In the world of music, a variety of factors will dictate how much, and how quickly, we improve. This can include what we focus on, the frequency of our music sessions, and how we approach doing the work. While all of these are important, and should certainly be considered, it can be helpful to prioritize the most critical ingredients. I believe these are work and time.
Work consists of the essential actions we take to improve at our craft. This can mean practicing an instrument, honing our vocal chops, or writing music. We have to do this work in order to get better at anything, but doing the work once or twice will not suffice. When you add time to the mix, then there is potential for progress and growth.
Similarly, while allowing enough time to pass is critical, it cannot be the only part of the equation. Time passing without having done consistent work won’t get you where you want to go. As James Clear wrote in a recent newsletter: "Patience only works if you do. Doing the work + patience = results. Planning to work + patience = you're just waiting." Being able to wait as long as it takes to advance is great, but only if you’re taking the necessary steps as well.
While the amount of work and time will depend on what it is you’re trying to accomplish, the formula itself remains unchanged. They combine to become a simple, yet powerful, team that allows us to develop the skills we need, and complete projects. Once they are well established in your routines and systems, you can evaluate and adjust other factors to further enhance your progress and output.