Every unknown skill or topic has myths behind it that we all as individuals tend to create in our minds. This may be from our own creative brain power, or from a friend who is feeding us these terrible ideas. Have you ever heard “Oh you can’t do that, those guys are born able to do that.” Or, “They started before they could walk, you’re not young enough.” All these little snippets of negativity feed the doubt side of you and prevent you from even attempting to do something new. In this case, jazz piano. Well I’m here to debunk those doubts and explain why they’re completely bogus.

#1 I’m too old

Listen, just because you’re above the age of 30 doesn’t mean you brain shuts off and can’t learn anymore. You’re telling me you can’t learn one simple concept a week or even every two weeks. That is literally all you need to know. In the podcast, or beginning blog articles, all the sections are broken down into concise concepts. All you need to do is read them, or listen, try them for 5 minutes and you’ll understand them. This isn’t rocket science people. I’m not a genius. I didn’t get a 1600 on my SAT’s or even a 1200 for that matter. I simply continued to work at concepts and new approaches in jazz in order to improve my skills. Everyone has to start somewhere, so why not start today! Your brain can learn at any age, as long as you have the discipline and willpower to apply the effort.

#2 They were born with talent, I wasn’t.

Talent is overrated. Everyone who is great at something is usually good at it because they have put hours and hours of work into perfecting their skill. I’m going to be honest right now and this may upset some people. The only reason you haven’t made progress at something you want in your life is because you haven’t put enough work into it. Now, this is a great thing! This is the best thing I could have ever told you. Why? Because it means there is hope for you to progress. It doesn’t mean you absolutely cannot play this great music, it simply means you need to spend more time practicing, or learning concepts, or listening to the podcast. It is not like I’m telling a handicapped person who cannot walk that all of a sudden they can walk again. That is obviously impossible. All I’m saying is that, Tiger Woods, Lebron James, Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, myself, ( not that I’m on the same level as those guys…yet), and all the other greats have worked every day of their life at their skill. Now even if you don’t have ambitions to reach their level, you can still reach a level you’re content with, but everyone has to work at it. It is 95% hard work, 5% natural talent…even if that much.

#3 I don’t have enough time to practice

Every time I ask someone why they haven’t started to play jazz piano they usually say they don’t have enough time. And I always respond with, ” You don’t have 10 minutes a day to practice.” Seriously…think about that. You could be as good as you have ever dreamed if you set aside just ten minutes a day to practice. The problem is everyone imagines you need to practice 4 hours a day to get better, and the thought of this is destroying to your motivation. Never start out by thinking this. It’s like going to the gym. You can’t just start going 5 days a week. You need to start with walking, or eating better, small habits that start to snowball into big changes. If you set aside 10 minutes a day to work on one concept for the week, I guarantee you can learn all the steps I explain in the blog, podcast or lesson videos. 10 minutes. I think we’re up to 1 an hour and 30 min of tv for average americans. What does that do for you? Ten minutes a day of practicing and you can learn your favorite skill you always wanted or improve upon where you already are. Say it one more time…ten…minutes.

#4 I practice but I don’t get better so I should just quit

I’ll fix this for you right now in one sentence. You need to practice what you’re not good at, not what you’re good at it. The reason people don’t get better is because they cannot discipline themselves enough to practice all the things they cannot do. Instead, they sit at the piano and play everything they know already and make no progress. In order to excel you have to buckle down, and do the work, no matter how frustrating it may be. The other reason is that you are practicing the same mistakes over and over and over again. Its funny, in some lessons, my students will make a mistake and I’ll correct them, and then they make the same mistake again. Wait…what? Didn’t I just show them how to play it? I did, but they played it wrong again. Listen to me very carefully, in order to fix something you must practice it CORRECTLY, not INCORRECTLY. Every time you play something incorrectly you’re body learns it more that way so it is twice as hard to reverse it. So slow the tempo wayyyyyy down and make sure you play it right every time, otherwise you will be doing twice as much work.

#5 I can’t, there’s no way, not me.

Listen closely because I’m going to give you the secret to doing anything you want in life. I bet you’re saying yea right to yourself right now, but I’m serious. Are you ready? The biggest obstacle you will ever face in your life to accomplishing your goals, is not the path you need to take, not the work, not the practicing, its yourself. If you already telling yourself you won’t be able to learn then you will have never given yourself a chance to even try. People defeat themselves before they can begin to prove they can do it. Do yourself a favor, and be the little train that I could. Anytime you hear that little voice in your head shutting yourself down, just tell them to shut up, and try it. Just try whatever you want to try. Maybe its not even jazz piano. Maybe its sailing, or flying, or a sport, just go try it. I guarantee you will be amazed at what you can actually accomplish if you say “I think I can.”

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