring for musicians who fall into the rehearsal trance. They feel good knowing that they can play what they know. But when it comes to playing something that’s challenging, if they can’t do it in 5 minutes, that part of the practice is over. Does this sound familiar? If so, make it one of your priorities to consciously keep practice PUSHED and watch how far you get.

    4) Pumped

    Keep high energy. Have a spirit of expectation, knowing that you’re going to tackle something you’ve never tackled before (because your practice will be “pushed”). Be excited about practicing. Don’t look at the 30-90 minutes per day as a perfunctory task. Get pumped up. Change the association your mind has to practicing. In fact, it’s the same thing as exercising. If the mind links that part of your exercise where you feel like you can’t go on to pain, then the experience will be gruesome. But if your mind links that part of the exercise to “triumph” and “overcoming this last part of the battle,” then what would have been seen as pain is now a meaningful goal to reach. If you want to shatter the glass ceiling that’s holding you back from getting to the next level, you must first get pumped or you won’t build enough passionate momentum to ram through the glass. “You’ll end up with a big knot upside your head,” as grandma would say.

    5) Patient

    Results don’t come overnight. But one thing that doesn’t fail, is that they COME… if you’re patient. The master musicians didn’t get there overnight. We see their “glory” (as I always say), but don’t understand their “story.” And that story is usually a story of patience. And patience takes faith. You have to be able to keep practicing – and even though you may not see immediate results – you have to be able to know that they will come. Faith is believing something that isn’t there. Patience is key.

    6) Persistence

    Lastly, with your patience must come persistence. You gotta stay on the course. This also goes hand in hand with “planned” practice. If you schedule everyday at 7pm, then stick with everyday at 7pm because when you break the pattern, then your mind will tell you to break it again… and again. But something supernatural happens when you become more and more persistent. The mind almost does the opposite. For example, let’s say you’ve exercised nonstop for 100 days in a row without breaking one single day. I mean the same time (6:30 am) everyday… rain, sleet, or snow — what does the mind tell you when you have the slightest thought of not exercising the next day? It says, “You mean to tell me you’ve done this nonstop for 100 days and you want to ruin everything and start all over?” (maybe your brain doesn’t sound like that but mine does). So compounding persistence works for you where inconsistency works against you (the more you break commitments, the more your mind tells you that you’re not reliable and that you’ve broken tons in the past so why not this new one).

    Those are the P’s with my own few cents added. I hope you enjoyed them.

    Until next time

    The following two tabs change content below.
    Hi, I'm Jermaine Griggs, founder of this site. We teach people how to express themselves through the language of music. Just as you talk and listen freely, music can be enjoyed and played in the same way... if you know the rules of the "language!" I started this site at 17 years old in August 2000 and more than a decade later, we've helped literally millions of musicians along the way. Enjoy!

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.


    { 114 comments… read them below or add one }




    2 Kamran

    Thanks for such a lovely advice… i just love your mails they teach a lot…
    all the best… :)


    3 Emmanuel

    Thanks for this advice…first time i’ve heard this!! Im gona apply these P’s right away!!! Thanks agen Jermaine!


    4 Nicki

    WOW! This was excellent! I read it and felt motivated and challenged!!


    5 Apkan

    I must confess, when i read it i was motivated and inspired, but there is something am still lacking idont really know how to use minor chords. please i want u to send them to me through my mail box thank u very much.
    I thank u very much for this opportunity given to me and the lessons, i want u to be sending minor chords and any interesting chords that is good to know to my e.mail


    6 Evi

    This is a great way to desipline yourself on practicing great input Jermaine


    7 stoph 4rm nigeria

    ur lessons $ advice hav change our lives. 10ks


    8 jay

    nice tips jermaine, thanks. very helpful, esp points 1, 2 and 3.


    9 Samuel Alfred

    As an aspiring Pianist,you need to devout time to your playing.Learn all your major,minor,Aug,dim,altered chords in all keys.Then proceed with chord progressions.One major secret:don’t spend much time on song drills;rather study progs and patterns.Then note that music is more of listening than playing.


    10 Janice M. Frye

    Hi Jermaine
    I need your help. I have been calling your company since the 1st week in February, 2009. All I want to do is order the proper materials that will get me where I want to be in playing the keyboard. At first, I didn’t get any one on the phone, but I left my name, phone number and message for someone to call me back. Then I finally got some one on the phone and I asked for a counselor to help me with what I need to get me going. I was told that a counselor would call me back last week and I am still waiting. I have already purchased the 300-page secrets to playing piano by ear. I have lost the dvd that came with it with you playing all of the chords in each key. I need that and any other help that you suggest. I want to play skillful and well. Please respond as soon as you can. I am not complainting, just want some help.


    11 James

    I can feel it too. Your desire to excell and the passion behind it. They are a dedicated lot and I hope they have met your needs by now. Email the requests as appropriate, make selections in the website, continue practising. The idea of purposive practice is the key as I have witnessed. Just like any career is based on a structured approach or syllambus, so is music. Wish you lack.

    Comrade in pursuit for excellence in music.


    12 Eric Wikman

    Great stuff. I’ve bought many of your DVDs! How about one for songwriters? Advanced? Cover stuff like creative use of secondary Dom Chords… progressions that go outside the Diatonic box. Modulating. Etc Etc. That’s why I’m working my piano playing. Songwriting. Thanks again!


    13 Mandla

    Wow you just put things into perspective.Come to think of it,what you said are basically life lessons that one has to apply to get to the next level…



    14 Chevonne Reynolds

    Thank you so much for posting this Jermaine! I was at the teleseminar but was unable to write fast enough to keep up. I thank God for your giving spirit and willingness to share your gift with us. God bless you!


    15 Richard Blocher


    Thank you for Sharing this is Personal and close to my heart. I have been very busy with your 4 steps Program, and I am starting to see and hear a difference in my playing. Thank you, and God Bless.


    16 Francis

    Dear All,

    I am really greatful for all the conversations and thank the Lord for me also joing this caurse.
    Please kindly help me also to know much about Music and the intrument and any one having a book of chords can pls foward to my Email. annoitedgiver2@yahoo.com

    God bless you all.


    17 Jesse

    Thanks a ton, Jermaine! Some awesome tips, that I think will get anyone through the glass ceiling. It is a big challenge for me to practice at a consistent time each day, but I’m pretty good about getting the time. I do have goals set, and I have found those to be extremely helpful. I’m amazed at how quickly progress is made towards that goal, especially when practice is “pushed”.

    Jermaine, you have been huge in my learning keyboard. Anytime I can, I tell people about you.



    18 val

    Hi Jermaine
    Thanks so much for the good p’s you have suggested for practice.My problem is I find it very dificult to change my old boring chords. Can you help?


    19 Bear

    From the Bear–Having been a musician/entertainer most of my working life(i’m 73),I would like to suggest to all of you that if you’re not using a metronome when you practice that you get one and use it every time that you practice. I have played the drums since I was 10 and still use my metronome.( yes I still practice the drums as I play on my church worship team). I am now learning bass and keyboard. That little click click will help you to be a better musician more than you will ever know, especially when you apply all of the princples that brother Jermaine is so graciously sharing with us. There is a principle in the Bible that basically says “Teach others so that they may be able to teach others also” ( 2 Timothy 2:2.) I thank God for giving Jermaine the gift and talent of teaching music the way that he does so that we can learn to be better musicians.–Share it with someone—You will be blessed!! May God bless you all,—Bear PS–thanks again Bro!!


    20 James Robinson

    Appreciate d encouragement. God will put d extra on ur ordinary n he will put d super on ur natural! God Bless!


    21 Joshua

    That is great advice-especially numbers 2 and 5- sadly a lot of people forget to do that. the 5 P’s of playing an instrument….Who would of thought?


    22 steve ngutah

    waw!!! great!!! Jamaine would you mind listening to this kenyan song. maybe Google it on you tube. The artists are nico and mercy wairegi. if u can listen to it help me find the complex chords the’ve used (as complex as they are) and then give me your version of it(still complex chords if you can). its one of the songs that challenge me vocally. i have tried it but cant identify where to fix the seventh and slashed chords used in my suspicion . thanks for you, your help and your team. GOD BLESS!!! GOOD WORK.


    23 ramona morrow

    Hey Jermaine I have not forgotten about you. I thank you very much for caring so much about my progress. With your help, things are so much easier for me to understand. Don’t give up on me and please keep up the good work. GOD BLESS!!!


    24 philip ijioma

    God wil surely continue 2 bless u in ur labour of luv as help we ur younger ones in dis black and whyte keyz ministry we’ve found ourselves. Do nt relent sir, cos as far as I’m concerned, u r d gr8est piano evangelist of our time and I wish 2 c u face 2 face if d Lord tarries. Dt lecture I must confess is a life changing tonic. Nt jst on piano playing bt it is applicable in every sphere of our endeavour here on earth. Keep it up!


    25 Deborah

    Thanks again for the encouragement. Everytime I feel defeated, here you come to show me my efforts are not in vain. May God continue to bless you as you share your gift.


    26 Hadds

    Another great advice and guidance what a discovery of my life. Indeed you are absolutely right and all the 6Ps are the key to our/my success. I thank GOD for you Jermaine, my teacher and my friend.


    27 Emmanuel O.

    thanks for sharing this secretes with us,it has realy improved my thougts nd d level of my rehersals to be productive.thanks Jeremaine..u ar a friend in deedg


    28 Linford

    It is a honor to have you as the teacher.


    29 chukwunyere

    may God alrighty bless you as you bring out your time to teach this wonderful lesson


    30 Jazmyne

    Thanks for the great tips Jermaine!!!


    31 michael

    you really hav been a blessing to us aspiring musicians. I cant say thank you enough, for ur generosity. God bless u real good. Thanks


    32 Kenya

    Mr. Jermaine, i really needed that confirmation and inspiration! The organist from my church has been telling me the same thing; he said that he started out just like me; easily frustrated and listening to other people with negative responses to what he was trying to accomplish-but he kept at it, and kept at it, and proved them WRONG! He pressed toward the mark, and thats what i’m doing,”PRESSING ON”, NOT GIVING UP, and now thanks and praise to GOD, for putting people like you in our paths to give that word of encouragement. These classes have really helped my playing,so please don’t quit, there are a LOT of us that are listening and really getting what your saying! May GOD bless you as only He can……….THANKS


    33 Peter

    Read this and picked up my broken glasses ,gat to kick everything off again ………..hopefully, the 6Ps will make me better


    34 Georgianna

    I was more than happy to seek out this net-site.I wanted to thanks on your time for this excellent learn!! I definitely having fun with every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to take a look at new stuff you weblog post.


    35 Dolores

    Thanks for the important P’s you spoke of. This has really encouraged me to be deligent in my piano practices. It will be my goal to practice and be persistent and patient



    36 Edwin Castro

    This is great valued information. Thank You for reminding us.


    37 Mary Williams

    Thanks for the advice, I will practice more and be persistent, and also have patience


    38 clarice strong-ogunti

    in all actuality, these 6 Ps are perfect for practicing, pursuing and producing a “perfect” life…or, at least coming close to attaining a meaningful life. after all, practice does make perfect.


    39 Felicia Rogan

    Hi Jermaine, thanks for your re-enforcements on the 6 P’s, I really needed that. Your articles are always so very helpful. Thanks a million!


    40 merlie

    hi mr.jermain, thanks for reminding me for the Ps. i almost lost it! but here you are encouraging me again.But i have my problem on playing i need your help for diminished, inversion and the transposing of the chord i will be happy if you could help me to have that book of chord as a beginer. thanks a lot!


    41 mel

    I great reminder to keep me focused..thank you.

    On another note, I received the monthly mentor cd’s, a total of 12, is there
    an order 1, No time to waste,2.Coveted shortcuts and so on, I didn’t want
    listen to these out of order, if there is one.


    42 Ndubuisi Ebii

    Hi Jermain! I love the way you teach but my problem is that your video lessons which i try to open, many a time they do not open and when they open, i do not hear you very well.
    I quite enjoy your write ups and when i practice them, i feel greatly satisfied as i record tons of achievement.
    I have told you before, i am just a beginner of about 5 weeks old and can now play the white keys ,run their scales and play their chords; and play some gospel music with them now i want to go into the sharp keys.
    They seem very difficult but i think i will excel.I will be happy if you can give your assistance once more. Regards!!!


    43 eric omoko

    there is something I enjoyed so much is the way find your key in a song. For you really patient with people like us.
    Thanks a million. I am truly proud of you.


    44 Gina

    I will begin applying these right away! Thank you and God Bless You for sharing your passion and advice with us.


    45 Jorge Olvera

    10-4 such a nice and true advice.


    46 Rogers

    I love the piece about lollygagging—sometimes it misleads you into thinking you’ve practices just because you spent an hour on the keys–but you were just messing around with stuff you already know….

    A question I have is: How much time should I spend learning something new and how much time should I spend perfecting something? I just feel like the 100times rule always eat up my time and in a given practice session, I just don’t have time for new stuff, I guess….


    47 Jermaine Griggs

    Great question Rogers!

    This report I created will answer your practicing questions. Check out: http://www.hearandplay.com/missingchapter.pdf

    Discusses when and how to break up your practicing.


    48 Omar

    Its my first time visiting your site and i have liked it already….you are a great man,may God continue using you….i have a problem,,i know atleast a lot of chord progressions but the thing is how do i come up with a melody matching my lyrics??eg lets say i want to use a common chord prog like the 1 5 4…….please email me back..


    49 Candida

    Many thanks Jermaine. May God Bless you and keep you.


    50 Eloise

    Thanks Jermaine for the 6 P’s and for all your encouraging and motivating articles. I am going to post this next to my piano and on my frige as a daily reminder (in case I happen to think something else is more important that day). I was missing your emails for awhile due to computer setup. I’m back on track now. This is good stuff!


    51 Stormin

    I was ready to give up due to a very slow start as a beginner. Thanks Jermaine for the giving me another way to approach my training. Mr. Life saver is your new name.


    52 jonas

    Hay muchas maneras de decir gracia.
    Pero como elegir la mejor; estoy agradecido…El Ensayo mental de la acción empieza a ejecutarse con interés de los demás.


    53 abel

    Indeed, I was just beginning to ask myself why, despite all the hours I was putting into my practice, I was still making the same mistakes everytime. So; purpose – focus – challenge. That will be my motto during this journey.


    54 Ganizan J

    thank you for the lessons i get. I’m improving much in my piano. All the best, God bless you and always be blessed.


    55 Yamuna Jivana dasa

    These hints are valuable, not only for practicing music but for any goal in life. Because I am more serious about developing my relationship with God than I am about becoming a good pianist, I will try to apply these to my spiritual commitments, with the aim of pleasing God and attaining realization of him more deeply. Fortunately or unfortunately I have found that my interest in God has reduced my interest in other worldly goals, wich has impacted my determination towards piano. Whether that’s a good thing or not may be debatable for some, but nonetheless these tips sound useful for my main goal.


    56 Andrea

    Great advice….thanks.


    57 Michelle

    Thank for this valuable lesson.


    58 Lisa

    Real talk. I live our. I’m supped up and ready to rock n roll. Thanks. What a great day to set it off. I your mind set Jermaine Griggs its awesome, really. Have a beautifully blessed day man.


    59 Lisa

    Real talk. I love it. I’m supped up and ready to rock n roll. Thanks. What a great way to set it off. I love your mind set Jermaine Griggs its awesome, really. Have a betautifuly blessed day man.


    60 Karan

    Thank you.


    61 Cannon Olivierre

    You are very inspirational. You make everything looks so easy. I really need to practice more and more. I will surely get there.
    Great teacher.


    62 daren morgan

    Great advice Jermaine. I certainly needed to hear that.
    God bless


    63 David

    Thank you Jermaine! Truly great piece of advice.


    64 ZAT

    Thank you very much for all the tips. May God bless & keep you.


    65 Gabriel Coleman

    Great teaching as always i will use what i have learned here!


    66 bart

    Beginning on the keyboard begin on being computer thank you f thank you for all the help if you provide for if you provide for us god god bless you keep up the good works


    67 Patricia

    Thanks so much for the encouragement. I love reading your advise. You are doing all you can to help us learn.


    68 Marcia Greaves

    Hi Jermaine, l am trying to work with the 6 P’s. What I can tell you is that I received my package today – The secrets to Playing Piano by ear. The book is great. I was so excited to open the book that I have not played the CD as yet, but I have started doing work from the book. I love the book. It is a great book. Thanks a million.


    69 Pieter

    Hi Jermaine, excellent advice! Thank you!


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    72 Doretha parker

    Thank you for the 6p’s. It just got me back on course. Thanks for encouraging me. May God continue to bless you.

    Doretha Parker


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    84 Stephen

    Thank you Mr Griggs. I appreciate your wonderful tips. I’m inspired by them.


    85 Stephen

    Thank you Mr Griggs. I appreciate your wonderful tips. I’m inspired by them. I’m enriched.


    86 sobwale

    i luv hear n play its gr8


    87 hluga

    Am so wow


    88 Progress

    Nice one man. Was really helpful.


    89 moses

    thank you for the 6ps they are awesome !!


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    91 Cal-I

    Excellent advice! Thanks again Mr Griggs.


    92 Michelle Kelley

    I have really enjoyed reading about the 6Ps
    I will apply them and chang the way I practice. Thank you very much for sharing.


    93 Tumelo

    Thank you very much man,you changing lives, peace n thanks again…..


    94 Nana Fynn

    Thnks for such motivational message, God bless you.


    95 Dewain Dixon

    Thanks Jermaine for the 6Ps to improving my playing. I really appreciate you and the awesome advise you give to us students. I have learned a lot from you over the years and I ask God to continue to bless you and the ministry.


    96 seyi

    Thanks jermaine, this will really help if dilligently followed


    97 Ikwan Godswill

    ah love this! …. wow…. its wonderful…and your short stories from your experience…. lol is so mee…it’s also just reminded me of how to rehearse…. love it


    98 Bidemi

    Your advice counts. Each one is highly noted. Thanks


    99 Ngabo

    really I’m so touched by this
    thank u I thank who gave me a favor to know you


    100 Thomas Dadzie


    This is real, the journey to Mastery cannot be reached without t jg email 6 P’s.

    Thanks Jemaine

    From Thomas


    101 Lynn Sanders

    Thanks Jermaine,
    Great tips for practicing!


    102 GODSON

    This have really enrich my life am so grateful God bless hear & play


    103 G John B

    After 74 years playing the piano and more recently the organ the 6 Ps are good advice but I still need reminding when a complicated Bach fugue continually goes wrong! When I was a teenager learning new pieces, mostly classical, I had to play fast runs really slowly and often staccato, so that my finger muscle memory got the message. Jermaine has underlined these things, Bless him!


    104 Elvis E. Tiko

    Thank you


    105 Andrew

    Thanks Jermaine for the In depth of the 6 P’s this is a very helpful ,encouraging ,motivating tip for me .Thanks again.


    106 Kelvin

    Thanks.I have been blessed by the p’s


    107 Kelvin

    Thanks so much. I have been blessed by the p’s.


    108 Daniel Arceneaux

    I thank you for the advice, really helpful. Time to try it out.


    109 obadia

    Awesome! May God bless you


    110 Carolyn

    Thank you Jermaine for the 6 P’s, because I have been practicing without a
    plan. It was only becoming frustrating. Even though I was practicing everyday,
    something just seem out of place. I will write these 6 P’s and place them on my
    keyboard. Thanks for taking the frustration out of trying to find a way how to practice.
    Thank you for being a spiritual mind reader in music. May God continue to bless



    111 Carolyn

    Thank you Jermaine for sending me the 6’P and Yes
    I have been using them. Now that I practice at the same time everyday
    I can see how much I have improved by following the plan. I have organized what
    to practice each day and i am determined to go for the 5 Star Practice, One I read
    in one of your lessons. I am taking it slow, but i am increasing my practice plan each
    day. With your plan I am practicing the right way. Thank you so much, and may God
    Bless, Bless you.


    112 Reney

    This is really true. Thank you for your advices.


    113 Reney

    I will definitely be starting today.
    One love!!!


    114 Larry

    Thanks for this information. I’ve had a lot on my plate this week so the traveling out of town for family untimely funeral. It’s been tough. My spirit has been blessed and now it’s time to get back to business. Thanks for your help.


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