Jazz musicians often practice material in all twelve keys. Learn “All the Things You Are” in the key of Ab, then learn it in Eb, then Bb, and so on. All the way around the circle of fifths.
Learning to play a tune in every key brings great rewards: easy mastery of the material, fingers that know where to go before the brain catches up, and ears that hear every harmonic nuance. A tune learned this way becomes part of the player in a way she couldn’t have foreseen.
Budding jazz musicians prefer to avoid this practice technique, partly because it’s laborious, but mostly because they don’t grasp the benefits. As beginners, they can’t fully see the merit of learning a single tune inside and out—they don’t know what it will feel like. Because they don’t know any tunes inside and out. Because they’re beginners.
People don’t like to work to attain benefits they can’t picture in vivid detail. For those of us who persuade for a living—and that’s all of us—how can we coax others to work toward an outcome they can’t fully appreciate? We improve our own communication skills. The best teachers and communicators can paint a compelling picture for the novice, describing vividly what mastery will look and feel like. Other teachers just say, “you need to learn this stuff. Better get to work.”
Convince people to do the kind of hard work that they’ll be glad they did. It’s hard work, too, but it’s worth doing.