As a young person, I had a dream of being the world’s best trumpet player. At the time, I listened to the likes of the American trumpet extraordinaire Wynton Marsalis. It seemed that he could effortlessly play orchestrally backed solos like Flight of the Bumble Bee or Carnival de Venice.
I knew that the only way to become the best was to practice. My father told me, if you want to be good, then you need to play scales repeatedly. For those who are unfamiliar, scales are like pressing the white keys on the piano sequentially from left to right. That’s right, it’s hardly an exciting melody. For 3 hours a day I would play scales in a variety of ways.
Every tune you can think of is based on scales. These provide the building blocks for how musical notes interact with each other. How you make the progression from one note to the next. Over time, I became an accomplished trumpet player.
What was key was the consistency and commitment that I had to being good at something. This included the days that I did not feel like doing what I need to do. Now, I never became the world’s best, but I certainly wasn’t the world’s worst either.
If I want to be good at something, I need to practice that thing repeatedly until it becomes second nature
The approach of consistency has paid dividends in my life and my career. I know that if I want to be good at something, I need to practice that thing repeatedly until it becomes second nature. I am now in a skilled professional job. Even today, I can identify the things that I need to rehearse.
Often, people who listen to me speaking, are surprised by how easy I make it sound. But the truth is, I have also practiced my speaking for many years. It takes a lot of perpetrations and rehearsing to become good at it.