• The Michael Jordan Method To Music Mastery

    in Piano

    It surprises me the number of people married to their own “Cant’s.”

    More surprising, the fact that most have not really given the endeavor even the MINIMUM amount of time required for growth, let alone mastery.

    Malcolm Gladwell, in his book, “Outliers,” talks about the 10,000 hour rule. Summed up, it takes 10,000 hours to get really good at something.

    And when I look at all the master musicians I’ve had the opportunity to work with, introduce you to, observe, it’s undeniable they found a way to put in those hours.

    It’s not unlikely to hear of them shutting themselves in a room for 7 or 8 hours a day… playing until hands collapse… repeating ONE lick for an entire hour, non-stop… executing and re-excuting something until it’s clean. And this is just a starter list.

    I’ve heard stories of Michael Jordan practicing the same shot until he made it X times in a row, having to reset and start all over if he missed just ONE shot.

    Say your “X” was 100. That means if you shot 97 successful shots but missed your 98th, you’d have to start over at ZERO… nada… zilch. Most couldn’t hang. Most won’t.

    Heck, forget about 100. It’s extremely hard to do a fraction of that — 25 perfect repetitions.

    If you’re not seeing how this relates to music, you’ve already missed the boat.

    Want to learn a fast run, or lick, or complicated chord progression?

    Follow these steps and the only way you won’t succeed is if you’re still married to your “Cant’s.” I decree a divorce! :-)

    1) Whatever you’re trying to master, SLOW IT DOWN until you can do it perfectly.

    This is so simple, yet I observe so many musicians trying to learn something at full tempo, expecting to get it in a few iterations. It ain’t happenin’.

    Slow it down to 50% of actual speed, 25%, even 10% if you have to.

    The point is accuracy and precision. Muscle memory involves doing the same movement the same way. If you haven’t taken the time to slow it down, you’re probably fumbling over the notes each time and not developing a consistent pattern your brain can memorize and communicate to your muscles.

    I get questions all the time about fingering and while fingering is extremely important, consistency trumps it. You can pick the wrong fingering and still be a master because you’ve trained yourself to do it the same way EVERY TIME.

    You’ve probably heard of the “Turtle vs Hare” story. The race isn’t given to the swift, but to the one who endures until the end.

    2) Play the game – Pick a number and stick to it

    This one is about discipline and self-integrity.

    Because the number is arbitrary and self-imposed, the temptation to stop when you want is certainly there.

    I’m not saying start with 100 (because that’s extremely difficult), but whatever you pick – STICK TO IT.

    If you pick 15 “PERFECT” iterations, then that’s your number and you ought not get up until you’ve done it 15 perfect times at whatever speed necessary.

    What will happen is you’ll probably end up having to start over more than 15 times, causing your total repetitions to be well into the hundreds.

    And it’s a catch 22 because if you’re not having to start over a lot, you’ve probably mastered the material at the given tempo and need to increase it. If you’re at 100% tempo and you’ve hit your number, either increase the number or call this one “MASTERED” and move on to new material.

    3) Keep score

    There’s nothing like keeping score.

    There’s this theory called the “Hawthorne Effect” that basically says when a group of subjects know they’re being studied (either by researcher or management or anything), the behavior being observed and measured IMPROVES.

    Often times it doesn’t even have anything to do with the new policy or experimentation at hand. Just the fact they know they’re being measured causes change.

    When you keep score of your victories (and even woes), the same is true in my opinion.

    So keep a journal of what you’ve mastered, how many repetitions, and how long it took. If you’ve succumbed to the temptation to get up prematurely, also record those woes.

    If you really embrace these tips, you’ll see breakthrough, game-changing results. I’d like to hear from you below. Let me know what you think.

    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.


    { 144 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Chris Johnson

    Great information Jermaine as usual. Thank you as always for taking the time to share your knowledge, procedures and thoughts. It really does help.



    2 Charles

    Thank you kindly for this information. I just finished practicing a song I’ve known all my life. But I kept fumbling the same part over and over. So finally, I said enough is enough. I practiced those measures over and over until I was finally satisfiled. I did not keep a log but it was at least 10 to 12 times.


    3 Kaye

    I saw the title of this post and went nuts because I just picked up a copy of Outliers hoping to apply some of the things I learned from it to become a more focused and skilled musician. I highly recommend this book. Great article!


    4 Marda

    True, this speed (or slowing of speed) is so critical it can not be over emphasized. I am a music teacher as well as a performer and I know I have to discipline myself to take it slow and steady and go for accuracy first before speed can enter into it. Learning something wrong and then having to re-learn it can take more than twice the time you put into it initially. It’s hard to teach kids that though. As with our society in general, people seem to want to go for instant gratification. But if you put in the hours, a little at a time, it can be so, so worth it!

    The other thing with speed or tempo is that it always affects not only the pitches of the notes played or sung but the rhythm as well. When I get transfer students from other teachers, the three biggest problems I see are rapid and inaccurate playing, incorrect rhythm and lack of music reading fluency and theory understanding. If there isn’t a good foundation, built slowly and carefully, there will be a breakdown later; it’s pretty much inevitable.


    5 Angelo Millan

    Marda…..I just wanna say…well said !!.


    6 robhem

    This information is good and I once herd a saying that says “The only place that success comes before work it is in the dictionary”.

    Thanks for the information and keep on doing what your doing.


    7 Chris

    I like this because I think I’m not very good because I have to practice so much to get it perfect. This made me feel like that is what is necessary for great musicians also.
    Thanks for keeping me motivated and helping me not to give up for lack of “natural” talent.


    8 sunfly

    Yes the 10,000 hour rule is true of that i,m sure and progress is slow but thorough.Musicians like all masters of their chosen pursuit are a special breed.Some would say not normal but thats the only way to master whatever you choose to pursue.Single minded and determined you certainly have to be.How many great musicians chose to learn their chosen instrument putting it before all other distractions that came every day in modern life.The numbers each year must surely be dwindling.But as long as there is at least one that achieves their goal others will follow the dream.Enjoy


    9 Marc

    That’s real


    10 Words of Wisdom

    There is an old saying, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.


    11 willie parsee


    This is sage and critical advice. I must confess that I underestimated you and your intentions.I will not make that mistake again.May God Bless You!


    12 Bill Zibell

    Jermaine; Speaking of slowing down to get it right, I am new student (78 yrs old)and still working on my 1st monthly lesson. I have worked hard to grasp the circle of 5ths and learn the 6-2-5-1 in about half the major keys. However, I would like to ask if you could delay lesson #2 as I need more time to finish lesson #1. If it is too late to hold off on #2, then maybe you slow down #3 by one month. I’m making good progress and really like the Michael Jordan analogy.
    Learning the piano has been one of my passions for years so I “Aint giving UP”
    Bill Zibell
    Hollywood, Fl


    13 Frederick Somerville

    Hang in there Bill Zibell.

    I started seriously with the organ at the age of 47 – now are three years of grinding and playing things are starting to fall in place. Things that was hard suddenly is quite easy and music is starting to flow.

    Go out and play live is also a good way to grow. Don´t think about it just do it.

    Regrads Frederick


    14 Jacquetta

    Mr. Zibell you are an encourage to me all by yourself. I’m a beginner also myself, and have been with hearandplay for a little over a year now. I’ve been going very slow, and lots of things has been getting in my way of my practicing. I feel I should have been playing pretty good by now. My problem is somewhat like the ones being mentioned about not really practicing the right way, causing me to start over so many times. It has slowed me way down. I’m 51, and was thinking maybe it was to late for me to learn any thing.

    I see I was wrong. Just reading your comment gave me encouragement and made me want to push myself just a little harder at my dream. I’ve had a passion to play the piano for years, and my mom always tried to encourage me to learn and not stop because I didn’t know how. She’s no longer with us anymore, but her spirit is still with me. Long as the good Lord let me live I will continue to struggle for my dream and hers. Just like you Bill, I’ve made up my mind not to give up anymore. Stay strong, and committed I know you’ll reach your dream.
    God Bless !!!!!!!!


    15 Miriam Tierno

    I believe that practicing births perfeysction. I also know that if you don’t know what, how or the sequence of what you are studying, you can get lost, tired and lose interest. A good start is very important in music. This is why so many students get discouraged and quit. This happened to me a few times and I lost so many years.
    This is why I recommend the methods that Hear and Play has to offer. Get started on the right Track and then put it to practice. You are not left to swim on your own when you hook up with Hear and Play. They have so many resources and so much support.



    16 Miriam Tierno

    I believe that practicing births perfection. I also know that if you don’t know what, how or the sequence of what you are studying, you can get lost, tired and lose interest. A good start is very important in music. This is why so many students get discouraged and quit. This happened to me a few times and I lost so many years.
    This is why I recommend the methods that Hear and Play has to offer. Get started on the right Track and then put it to practice. You are not left to swim on your own when you hook up with Hear and Play. They have so many resources and so much support.



    17 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!!


    18 Jermaine

    @J.R. Massey – Nice work. In fact, in the book Malcolm says master comes in about a good 10 years. But as you’ve pointed out, you can speed up the process by putting in my work. And that’s what I notice about the master players — in their early days, they put in 5 and 6 hours (or more) per day. according to your chart, that gives you mastery in 4 years. Imagine 8 hours a day? Then factor in natural talent for the task.

    All the best,


    19 Marlon

    Yeah, this really is a great way to master playing and improving your skills. I can remember when I was learning the fill-in to the praise song Holy Ghost Power and I kept repeating it over and over until i finally learned it. I practice the fill-in so many times that Fiancee came in the room and said “Baby, now im getting tired of hearing the same run”. Lol. Who figured, while it was practice to me it was nerve wrecking to her.


    20 Jermaine Griggs

    Yes Yes yes! If your spouse is complaining of you repeating something too much, that’s EXACTLY what you want! :-) I’ll call that the “Spouse Complaint Method” next.


    21 Brian

    What you have to say is spot on and it applies to everything you do in life. Coach Wooden never told his players to win just play to the best of their abilities and the rest will take care of itself. It is the small things that we can master and be proficient at that add up. Keeping score with a journel will add to your effort that you put into the exercise. Knowing that you have to answer to the written page will cause you to be more focused and to do a little everyday. The 10000 hours is probably about right. That would be five years on the job 40 hours a week.


    22 C.L. Wright

    Thanks a lot for the valuable information. You know, it is said that, Knowledge is Power, so you’ve just handed us a lot of power. I also want to thank one of our fellow subscribers, J.R. Massey for the number crunching. I’ve got to start working on my 10,000 hours. God bless, and keep the knowledge coming Jermaine.


    23 Obinna Peter

    With all due respect, i would like to sincerely appreciate you Jermaine Griggs, for the AWESOME transformation that you’ve brought to people like me musically and even more in your teaching methology. Am a great partaker of it 100%. Infact, am over whelmed.
    Everyday, i see new reasons to push for more… You’re a great professional indeed bless.
    My warm regards to the family!


    24 Neal

    Cool article Jermaine. Very solid point you’re making. One of my first teachers always used to tell me that if I wanted to play something fast, start slow.

    When I went to a clinic by Michael Brecker (RIP) at the Reno Jazz Festival in 2003 he talked about how he practiced about 8 hours a day. I have met other masters of the saxophone who still put in crazy amounts of practice hours.

    Some people don’t understand this dedication after such a high level of musicianship is already attained, since they’re already ‘masters’. But I think real masters enjoy the process and it’s more of a journey. “Mastery” isn’t so much a destination as a point along the path.



    25 Jermaine Griggs

    Hey neal, great points. You are absolutely right.

    On another note, how do you get your pic to show up. I’m pretty techie but I can’t seem to figure that out, seeing that I don’t have a spot for photos. Does it have something to do with having a wordpress.com account and anywhere they notice your e-mail on blogs, they insert your pic?


    26 Neal

    Hey Jermaine,

    I think it’s actually done through ‘gravatar’ (globally recognized avatar). It’s associated with my email address. If you sign up there you upload a pic and it follows you throughout the web. Pretty convenient.

    Wordpress has a similar sort of thing going on, but it’s not for as many sites as gravatar I belive.



    27 Jermaine Griggs

    Thanks Neal!


    28 Elton

    This awesome information. I really like this info. I play golf and sometimes I practice for an Hour or two per session. If I apply just this much time playing on the piano, I would be a better player. THIS IS AWESOME. God bless you


    29 Sheila

    This was very encouraging. I notice that I stop practicing way too soon. I have noticed that the muscles to seem to remember on their own how to play a song when I practice over and over. Great instruction.


    30 Jermaine Griggs

    Yes, good old “muscle memory” at work. Repetition is the mother of skill!


    31 darwin

    Thank you so much about this information… I try my best to keep practice…
    once again thank you and god bless you and your family….


    32 Carolyn

    You’ve reminded me to slow down. I want to know it NOW and need to realize it takes time and repetition, something I have to make myself do more. And slowing down the tempo really does help. Sticking to one thing until I master it is also key. Thanks for the helpful tip!


    33 Jacquetta

    Hi Jermaine,
    I know you don’t hear from me a lot, but I think all your materials help us all in so many ways. The Michael Jordan Mastery makes perfect sence to me. I use to play basketball back in the day and I had to shoot for starters, maybe about 50 free throws in a row without stopping and hit them, and if I missed I would have to start over until I got it right. By the time I finished I was the best shooter on the team. So whenever they needed someone to shoot the free throws on a tech I was called in to take the shot.

    So I understand what your talking about, doing it over, and over until you get it masered. I tell you, if I can get my music down like I had my game down in the day I know I’ll be a great musician one day. In school my passion was basketball, and now for a long time my passion has been to play the piano. I have a long ways to go, but I’m still here. Thank you for all you do, and I’m not giving up. Your are blessed and highly favored in God’s eyes, and man’s.
    God Bless!!!!!!!!


    34 Jacqueline

    Thanks Jermaine – that is just confirmation : I have to study for a psychology exame and was playing around in my mind about how to study for terms i need… repetition with a number!!! By the way it’s a good way to memorize bible scriptures!!! Thanks Bro.


    35 Jermaine Griggs

    Glad it helped Jacqueline! Being in psychology, you must know all about “incubation” — it happens in music too. The growth doesn’t necessarily happen when you’re at the piano… but after a really good session as described above, when you get up from the piano and in between practice sessions is where the growth will occur. Then when you sit back down the next day, you’re able to do with ease (or at least easier) what had you frustrated in the past. So keep up the great work.


    36 gabriel

    tnx alot.i’ll alwaes keep at it


    37 robert skyers

    master jermaine, this is so true about taking it slow, it is like learning to ride a bycicle, the slower you go at frist the more you feal the balance, like learning to drive a stick shift motor car,the slower you go the better you get controle, wnen you get balance and controle them you can go fast ,as for the 10,000 hours practice is a must if we must get the mission accomplished, in addation i was told, when your in practice, if you rest you will rust,if you rust you will be put to rest
    master jermaine, thanks on behalf of us musician we know your heart ,and how you love the music as we do, keep on doing what you do best
    all things shall perish from under the
    sun music alone shall live,


    38 Jermaine Griggs

    Thanks for your kind comments Robert and great insights here. You are absolutely right.

    Keep up the great work,


    39 obert

    wow! very interesting


    40 King David

    This is absolutely real! It takes a gradual step to make a rapid step.
    It’s not magic!


    41 junior

    Gret staff. I’ll surely look into my hourly plan


    42 Angelo Millan

    I dont know how you come up with these short tales of TRUTH Mr. Griggs but I must say… I like it!!. Somehow you take the myth and dissolove it till your new potion is “FACT” and Bamm-whaala! There we are learnin that there is no way around patience and studying feverishly, and that good things will happen because of it!!. Thanks for the inspiration Amigo!!. East Coast Pennsylvania!!!


    43 Nei Love

    Germaine: I really appreciate the stories you tell and the lessons you pass on for free.
    You are entirely correct about expecting too much too soon. To master piano takes dedication and patience . Many assume that the masterful technique comes easily, and if you have a mastery you are “gifted”. The gift comes from staying focussed and not giving up. Thanks for all you do to encourage us.
    God Bless you


    44 Ronald

    Jermaine I agree with you totally. That is what I teach my students and that is how I get the success rate of a 100%. In fact after I read the book called 110% Solution by McCormack it helped me get the results I was looking for. I make sure all my students get a distinction in their music and other exams by teaching them the method you mentioned. It works I know it from experience. And one learns these tips only from experience. You should try reading my book called “Mind Over Finger” which you can order online. Just Google Mind Over Finger by Ronald Laloo. It can give you tips on how to learn scales. God Bless.


    45 Jermaine Griggs

    Hey Ronald, thanks for your comments. I just ordered both. Looking forward to yours and the 110% solution audio program.

    All the best,


    46 Linda

    Thank you so much for the article, I first ordered hear and play materials Aug 2007 and I am no further along than when I started which is because I haven’t put in the time, dedication and pracatice into playing. I have a friend who has been helping me practice and she will stay with me until I get it right and she only takes a small section at a time. I didn’t understand at first, but now that you have sent this article I fully understand why she stays on me and why repetition is important and why so many musicians are able to play flawlessly. I feel like a babe who’s still on milk , But I have to progress if I’m going to be able to accept meat. Thank you for always checking in to see how my playing is I really need the push !!
    Continue to let your light shine before men, so that they may see the works that you do and praise your Father in heaven.


    47 Annette

    Thanks for the reminder!! I needed that and it was encouragingly put. I used to tell my students that they had to play thru a piece until they had gone thru the entire thing at least once with no mistakes, if they made a mistake put a mark there and start over and next time try to get farther—I forgot my own advice but will now go and implement it into my own life.


    48 Linton Dawson

    Hey Jamaine, My lawyer told me that we can’t go forward with my lawsuit because
    you are on the money !!!!!!! U R Great Man….

    Linton Dawson
    Dr. Dee


    49 Helena Mc Guinness



    50 Martha Rogers+

    great, like this . If it’s ok I’m sharing this with my grandson. Can’t seem to be one of his favorite words.


    51 Joan

    Hi Jermaine
    I think this is great advice; the Michael Jordan method can be applied to any goal. If only I can apply to my music I know that I will go places. Getting there slowly but surely.


    52 Susan Champion

    Hi Jermaine,

    Thank you for this valuable information and advice. I start doing it right now!
    Sometimes, I am a bit rushed into it but after reading this article, it gives me an idea. Repetition is boring but it leads to success, for sure!


    53 winer destin

    Very good information ,thank you Jermaine ! may God bless you…!


    54 Barbie

    Thanks for the tips, they are always appreciated & acted upon.


    55 Eresmas from Kenya

    Jermaine, thanks once again man. Looks like 10,000 hrs is a lot of time but it can be done. Good thing is, i’ve already dome a fraction of the 10,000, just don’t know how many more to go, but as others have commented above, There’s no quitting.


    56 Jaelynn

    Hey, really well written words there. That story just motivated me to get up and have a goal, journal my activities, and be persistent. As usual, great job Jermaine! I feel now I can achieve anything I put my mind to it as long as I stay divorced to “Can’t” no matter how attractive and nice is seems. Thanks Jermaine! Have a blessed day!!


    57 Sonia

    Thanks Jermaine for this tip. This is one of my problem, I tend to give up easily. I have been stuck at intermediate for years now and really want to move on. I have not really taken my time to practise every day. Sometimes for days end I do nothing but think about it. I will take this advice and start to go over until I get it.

    Thanks a lot. God bless you.



    58 Judy

    Thanks again for another great article!!!! I am always encourged every time I read one. I know now that I need to practice practice practice,and not to give up just because I may feel I am slow at learning. But I truly love to practice and play. Thanks again Jermaine and God bless you for all the good deeds you do.


    59 tonie linson

    I really enjoyed reading the michael jordan method. I think I am in a hurry to get where i want to be. I have been playing for churches for a long time and I know what I want to sound like, what I want to play like. I don’t know if anyone will agree with me but I think that fear has taken over. The way I have taught myself how to play is hard to break. When I sit down or think about listening to the audio CDs it seems that fear overcomes me and I don’t do what I am supposed to do BUT today, I promised myself that fear wouldl no longer have a hold on me. I sat down and I listened to the CD for beginners. I really listened, took notes, reverse, reverse, wrote notes on the sides of my paper. I listened to the major scales, how to find the scales that came next using fourths. I know that it is going to take time for me to learn how to develop chords, chord patterns, number system but taking time and much practice I know I can accomplish all that I want to do. I do appreciate piano by ear on line that I can see and hear as I plan for the day when Youl can introduce me as one of your clients that has made the most important move of all, I will be able to play as well as youl Mr. Jermaine lol. Thanks


    60 Sonia

    Thanks very much for this encouragement. I am going to be putting it into practice.
    God bless you. Thanks for not giving up on me.


    61 Tolu

    I always feel revival in me anytime i read your post.. Thanks for taking your time to do this.. You’re help someone..


    62 Trevon adams

    That so true about the 10000 hours. I will def conti us practicing cuz school and work have gotten most of my time


    63 Theresa

    Jermaine, Thank you so much for that post..I really needed that as I tend to want to give up after trying what I feel is “one too many times”. I felt like there were just not enough hours in a day but when you put in perspective as “10,000 hours”, it gives me something more tangible and therefore set my goals accordingly. You are an exceptional teacher and a true gift from God. Thanks again, Theresa.


    64 Fred M

    I taught myself to play flute/sax and read music. It’s been an on and off thing for 35 + yrs. I have been working much harder the last couple years. I am working on sight reading a lot. It is tough. I have to play very slowly to get accurate. Sometimes it all seems impossible! Like I’ll never pick up speed, ever. But I guess I have made becoming a good sight reader my obsession. I do not care if I sound like one of the many great sax men out there , I just want to find and develope my own sound and play like ME ! And, to be able to play a score, at speed with a group, without fumbling around the first time through, if the occasion comes around.
    I find a lot of inspiration with Jermain et al. Learning about the piano and how chords are made has helped me in my improvisation. It helps me to play with a knowledge of just what’s going on in the tune. Thanks J


    65 Marilyn D.

    Hi Jermaine, I thank God for showing me your really great website for teaching musicians while I surfed the web. I really needed all you have shown and taught me. It has really gotten easier to comprehend and play music. I want to thank Michael Jordan for sharing also.


    66 David Chura

    Brilliantly put!
    This article reminds me of my own quest!
    We have you might say put in 33 years of finding ways that will not produce CMA energy.
    So that means we still have an open door! And we will find the answers to societies biggest energy crisis!
    God love’s an honest and persistent hard working person. Keep up your challenge and one shall succeed
    We know we will succeed!


    67 Jacob

    This is an “article” of motivation. If you want to pick up pieces(music) . You have to stay focus, have a flexible schedule, constantly make changes and move on until success convene. A very good article. Keep up the good work, keep sharing new ” Knowledge. Jacob



    up to today i was thinking i realy need to spend alot more time on my key board an perfect one thing at a time bro then i came on line an u my friend just secound it bro an i love ur method bro an it true what u said in ur method bro an again i thank GOD for u bro.


    69 Elton

    Very inspiring. I deeply appreciate it. I will try out the method and keep you informed.


    70 Thaddeus Edwards

    Thanks, I concur………slow it down until you can do it perfectly, only then should you speed it up. With constant mistakes you train your fingers to play that mistake. Gotta put in the work.


    71 Okeke ThankGod Chidiebere

    I am so happy that you taught it wise to have somthing like this for people like us.God in his own way will reward you, Amen! Please I’m having a problem, since I registered with you I have not played any video, not cos I’m not interested in it or that I’m not eager to perfect on my keyboard its just that I don’t have a means to play or download them. I used a phone to register with you and its also what I use to acess my messages from you.is their anything you can do about it.I’m from Nigeria


    72 Grady

    Thanks for the info. you’ve given us the tools to learn, but you can’t do our part…the work. Continue with the motivational clips, it really helps.


    73 Barbara

    This was really….REALLY….REALLY inspiring and helpful to me because I have a recital on Thursday night and I have been playing and rehearsing my songs over and over again and everytime I think I’ve got it all together…guess what? I go back to the piano the next day and the same passages that I spent hours (like 2-4 hours) on the day before, still need a lot more work! So stressful, but your words of encouragement have greatly helped me to realize that I need to first slow down the passages that I’m stumbling over and master those errors before moving on to the next passages that causes me difficulty.

    Your ideas and confirmations make sense to me, so I think I’ll set some goals for myself this week to follow. I feel a whole lot better now and I am confident that my recital pieces will be ready by Thursday maybe not mistakes free — but I’ll have more confidence in playing them. Thanks, Jermaine. I’m so glad that I found your website. Keep YOUR positive energy flowing this day! You are a blessing to me today.



    74 merlie

    your story and knowledge are best teaching to me.very inspiring, very encouraging ideas. it’s help me a lot!thanks to you for i found this site. it makes me boring if i can not open my mail to see my lesson.So REALY REALLY inspirational.and i’m so really glad and satistified with your teaching.And thank you for sharing us with your encouraging knowledge of teaching. keep up always the great job.


    75 merlie

    the only have my problem is to transpose the key. that’s am gonna pick it up and how to move my finger fast. thanks mr. jermaine you’re gift is an incredible, you’re such an inspirational person and talented.


    76 Makia

    I loved this analogy. I’ve been playing piano for less than one year. I had heard that 15- 30 minutes daily was a normal practice session. So naturally I thought I was a slow learner because I practiced for 30-60 min daily and never felt any progress. A few months ago I started keeping track of my repititions during my practice sessions. I was curious to see just how many times I had to practice a scale or a new piece before it clicked. I initially set my number at 50 which wasn’t enough. So I increased that to 100. That worked and it’s pretty consistent. In other words, when I sit down to practice something new, instead of getting frustrated, I can remain kool because I know I can count on my 100 repitition to conquer the piece. Anyone in doubt, take it from me, keeping track works!! To those of you who live with other people, it might be a good idea to share your numbers with them so they’ll know the reptitions are a must and will eventually end when you reach your goal (of whatever number you’ve set for youresf.


    77 Trevita Willis

    Thanks Jermaine, you are so right, practice makes perfect. My dad use to make me practice for at least 2hrs daily when I was growing up and it did make a difference. Thanks again, and I will get back into it stating today


    78 Olugbenga Oshikoya

    You are not only a teacher but also an encourager. I love your style. Keep the GOOD work.

    Olugbenga Oshikoya


    79 Douglas Lodge

    There’s a familiar saying that “Practice makes perfect”, but often people don’t learn from their mistakes. Instead, a lot of times, we tend to “perfect” our mistakes.without learning from them, not only in learning skills, but sadly, also in our lives too!


    80 Sheea

    There is no mastery of anything without discipline. Thanks for sharing this. I will be a faithful student because I really want to play the keyboard. I’ve come a long way since taking your lessons. May God continue to give you wisdom to soar and help us soar in 2013.


    81 Misisha Buce

    Hi Jermaine i am sorry to disappoint you its just that i don,t have a computer of my own
    is when i come to work i use the work computer most of the time they are all occupy
    so i do not you to think that i am not interested i am very much interested i will get back to you at a later time.thank you i hope you understand. Yours Truly Misisha Bruce
    May God continue to bless you.


    82 Plaisimond Erry

    thanks for this aretice Jermaine, it will certainly help me to be a better musician.


    83 Aubrey Gould

    Great information Jermaine. It came at the most pertinent time for me. it’s not that I am giving up, but there are periods when it gets tough, the thought of giving up appears. However, your words of encouragement will help me to move on. I am a Michael Jordon fan and I know of his stories of practice, practice, practice. So thank you for your words of encouragement. They were really helpful to me.


    84 Teresa

    Technique, precision, and exact execution is more important than how long or how many repetitions you do. The point is to look for quality over quantity any time you practice. Why? Because what you do during practice is the habit you are creating and will continue to do consistently. So, if you practice something wrong with high precision, guess what? You will probably continue to play it wrong every time. Practice doesn’t make perfect. It makes permanent. Really enjoyed reading this article and being reminded of how important what you do during your practice time really is.


    85 Kingsley

    Hi Jermaine, I just want to say thank you so much for bringing me up like a father. I really appreciate your imformation. It sparks me up to work harder. Thanks and may God bless you more.


    86 Cannon Olivierre

    Great reference to Michael Jordon. This tells me that practice makes perfect, and experience is always the best teacher.
    Michael Jordon maintained his practice and became a master in that game. If I continue I too can master the intricacies of play the piano. Well with your help of course.
    Jermaine you are a master teacher.


    87 Carlinton

    Hi Jermaine, thank you for posting this article. I love it and I think it applies to musicians at all levels because there is always something to learn, whether it is a new advance progression or a unique jazz solo piece.

    I am motivated to practice and I will be applying these methods to my teaching styles so that my students can break into them early.

    Thanks again! Great Stuff!


    88 Junior Darlington

    This is an awakening. I’m on this one


    89 Dgrant

    Great information. Totally agree.


    90 ali

    This article is really for me, I do not have the patience to keep trying, when I don’t get it a few times, I pack up and leave. I really need to stick to this inspiration. Thank you so much.


    91 Shonette

    I have done that. Excuse myself prematurely many times. Thank you for the info. Good stuff.


    92 David

    Hi Jermaine,
    Thank you for the encouragement! Like everyone else says: ‘practice makes perfect’ and need to maintain our perseverance!


    93 Dona

    Hi Jermaine,
    Thank you so much for all of your inspirational tips. This article will definitely change the way I practice. I’ll keep you posted on how it works!


    94 Patricia

    Thanks for the encouragement. I plan to read this a few more times and practice a lot harder. I do have a goal,


    95 Carol

    Jermain, Thanks for the valuable and encouraging information. I started by teaching myself and was able to play any song and most church songs. Then I said to myself maybe I am doing this thing wrong. When I saw your Hear and Play offer I decided to start over on the right track. Music is my life, and the word quit is not in my dictionary. God bless.


    96 Dumisani Ngwenya

    What this means to me Jermaine is that it does not matter the time it takes for one to complete an activity, but what matters is the effort one puts in doing that activity. As the bible says (The race isn’t given to the swift, nor the battle to the strong).
    Thanks for the word of wisdom.


    97 Robert Keller


    Thanks for your motivation to practice. I’m an old guy that has to unlearn some of the
    classical methods that I was taught many years ago. Hopefully, like everyone else,
    I’m in this for the long haul. Thanks very much


    98 Mike

    These are great tips. You’re 100% right, with all of these tips. Especially #1. Slowing down and really trying helps more than most realize. Thanks for sharing!


    99 Miriam

    I especially enjoyed the video of the old couple playing gymnastic piano duets at the clinic. I’d just spoken to a friend about the video recently so a lovely reminder of how playing music keeps you young and full of fun !
    Also, I am going to keep in mind what you said about playing a challenging passage x times perfectly at whatever slow tempo it takes. Very inspiring words. Thank you!


    100 Stephen Coote

    Thanks for this. And thanks for all the other helpful blogs and videos. I haven’t started to learn the piano/keyboard yet, but your information is still very encouraging and useful, and I can apply it to other things including my singing and ukulele playing. Best wishes from New Zealand… Stephen Coote.


    101 Sally Paterson

    This is exactly how to perfect those passages that are ‘sticking points’ in any piece of music that is causing grief. I can still reiterate these some 20 years later without a hitch simply because they were played over and over again …. must work, eh?


    102 saundra

    I thank I might be getting the hang of it it just look so hard but I am not a quitter. also I love the book and dvds I want to do good enough to play at church I am so glad I found your websight .


    103 Lucky Augustine

    Griggs,thats Mind blowing……


    104 John

    Thanks for sharing. Your material is always great.


    105 Cecil

    That’s one of the best articles that I have ever read on motivation. I liked it so much that I sent it on to my very successful architect-son to apply to his achievements in life. I’m one of those “beginners” in piano playing (75 now) and I have caught myself using the word “can’t” very often now in a lot of ways. It has caused me to take a new look at a lot of what I am doing, or not doing, now in life. I have no intentions of “giving up”. Thanks.



    106 nath

    Hey Jermaine. Thanks for the tips. It brought back memories of my days practising free throws.


    107 Kelvin

    Thanks Jermaine. Learning the Piano is a really demanding task that really needs your total discipline and diligence to continue in, I am a beginner (but I know a couple of songs though) my dreams are to become a very good Pianist and to play for my church and enjoy music. I will follow your advice and I hope you could do a post on fingering patterns and getting to separate the left hand from the right hand and maybe on how to get fast. Thanks and God Bless.


    108 Joseph

    Great! real great!. thanks a lot for those words of encouragement. everything is true and if followed can lead to a next step. may god continue to bless and keep you as you share your knowledge.


    109 Armin Martin

    Dear Germaine Griggs.
    What a wonderful article! You have such a gift of putting things into perspective and making them simple to understand.

    I am a beginner (67 yrs old/young) and am very keen to learn to play the keyboards. I started for a month or two but then stopped, because I got discouraged and demotivated by my lack of progress. I am just not sure whether I’m going about this the right way.

    Thanks to you I have a much better understanding on HOW to practice as well as HOW MUCH to practice.

    I wonder if I shouldn’t go back and start from the beginning, as I’m quite confused right now. But where is the beginning, and what are the steps/stages I have to follow to get to the next level?

    Can you help to provide some guidance in this regard, or should I just carry on and learn haphazardly the way I have been doing till now? What do you think?

    Thank you and God Bless.


    110 DAVID

    Wow.this is an exciting piece.thnx dude


    111 lowrider

    Michael Jordan shows he’s still got it, makes 11 shots in a row
    FOXSports.com‎ – 6 days ago


    112 Lecia Boyd

    I just want to thank you sincerely for your easy to follow piano lessons that I enjoy immensely…I am improving every day with practise and learning heaps along the way..


    113 Deborah

    thanks Jermaine for all your encouraging stories seem like when you submit a story or scenario its always what I need to hear at that particular time. thanks again


    114 Augustine

    thanks Jermaine. I actually find myself trying to play sthn within a split of a second when I should rather slow the pace. this info has been of much help to me and now I understand I don’t need to learn so quickly to play where later on I tend to forget it totally. I appreciate the advice. Thank you.God bless you


    115 Tebogo

    Hi Jermaine
    This is great stuff,I mean strong food!Indeed everything is possible,it just depends on how much you want it.This is a great boost,Your ‘little stories’ makes a big difference.Thank you.


    116 Bonnie Mehling-Steinmetz

    I still can’t get over the support I’ve found at Hear and Play. Not only do you give well thought-out instruction and ideas, but the motivation to keep going is terrific!!! I don’t know whether it’s just a ‘human’ trait or not, but I’ve always felt if I didn’t get ‘it’ right away I was a poor student. Fhooy…..Now I know I was just trying the wrong way. It’s OK to take your time and learn it the right way. Thanks again for the encouragement.
    It’s greatly appreciated. I feel a new surge of strength and hope. Hugs, Bonnie Love


    117 mey

    Hi Armin, i know my reply comes too late but i hope it still helps. although you stopped practicing for a while, i believe you are still retaining some of the skill. So may i suggest that you (re-)start from the key of C and practice simple songs like twinkle twinkle little stars, Mary had a little lamb, happy birthday to you. They practically only use 3 chords so pretty simple. Once you regain your confidence you could try a more complex song. Don’t worry, i got stuck in the key of C for **seven** years as i was too busy working. Hope this gives you some encouragement, and good luck ☺


    118 kgalalelo kujane

    morning sir!!!

    i am really worried about the difference between major scale chords and their relative minor scale chords.

    for instance if i am playing on f sharp how do i use my relative minor chords on this key or combine the two while playing the same song.


    119 Mukasa

    Thanks alöt.Am begining Piano. Lessons in Nairobi Kenya.This article came at a moment i needed it most.Be blessed indeed


    120 Abas

    this is beautiful. Now, i practised on scales, Major, minor, whatever, on all the keys, and i discovered that my right hand is always on the high speed than the left,. though its becoming less noticeable, but what could cause that? of cause i begin with slow tempo but i luv speeding up, and it works cos’ i’ do & keep doing this over times and the memory’s there from the brain to the fingers & to the keys…


    121 Abas

    once again sir. we all are highly gratefull to you, and to hear&play. this advise works.., but if only we discipline ourselves enough and just spend some time to practise. THANK YOU VERY MUCH


    122 egbe-piloman

    Thanks bro for your works,they’ve greatly improved my thinking abilities musically and other wise. More grace to you in Jesus name.


    123 DONOVAN

    This is awesome! This article is so timely. Keep up the good work.


    124 Jerry

    Hmmmmm! That’s so revealing. I always anticipate for your teachings because you make everything about music easy to grasp. Thanks boss


    125 Jack

    As usual, you come up with the right answer to the un- asked question.
    My study time is limited, so I have to practice a lot in a short time.
    Repetition is a mind freeze BUT .it helps a lot.
    I will stick with the repetition to open up the tunes .


    126 olakunle

    I really appreciate your advice. I think I av something now to make refrence to when I want to hit a goal or target.


    127 Promise

    I have always told you Griggs, you are quite a liberator of struggling musicians. God will reach you heavily in reward for your kind gesture. I never knew I could go thus far in my playing by now. You are not just a musician but a philosopher. Thank you so much. Shalom


    128 Hostbuster

    I’m from Germany, my english isn’t very good, so I trust in little help of Google translator for any phrases of this article. But the real reason why I use the translator is the deep feeling of the meaning of this word from you, Germaine. I want to understand every single word you say. I know the meaning, I feel the love that coming from your message. All the tips you give are master keys of success! Not only for musicians, but for all people! Slow down, internalize of findings until the subconscious works for you. Find inner peace within you, than the love flows from your heart directly into the music you can give. Perhaps for peace of the world. GREAT!

    It seems, you are an angel.


    129 Dele

    No 1 and 3 were already in check but the no 2 will really be useful as well for consistency check.


    130 Nsizwa

    Thanks a lot .you continue to inspire me as a fresh musician .


    131 Paul

    Wonderful piece, indeed your inspiration keeps building me each and every day. I have also observed that it helps to keep a record of what is achieved in terms of how certain pieces are played and that serves as a building block to several other pieces.
    But its quite another thing to practice wrong techniques for long hours. Key emphasis must be made that we need to practice the ‘right stuff’ consistently . As someone puts it ‘ Right practice makes perfect’.

    Thanks once again!


    132 Chuck

    I have just started to learn to play the piano after wanting to give it a try for years. These are great info and ideas you are sharing, Jermaine. As I have been working hard to learn to play, I have come across something I have not expected. I have noticed that sometimes I seem to hit a wall trying to pick up a certain skill or learn complicated movements. Sometimes just repeating the drill or practice doesn’t seem to work very well and I get frustrated by my lack of progress. Taking a break (even for 6 or 8 hours) helps a little, but what seems to really help a lot is to get some sleep and then try again! It almost seems magical, it is as if the skill I have worked hard on coalesces or solidifies and becomes much easier after a good night’s sleep.

    I wonder if others have noticed this also? Hope this helps others working hard to become proficient.


    133 Edwin

    Awesome awesome awesome. Once again, BIG THANKS for the article-its really inspiring.I am set to do more of what I have learnt therein. Good job and thanks for doing everytging yiu are doing for us.I bet you its really helpful.God bless.


    134 Neville Green

    This one is for me.
    Thanks a million, you just help me to select a new gear.

    Thanks again
    Neville Green


    135 David

    Hey Jermaine,
    Good challenging advice.
    I started working through your course about a month ago.
    My first instrument is bass (for forty years) and from that perspective I can pick up a song
    or line and run with it.
    The bass side of my brain wants to approach the piano like it’s the bass…I have to constantly remind myself to slow down and be patient…the piano is a totally different instrument.
    Thanks for the advice and encouragement!…now, back to Hanon…lol!!!


    136 Christiana wilson Skerritt

    Love happiness,peace and hope keep keeping on Jermaine griggs God is in control you will be ever bless.


    137 Mitah

    Wow…that really helps. I’m normally an energetic person & do almost everything at a fast pace :-). I noticed that playing @ a fast pace hasn’t been helping & your article Jermaine came to really confirm that I need to practice at a slow pace & focus. There’s no doubt I have made a progress I just need to change my behaviour here & there using tips from your article. Furthermore I need to say that all your other materials I already put my mind to are very helpful & I’m grateful to be one of your students. I never knew music wasn’t only about rhythm but a lot of terminology & application thereof is what makes music, music. Wow, thank you, thank you & thank you.


    138 Bruce Traylor Sr

    Jermaine, great info. Thanx for the inspiration, I’m a beginner and I see I have work to do. I heard of a story of an 80-something year old man, I believe he was a concert pianist which had been playing for many years. Someone asked him why did he practice so much and his reply was “he hadn’t mastered it yet.”


    139 Adrien

    Great article here, Jermaine. This definitely sheds some light and direction to someone who’s really willing to learn.


    140 karthik

    Very good ones.. And also please tell us some extraordinary tips about music theory..


    141 ankit singh

    This is so true….Sir believe me I keep the same goal for myself.I am a complete fresher when we talk about understanding Music theory.At present I am doing scales on keyboard(major & minor) with both hands & trust me I follow the same principle & if I fail to do it .”start again” is the only option I follow.

    Thank you Mr.Griggs for all your guidance


    142 Cheryl

    Thanks, Jermaine,

    While learning new things, I am also trying to unlearn bad techniques and poor habits. Slowing it down has been quite effective in retraining the muscles. The metronome also aids considerably with practicing the scales (something I never learned when younger).

    I’ve started to log all of my favorite chords and progressions in all twelve keys. I’ll get to the songs later.
    Having fun doing what I wish I had committed to years ago.



    143 Billy

    Thanks Jermaine just what i needed at this time , it makes all the differ ants in what I’m trying to accomplish in my music .Your’e the best Thanks.


    144 BETTY



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