Piano Scales

“What is it you do to train that is comparable to a pianist practicing scales?” 

If you don’t know the answer to that one, maybe you are doing something wrong or not doing enough.

Or maybe you are (optimally?) not very ambitious?

Tyler Cowen

When we see the concert pianist tickling the ivory we see fingers moving at light speed playing combinations of keys that seem impossible, at speeds we cant comprehend, producing sounds that leave us in awe.

But the key to that performance is piano scales. Every great pianist has probably spend thousands of hours playing simple piano scales. Over and over again. Just sitting there. Playing piano scales.

Pianists are like athletes. Their piano scales are like Lebron James’ free throws, or Messi’s juggling.

So we should all strive to learn like athletes. As David Perell says:

Athletes train. Musicians train. Performers train. But knowledge workers don’t. 

So in anything I am learning or trying to improve in, I have a very simple heuristic now for whether or not I’m going to succeed.

If I cannot point at a single aspect of my training / learning plan and say “these are my piano scales” then I’m cooked. I’m doing something wrong. I’m deluding myself into thinking I’m doing enough. I “think” I’m ambitious but that ambition is a narrative in my head vs something I’m actually doing in practice.

So honestly ask yourself:

“What is it you do to train that is comparable to a pianist practicing scales?”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s