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No Shortcuts!

No Shortcuts!

It has been said that it takes 10,000 hours to become expert at something. But for some it takes longer or shorter for some as shown by the Infographic at For example, it takes 26,880 hours for an astrophysicist to become expert and the Neurosurgeon just requires 42,240 hours.

There’s one thing that is common to both Neurosurgery and astrophysics. They both require a long time to master their skill. Why is this you ask? Both skills require extensive training and lots of testing before they are awarded their certifications and allowed to work in their respective fields.

On the other hand, in a 2013, Ted Talk, Author Josh Kaufman argued that even though it takes on average 10,000 hours to become expert at something, it really only takes 20 hours to learn and begin to utilize that skill. However there are certain things that you must do in order for this to learn something in 20 hours

  • Deconstruct The Skill
    • Breakdown the skill into it’s component parts
  • Learn Enough To Self Correct
    • Learn enough to recognize your mistakes
  • Remove Practice Barriers
    • Eliminate Distractions
    • Concentrate and Focus on learning
  • Practice at least 20 hours
    • That’s it – Practice at least 20 hours

In his case he was learning to play the Ukulele and he utilized 4 chords to play the same progression that exists in thousands of popular songs. The chords are C Major (1), G Major (5), A Minor (6) and F Major (4). Each number here is the number that the chord represents in the Nashville number system. It is possible to learn this and play by ear in a relatively short space of time. But whether you are aiming for an expert level or just beginning, just know that there are no shortcuts and keep on Playing It By Ear.

Is Playing By Ear 👂Easy?

Playing By Ear 👂

I have been asked the question, “Is playing by ear 👂 easy?” I would like to answer that question in this way by saying that it is as easy as you know how. You may say to me what does that mean? It simply means that you are able to play by ear as much as you have the skill, knowledge and practical application.

I guess I can say that the response is a scaled response. It’s like a language. The more vocabulary you know, the more you are able to speak and understand. I wrote an article a while back that talks about this called Music as a Language where I talk about how children learn to speak before learning to read. They learn sounds of the language and they are able to express themselves before learning all the grammar, and the rules of the language and the theory of an object, verb and subject.

So in reality the answer is yes. Playing by ear is easy if you know how. The reality is my playing by ear is different than Jacob Collier, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Victor Wooten, Herbie Hancock, Harry Connick Jr., Winton Marsalis, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Santana, or Chick Corea. It’s as different as the physical sound of their voices. You just have to keep on doing the best that you can as you Play It By Ear.

Challenged – Not Defeated!

Challenged - Not Defeated

You may be wondering why I’m writing all this about Consistency is Key, and taking small, attainable, measurable  steps to achieve your goals. Well I’ll tel you why I am doing this. It’s important to have a framework in which to achieve your dreams. They don’t just happen in a vacuum (unless your dream involves being in outer space which is the ultimate vacuum 😀).

In life we are constantly faced with challenges that affect us in certain ways. I am challenging myself to lose weight this year. My plan for that is to workout for 30 minutes every day without fail. I have a support group that I hold myself accountable to, and we encourage each other on the journey.

I am also challenging myself to write in this ultimate blog challenge. 31 blogs in 31 days. It’s a challenge. My plan is to write for 15 minutes a day on my blog to post it. But what happens when you can’t meet that challenge and you fail? Do you give up? Do you quit?

So yesterday due to circumstances beyond my control and also due to the decisions that I made during the day, I was unable to finish my blog for January 3 – Consistency is Key – Part 2. I decided that I was not going to be defeated. I was going to keep going. In the midst of your consistency

So today, I finished my short blog from yesterday, and I’m going to finish this one too. Then I’m going to pick up my guitar and practice my song for this weekend. I may be challenged, but I won’t be defeated. When you look for me I will be playing with a smile and I will be Playing It By Ear.

Consistency is Key 🗝 – Part 2

Consistency is Key - Part 2
Consistency is Key – Part 2

My watch word for the year is CONSISTENCY. So on January 2nd, I started talking about it in Consistency is Key 🗝 and how it helps in goal realization. But I don’t think that I actually defined it. So the question is,what is consistency?

According to a google search, there are several definitions of the word Consistency. The one that struck me the most was the definition that said, “The achievement of a level of performance that does not vary greatly in quality over time. What this means is that the to achieve consistency means getting to a level of performance that is the same over time.

I love that I can put a complete definition of the word. Now no matter what I do, I aim for excellence! However, I know that as Rome was not built in a day. So in striving for excellence, I know that I have to take it one day at a time, one task at a time. This gives me hope in that I know that if I do not get it today, I will get it tomorrow. I will keep plugging along as I Play It By Ear.

Consistency is Key 🗝

Consistency is Key 🗝

And so it begins… That moment in every year – Happy New Year! This year is I am going to lose weight, eat better, learn a new language, and learn to play the guitar 🎸, piano 🎹, etc. You guessed it – the obligatory RESOLUTION! Every year the gyms are filled on January 1st and by February 1st they are empty.

What is the reason for this? I believe that it’s a lack of consistency. I have been in that situation before, and I find myself failing because of a lack of consistency. I didn’t have a support mechanism to motivate myself to do whatever it was that I was trying to do. So I failed.

But there’s hope you can make it. You can complete the task that you set out to do. There’s a lot of simple solution. Write it down! It’s the main tool in completing a task. Write 📝 down your specific goal. You may have to refine your goal after you write it down, but that’s the first step. Here’s a website that you can use to help: 20 Exceptional Tips for Setting and Achieving Smart Goals from

Some of the steps for achieving your goals and realizing your dreams include:

  • Be Specific
  • Make it Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely (set a deadline)
  • Affirmation
  • Take Action
  • Read, Listen and Learn
  • Have a Positive Attitude

For example, if you want to learn to play the guitar, set a goal of practicing the guitar for 15 mins per day. Every day. Set a time that you would do it and make it your Guitar Time. Write it in your calendar. Put it on a sticky note and paste it to the dashboard of the car 🚙 or on your refrigerator. Find someone on YouTube or find your favorite blogger and ask them questions. Keep affirming yourself and take action. Having a goal that’s specific, measurable, attainable and realistic is what builds consistency. In 2018 I hope to see you fulfilling your dreams and living life to the fullest as you Play it by ear!

It’s A New Year

Happy New Year (Bitmoji)

So another new year has begun… 2017 has come and gone… And you still want to play by ear… Well it’s been a while since I’ve posted a blog, so here I am.

In the past, I have posted about:

  • Notes
  • Scales
  • Chords
  • Progressions
  • All about that bass
  • The Math of Music
  • Exercise and Music
  • Recognizing what key you’re in
  • How to conquer your fears
  • Paying it forward
  • Sharing what you got
  • Making a difference
  • Keeping a positive attitude

Some posts are related to music and others are about life in general. It’s all very interesting to me. There is more that I will be sharing in the days to come, maybe even a book 📙 or two. There’s also another blog that I have in mind for technology, but there will be more on that later.

So this is my initial blog for the year, and I hope everyone has a Safe and Happy New Year. Wishing you all the best for 2018 as you continue to Play It By Ear!

Playing It By Ear

I created this blog as a response to the Ultimate Blog Challenge for October 2013, with the goal of 31 blog posts in 31 days.  It’s pretty daunting to think about doing. What do I write about? Will people like it? Will anyone even ready it? I don’t know the answers but I know that you will never do something unless you start it.

So here I am. Playing It By Ear!

I think that i will focus on Music, and playing musical instruments. It has been a passion of mine for a long time and I love to share about it. So that’s gonna be my main focus. From time to time I will get some other motivation to write something else.

Thanks for listening and have a great day always remembering that today is an opportunity to create something new

PIBE is my response to the