• # The Power of Consistent Practice

Everyone knows consistent practice is the key to lasting progress.

But knowing something is not the same as doing. As the saying goes, “Common sense is not always common practice” (no pun).

The goal of this post is not to repeat something you’ve been hearing all your life, but to present another angle — an analogy that really made me think differently about consistency.

Truth be told – this is not just a music-related topic. This is a life-related topic.

Whether playing music, exercising, eating healthy, learning to golf, studying the bible, etc, consistency undoubtedly produces exponential growth.

## Linear vs Exponential Growth

Simply put, linear growth continues to increase at the same rate:

1+1=2
2+1=3
3+1=4
4+1=5
5+1=6

Exponential growth increases at an expanding rate:

1×2=2
2×2=4
4×2=8
8×2=16
16×2=32

As you can see, linear growth results in an ending value of 6 while exponential growth produces an ending value of 32.

Here’s how it looks visually:

## Consistent Practice and Exponential Results

When you’re not consistent at something, putting only sporadic attention towards it, you may indeed see growth. But it’s growth that usually has to start from the beginning each time.

If you’re lucky, muscle and mental memory kicks in and lets you start from where you left off. But that’s rare. Nothing in life is at a constant. Everything is always moving. Either you’re growing or shrinking.

What is undeniably true is that you DON’T benefit from the “leaps” seen in the exponential growth model above.

When you’re consistent at something and totally engaged, one by-product is what psychologists call “incubation,” among many other things.

Incubation is one of the 4 proposed stages of creativity: preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification.

Incubation is defined as a process of unconscious recombination of thought elements that were stimulated through conscious work at one point in time, resulting in novel ideas at some later point in time.

I can’t tell you how many ideas I get when I’m off the piano that stem from when I’m on the piano.

And the more you’re on the piano, the more of these “AHA” moments will happen.

You also benefit from physical growth, dexterity, strength, and speed between practice sessions.

Many people think all the growth happens AT the piano. Sure, sitting down to the piano with a scale or run half-mastered and getting up with it fully under your belt is an amazing feeling to have.

But even if you practice that scale 100 times and can’t seem to get it by your last repetition, fret not.

Your work is not in vain. It is often when you get up from the piano that your cognitive and physical abilities are being improved. That’s why you can sit down to the piano the next time and magically have the same scale mastered, even though your previous attempt at it fell short.

## Consistent Practice – Don’t Go For Grand Slam, Go For Base Hits

When we’re excited about something, we tend to want to go all out. You’ve been there. We all have.

But remember: It’s better to spend 30 minutes or an hour a day at it consistently than to sit on your piano for 4 hours in an evening out of a newfound excitement that will likely be short-lived, if history repeats itself.

Don’t go for the grand slam and risk striking out. Go for the consistent base hit instead.

In life, many people are sitting around waiting to hit the lottery rather than doing what they can, one penny at a time, to create their own fortune.

And yes, there’s power in a “penny.”

In fact, if you had to choose, which offer would you take?

1) \$3 million cash in your hand right now.

or

2) A penny that doubles every day for 30 days?

Without doing any calculations, most would go for the \$3 million cash. You might have been one of them.

And it’s not your fault. As a society, we’re conditioned over time to “want it now and in a hurry.” We’re the microwave society.

The slow and steady process that leads to exponential results? Not so sexy.

Let’s look at what happens to that doubling penny:

Day 1: \$.01
Day 2: \$.02
Day 3: \$.04
Day 4: \$.08
Day 5: \$.16
Day 6: \$.32
Day 7: \$.64
Day 8: \$1.28
Day 9: \$2.56
Day 10: \$5.12
Day 11: \$10.24
Day 12: \$20.48
Day 13: \$40.96
Day 14: \$81.92
Day 15: \$163.84
Day 16: \$327.68
Day 17: \$655.36
Day 18: \$1,310.72
Day 19: \$2,621.44
Day 20: \$5,242.88
Day 21: \$10,485.76
Day 22: \$20,971.52
Day 23: \$41,943.04
Day 24: \$83,886.08
Day 25: \$167,772.16
Day 26: \$335,544.32
Day 27: \$671,088.64
Day 28: \$1,342,177.28
Day 29: \$2,684,354.56
Day 30: \$5,368,709.12

That penny is worth over \$5 million dollars!

This is what we call “compounding.”

And guess what, compounding happens in your music, when you’re consistent.

You allow one skill to build upon another, and then another, and then another, without gaps or interruptions.

“Interruptions keep your results linear, if any. Compounding effort produces exponential results.” – Jermaine Griggs

One week on, another week off. One month on, the next month off. This break in consistency is robbing you of compound growth.

And you’ve heard it before, “what you don’t use, you lose.”

## Make a Commitment to Consistent Practice

Life is changed in an instant.

Things are changed in a decision.

In my own life, when I decided to lose 30 pounds, it was done. Past failures to accomplish the same task were simply due to my unwillingness to put a stake in the ground and DECIDE.

Once I decided, the weight was gone in 8 weeks. And it’s been off for 3 years now.

Before and After

My wife, Sarah, and I

If you’re a Monthly Music Mentor subscriber or Gospel Music Training Center member, commit to reviewing the cds or logging in daily.

If you’ve bought our courses, commit to practicing something you’ve learned daily.

Heck, if you’re not a customer at all, commit to coming to this blog and finding something new to learn.

The key word is “COMMIT.”

Decide that you’re going to be consistent, put structures in place to almost guarantee your consistency, make up in your mind once and for all that you’re going to do it, and watch exponential results come.

Until next time.

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#### Jermaine Griggs

Founder at HearandPlay.com
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!

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