At some point in my life it occurred to me that we often think about our musical idols in a backwards way.

Here’s the big shift:

Instead of thinking “Keith Jarrett can improvise great music for an hour straight because he’s great,” it’s really “Keith Jarrett is great because he repeatedly puts himself in the position of having to improvise an entire concert before a live audience.”

And instead of thinking “Herbie Hancock is able to take artistic risks because he’s good enough to pull it off,” it’s really “Herbie Hancock is a great artist because he takes artistic risks.”

Do you see the shift? There are lots of incredibly talented pianists who never developed their talents like Keith and Herbie have. Our musical idols are great because of what they have done with their talent, not the other way around.

If you want to become a great pianist, do what your musical idols have done. It’s what made them great and it’s what will make you great as well.

Enjoy the journey and “let the music flow!”

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