• Repetition is the mother of ______?

    in Self-Improvement

    I’m a big fan of Anthony Robbins, the world’s authority on peak performance and achievement.

    And one of the lines I always hear on his audio programs is…

    “Repetition is the mother of skill.”

    And it’s true.

    If you expect to grasp something by only doing it a few times, you’re going to be sadly disappointed at the results.

    This applies to your music playing, exercising, reading, hobbies, time management — just about anything you can think of.

    On the other hand, however, if you commit to the thing you want to accomplish and support it with repeated action, you will succeed. The person who fails just didn’t try enough… point blank.

    They say it takes at least 21 days of doing something for it to become a habit. Now, whether you agree with the specific number or not, it is undeniable that you must stick with something in order for it to become habitual. Heck, that even applies to negative habits. One who is overweight didn’t get there overnight. One who smokes oneself into lung cancer didn’t get there with one puff. So it goes both ways.

    So the next time you’re tempted to give up, remember that in order for you to birth the skill and mastery that comes at the end of the tunnel, you must endure a moment of pregnancy — then, and only then, will the result emerge. No one desires a premature pregnancy.

    “Repetition is the mother of skill.”

    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.


    { 31 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Keith

    This is the truth. speak!


    2 Thomas a.k.a. Tom Tom 3

    Thank you…Be Blessed!!!!


    3 Ndubuisi

    You are a great and enduring teacher with a great wealth of experience.
    We would have gotten a lot from you but most atimes your great ideas are limited to people within USA
    Continue with your hard work as God will constantly continue to reward you.


    4 Roland

    I’ve spent a lot more than 21 days in trying to memorise Chopin’s Nocturne in C Minor…but still have only 2 pages of it comitted to memory…..arghhhh
    I need a bigger brain!


    5 Jermaine

    Hey Roland! Good point lol!

    I don’t think it means you’ll reach your goal in 21 days. A person who has never trained and just starts will not climb Mount Everest in 21 days. The same is true for someone who hasn’t ran in 10 years and wants to complete a 15 mile marathon.

    I think it’s more to do with the repetition of the same action or skill that starts to become a habit. In the case of Chopin, you’re not doing the same exact thing over and over. It’s a little more complex. Now if you were taking just one manageable section of that and focusing on JUST it for 21 days, then things would be a little different. At least, this is my opinion on it :-)

    Thanks for your comment!

    (You’ve been a member here for more than 21 days. I hope your fingers just automatically type “hearandplay” when you open your browser :o) ).


    6 Roland

    Hehe Jermaine…yes,I do go here every evening to check out what’s happening in the blog. And I guess it’s almost in the fingers.
    I enjoy this because it has an almost live feel to it,and many other players are checking in here too.
    Also the ‘bite size’ things to work on…great idea :-)
    Re: the Chopin challenge. Yes,if I do 4 bars or 8 bars etc. and work only on that,then I can play it fluently and sometimes think about something entirely different.
    But just sitting down cold and do the whole piece,that’s very different.
    Recently I’ve been thinking it just might have to do with: If you can hear it,you can play it!.


    7 Tony

    I just played at a club 2 pieces, one Mendelsson Song Without Words, and two Beethoven Sonata in C minor. I can tell you its taken more than 21 days to get them sounding right, but in bite size bits you can get there. I can play them beautifully at home, to my son, to my girlfriend, so what happens to me when I get in front of 60 or so people. I sweat like a stuck pig, my leg shakes, the nerves get to me and I make mistakes. Frustrating I can tell you!! How do you cope with this, how do you guys do it?


    8 Jermaine

    Hi Tony,

    I know exactly how you feel! And “the best” (at whatever they do) suffer with this as well. Look at Shaq… he can probably make free throws at home after enough repetition, but when it comes to prime time — well, you know the story.

    I think it has to do with the “inner game.” Around friends and family, you’re comfortable and your confidence is high. Much like being in a conversation with people you know but when you get around people you don’t know (or you think are at a high level than you), that same confidence and “flow” goes out the window.

    Getting pumped up and into an “alter ego” helps. Have you ever told yourself that you’re going to be really pumped, energetic, and alive at a particular event? And it seems like just that moment of prepping worked and you were just as upbeat as you wanted to be? (Even around the “uncomfortable” crowd???) I think it’s the same way before you sit down and perform. Be affirmative. Tell yourself that you are the BEST and that the people aren’t even ready for what you have to offer. And that you’re about to go out and play the best you’ve ever played. Smile… get psyched and go do it!

    There’s a guy by the name of Maxwell Maltz. I like his stuff. It’s called “psycho-cybernetics.” He talks about turning your mind into a theater and actually performing in your mind (using your imagination). It’s how some of the best athletes have gotten so far. They actually practice jump shots and free throws in their mind prior to the actual game. Pianists can practice and rehearse in their mind too. They can imagine themselves ‘wowing’ a crowd. They can imagine themselves making no mistakes. And the thing is — the subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between imagination and reality. That’s why dreams/nightmares seem so real (heck, they ARE real to the mind when you’re dreaming)… that’s how the mind works. So that’s another thing you can do.

    I hope I’m not getting too “out there.” I hope any of this info helps Tony.



    9 Roland

    Wow,incredible that you mention (and nobody has,that I have heard anyway) after all this time: Maxwell Maltz,“Psycho-Cybernetics.”
    A g/f recommended it,and I read it in the 60’s or very early 70’s,and it made quite an impression on me.
    I need to find a new copy and read it again.
    Yes,memorising in chunks works well.
    I used to have the notion that: “Why strain your brain and memorise if you can learn to read well”?
    Haha…it seems crazy to me now.
    At the beginning of this year I flipped it upside down totally.
    I decided to take one piece that was worthwhile to really know,and start memorising it instead.
    And memorise everything..fingering,dynamics,etc.
    After doing it for this long,I now I have the opinion: “If I can’t play it without the sheet music it’s not worth playing”.
    And now I’m always glad to get away from any sheet music asap.
    I’m 60 now and never been training that particular part of memory,but I’ve noticed awesome results.
    One important thing I’ve learned,is to trust my own ear and knowledge…which I didn’t do before.


    10 Tony

    I thank you Germaine for your reply. I definitely will look into Maltz. I go over and over the playing of my set pieces in my mind prior to our monthly club meet, and lose more than just a few nights sleep as well! but imagining and going over it in my mind definitely helps. I learnt classically so my sight reading is excellent, but that means I rely on the sheet music in front of me, and I just freeze when its not there even if I memorize. Go figure! Moving into learning chords and patterns really pushes my envelope and out of my comfort zone. Its like a complete paradigm shift in the way I play and think about my music and for the first time I realise that I am actually listening to what I play instead of just technically playing the correct notes.


    11 Peter H.

    Yeah, thats so true.
    I just found out that in order to know if something works or if you really can archieve something, you have to make sure you do it consistently, for a specific time, in a specific setting. When you’re done with that and still didn’t make any progress, ONLY THEN you can be sure it doesn’t work (for you). But even then you are successful either way, because you never gave up and in the end you have a clear result.

    I think that this is an important scientific method we can all profit from. In the past I always wanted to archieve something and in the middle of the process I gave up on it, because of some pseudo-“rational” matter. Later on, as I began to make plans and consistently worked on them there were still doubts that they’d really work. This time, however, I said to myself “just hold on to it until the end of the deadline, only then decide what to do next!” and it seemed that my doubts were only some kind of excuses that I was tired doing the same stuff over and over again and it felt great when I saw the progress I made in the end which I was so doubtful about!


    12 Rogério Celestina Cabongo

    hi, I am Mr. Rogério Celestina Cabongo , I am very happy since I find hearandplay . The first thing I did ; I bought Secrets To Playing Piano By Ear,Hear and Play Chord 101, Hear and Play Chords 102,GospelKeys 101, GospelKeys 202,GospelKeys 300,
    GospelKeys 500 all those matirials gave me a solide fundation in my practice. Now read, write and play very well. peoples stonish when the see me playing. I understand the numbers system and the 4 chords:

    You can also use the numbers 1 – 7 to form more advanced chords. Here is a list of some of the more advanced chords, along with their numbers that you can form.
    Chord Numbers
    Major 1 – 3 – 5
    Minor 1 – b3 – 5
    Augmented 1 – 3 – #5
    Diminished 1 – b3 – b5
    Major 7 1 – 3 – 5 – 7
    Dominant 7 1 – 3 – 5 – b7
    Minor 7 1 – b3 – 5 – b7
    Half-Diminished 7 1 – b3 – b5 – b7
    Diminished 7 1 – b3 – b5 – bb7
    All the knowledge I got it from Teacher Jermain G.
    after also I started to learn with Teacher Charley Wyser concerning:

    I bought some DVD program, from Teacher Charley Wyser “30 Ways To Play The Blues”, help me do this.

    In “30 Ways To Play The Blues”, you will learn: – How to take a simple 12 Bar Blues progression and play it 30 different ways
    – How to incorporate advanced chords such as 6ths, 7ths, 9ths, 11ths, 13ths, and altered chords
    – How to play in 1 key, so that you can concentrate, understand and master the concept
    – How to incorporate chords from almost all 12 keys into the key you are playing in
    – How to substitute 1 or more chords in place of others
    – How to naturally hear over time, chord voicings leading from one to another, based on sound
    – How to instantly look up chords in two books that come with the program
    – And much more .

    Knowledge and Experience.

    In this course, The Composers Series, I will give you the Knowledge to create your own tunes. I will expose you to material that normally takes many musicians years to learn. If you currently take, or have taken private piano lessons, learning all of this material may take forever, if in fact you even learn it at all.

    Knowledge and Experience.

    In this course, The Composers Series, I got the Knowledge to create my own tunes. The teacher expose me to material that normally takes many musicians years to learn. If you currently take, or have taken private piano lessons, learning all of this material may take forever, if in fact you even learn it at all.

    Now I have a solide fundation than before,

    Thank you,

    Mr Rogério celestina cabongo from Angola / Luanda / Africa.


    13 Game On

    Yes its true and i also often find that many times in the past just before i felt like giving up on practising my keyboard this one time and i don,t i just keep going on i make the little but important break through i have been wating for for so long.Because they are it turns out lots of little but important discoveries to be made in succession which could so easily have been missed but they will lead you on to the next one and i practise i learn something important that made it so more worthwhile.Yes learning to be a musician turns out to be a bit of a game and you never know whats new and waiting round the corner in this lovely game of learning to play music.


    14 sylburn

    Thisis a very true statement. In my full time job of teaching music students to play especially by ear this is their biggest challenge. Most want the baby but not the pregnancy. This is why I love hear and play. It is my biggest resource.


    15 Joseph Shonga

    Hello Jermaine,
    I thank you for the statement it is working for me I started by giving myself targets. Targets includes time, I run major scales in 12 keys in 12minutes 1- 4octaves @ 200bpm with correct fingering but to tell you the truth it has taken over 21days. I am sinking my self in fundamentals then to other areas and it is working.
    Joseph Shonga.


    16 Terry Outlaw

    True that my brother!!


    17 Josh

    Thanks for the information its good to hear such talks at the start of the year like this.
    May God richly bless you and your family.


    18 merlie galagate

    wow.. i missed this


    19 Lynn

    Thanks for the information. Repetition is the mother of skill.


    20 Berneice Dycks

    Repetition is the mother of skill. It is true. Thanks for sharing.


    21 FREDDIE



    22 gary royston

    Well I’ve read alot of comments on here and all is true. Through bad habits I am struggling with alot of different things with my music and I’ve learned in the last 6 months or so it’s better to break every song up in phases. This has helped me tremendously with of course all the great information I receive from you blessed and anointed site. I love the quote, its so very true. Here’s one that have moved me further in music that came from my granddad, in anything you want to accomplish set your goals high because even if you dont reach them you’ve still gained ground. Jermaine im about to invest deeply into your ministry because everything I’ve received from you has been a complete help. Even the article that reminded me not to be scared when the seasoned musicians are on the scene…. Very encouraging.


    23 www.youtube.com

    My top advice this year is: Don’t go for the obvious and don’t make
    false economies. She will always smell just the way
    you like and she will be very happy to think that you always remember
    what she likes. A cheap Christmas gift that takes time, thought and
    effort is often the best present you can give.


    24 Jires

    That’s true Jermaine


    25 jean watson

    hey jermaine
    thanks for that sometimes we need a little encouragment , and alittle mortivation to reach that goal stay bless


    26 johnson

    Thanks JERMAINE


    27 Tosin

    Sir, you’ve been a source of inspiration to me, I appreciate you sir. But would need help from you sir as I am still lacking behind sir.


    28 Sharon Fisher

    Hi Mr. Jermaine,
    Thank You for reminding me to take it one step at a time. Sometime I can get overwhelmed also trying to master the chords. By reading the others comments. it’s make me see that I’m not the only one. I do understand that repetition is the key to mastering anything. Also thank you for the time you spent of the 16 weeks of chords, I copied them all. I will continue to study for I am encourage to do so.

    Thank You and your staff for your faithfulness to us.


    29 Daniel

    Wonderful message from you Mr. Germaine! Thank you for this.


    30 Les

    Hi Jermaine, I think you will find this book interesting. “The Talent code: Greatness isn’t born. It’s grown” by Daniel Coyle.
    In his research into building skill he has found that every human skill is created by chains of nerve fibers carrying a tiny electrical impulse – basically, a signal traveling through a circuit. Myelin, a neural insulator, is used to wrap those fibers in the same way that rubber insulation wraps a copper wire, making the signal stronger and faster by preventing the electrical impulses from leaking out. When we fire our circuits in the right way – by playing that note – our myelin responds by wrapping a layer of insulation around that neural circuit, each layer adding a bit more skill and speed. The thicker the myelin gets, the better it insulates, and the faster and more accurate our movements and thoughts become.
    He goes on to say, “Skill is a cellular insulation that wraps neural circuits and that grows in response to certain signals.” The more time and energy you put into the right kind of practice, firing the right signals through your circuits, the more skill you get, or in other words the more myelin you lay down.
    Dr George Bartzokis, a UCLA neurologist and myelin researcher, put it, “All skills, all language, all music, all movements, are made of living circuits, and all circuits grow according to certain rules.”
    So for Hear and play, if you watch JP’s video tutorial on playing the F major scale, he breaks it down into small movements, such as thumb under and repeats them. This grows the myelin and the skill is built.


    31 Carolyn

    Thanks Jermaine. Repetition Is the
    mother of skill. God bless you for everything you share.


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