• “Initiative! Now that’s what I’m talking about”

    in Self-Improvement

    A couple days ago, I wrote about the “Michael Jordan Method To Music Mastery.” I recommend you go check it out.

    But in it, I introduced a concept from Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Outliers” which asserts that it takes about “10,000 hours to master a skill.”

    I got some really good feedback both via the comments and e-mail. But one of my favorites came from J.R. Massey:

    Great motivating article!!! I did some number crunching and found out:

    a. 10,000 hours divided by 1 hour/day = 27 1/3 years
    b. 10,000 hours divided by 3 hours/day = 9 years
    c. 10,000 hours divided by 6 hours/day = 4 1/2 years
    d. 10,000 hours divided by 12 hours/day = 2 1/3 years

    All this says to me is that mastery can be achieved, depending upon your dedication to the task at hand!!! Thanks Jermaine!! Yah bless!!

    Question to everyone: How many people actually took that stat to heart and calculated the years like J.R. Massey? How many took the time to think about it like this?

    And that is my point today…

    Most won’t take action and do what it takes to succeed at their passions. Only the dedicated few. J.R. Massey seems to be in that group.

    And from studying some of the best self-taught musicians in the world, I’ve discovered they all have these things in common:

    • Drive
    • Determination
    • Discipline
    • Commitment
    • Curiosity
    • Passion
    • Patience
    • Persistence

    They aren’t necessarily the smartest people alive. Probably got mediocre grades. No chart-topping I.Q.’s. Some illiterate.

    But they go the extra mile. They do the things others aren’t willing. While others are playing, they’re working. While others are watching Kobe live his dreams on the court, they’re busy making their own dreams come true.

    I heard of Jairus, the master guitarist I introduced you to a couple years ago, doing 1,000 repetitions of a run until he got it right. Have you done 50 repetitions of one thing?

    A mentor of mine says it best: “Get everything you can out of all that you’ve got!”

    Until next time,


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    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.



    { 2 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Chris Johnson

    What’s up Jermaine!

    I hope this inspires people to keep going when the times get tough….. Don’t get discouraged and even if you do, which I’m sure will happen at some some point, keep pushing and things will click….

    I garuantee it.

    Great news! I can finally find the key of a song now. And guess what…. I only use the ‘minor chord trick’ to confirm…..

    In the beginning, I was using it to try to find the key or at least get in the ballpark. I didn’t realize how bad my ear was! I’ve always had the ability to predict chord progressions (relatively) when I’m listening to a song in the car or at home, whatever…. You know by humming it. But when it came to actually pinpointing what the true key was, that was a different story!

    Melody on the other hand (top and bottom ‘the bass’) is my weakness right now and it’s what I’m focusing on hearing in songs. Since I feel pretty comfortable with chords, once I can hear what’s going on with the melodies, I’ll be layering chords over those melodies or vise versa with the best of em!

    But back to finding the key. I’m happy to say those days of struggling to find it are over. Some songs take longer than others, but gone are the days when it literally took 15 minutes or more just to get close or spending too much time on it and never finding the key at all!

    Now all of my hardwork in Fundamental Fluency, Chordal Command & Pattern Proficiency can be used with purpose.

    I’m at a point now where I feel like my ear needs to catch up with my knowledge. I just started studying both Song Solidity and Ear Efficiency kind of at the same time. So I think I’m right where I need to be.

    On a side note… I was making a track last week with a partner of mine who I make R&B and Hip Hop tracks with and he asked me…. “How do I play the white keys with the black keys?”

    He comes from a sampling background so he doesn’t know anything about music theory and like most of us when we first start playing the keyboard, I’ve noticed that for some reason we tend to gravitate to the ‘black’ keys.

    I smiled inside and thought to myself.. “What a loaded question that is….” “How do play the white keys with the black keys?”

    But I told him it’s all about knowing your scales. I showed him the C Major scale and told him you can do the same thing with the other 11 keys…… And I played them all in a matter of seconds and he was like… Wow…. That’s what’s up!

    All I heard in my head when he asked me that question was…

    “If you now Major, you know Minor..” :)

    Also, my partner is so impressed now when I’m testing out chord progressions. Shoot I impress myself now too. :) At one point I really thought I would be stuck in ‘diatonic’ land forever! LOL!

    I wish I could use “Pitch” but I don’t have a PC anymore. Went to the MAC side over a year ago. But there are programs out there for the MAC and maybe I’ll invest. But I did get a taste of “Pitch’ when I had my PC so I now how it works and what it can do. Used it for about month actually. It did get a little boring but I’m sure all of that repitition helped my ear.

    But by simply listening to songs and trying to pick them apart is very good training in itself.


    I knew I couldn’t progress further until I could find the key of songs. It wasn’t easy for me but I did have my breakthrough about two weeks ago! And when you realize how easy it can be, you wonder why it took you so long to get it?

    Practice, practice, practice!!!

    Doesn’t matter how long it takes you to get there…. Just get there!

    Again, I hope my progress inspires others…. My passion to understand music theory as it relates to the keyboard runs real deep. My Musician Transformation is almost complete. What a journey this has been so far….. Your teachings have improved my theory knowledge so much…. It’s really unbeleiveable at times.

    I’m in the trenches now… When my ear catches up to my knowledge the transformation will be complete and don’t think that time is that far away….. Everytime I think I’ve hit that ‘wall’ something clicks and pushes me farther into the world of understand music. And it’s all because I didn’t give up and kept pushing!

    Check in with you later Jermaine…

    God Bless



    2 Williams Sze

    I conceive this site holds some real excellent info for everyone :D. “Heat cannot be separated from fire, or beauty from The Eternal.” by Alighieri Dante.


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