How To Make Huge Progress: Do One Thing


At the universities I teach at, I get to see the development of a student over the course of three or four years. Here’s a recurring pattern I’ve noticed:

A student will undertake a project that’s very challenging. For example, they might learn a huge transcription, or write a seven-minute solo guitar piece that heavily features harmonics, or they might call a musician they’re in awe of for a series of gigs, and so on.

The interesting thing is that after successfully tackling one really challenging project, their overall musicianship improves in many ways. They seem to take a huge leap forward.

So, if you want to move everything along, instead of thinking about ALL the many things that you need to do, start thinking, instead, about doing one really challenging thing. One big win. What would be a huge thing to focus on right now?

Make it a good one.

Tell me about a challenging project you’ve done. How did it affect you? What changed?

I’d love to hear about it.

Comments on How To Make Huge Progress: Do One Thing

  1. Adam Moore says:

    Hi Mike, this seems relevant as I’ve just agreed to a jazz/fusion trio gig in Cambridge on September 9th. I’ve never lead a jazz group before and now I’m going to front 2×45 minute sets. The individual tunes are not the challenge per se, but playing coherent and listenable music for that long is. The aim here is a great lead forward towards bandleadership. Any wisdom imparted on this matter would be gratefully received!

  2. Haha, totally! Sure, will hit you up. :) All the best,

  3. Mike Outram says:

    Hi Jack, thanks for your kind words! Had a look at your site, seems we like a lot of the same things :) Let’s stay in touch. Always good to geek out about that stuff. Are you on FB? I’m
    Cheers, M

  4. Mike, just saw your post on SPI & recognised your name. I’m a good friend of Tom Poulton’s (ThomasSolomonGray now!). Heard lots of awesome things about you & your work.

    Cool to see your also in the Blogging sphere. All the best, & definitely going to be sticking around this site!

  5. Mike Outram says:

    Yeah, I saw that already. Great stuff! Amazing, in fact :)

  6. Michael De Souza says:

    It’s funny you mention a solo guitar piece that heavily features harmonics, because I recently had a go at one, not 7 minutes though. Have a look if you want…

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