Five Minutes a Day

I’ve been repeating my mentor’s mantra for years: “Five minutes a day” was what Steve Zegree constantly encouraged his students to put in on various skills, from ii-V-I’s to sight reading to improvisation.

I’ve repeated and believed it, but somehow I always put subconscious exceptions in, without even realizing it. That was a mistake.

Yesterday, Duolingo gave me a little update, saying I’m now 20% fluent in Swedish. This over about two months of daily practice (I broke my streak for one day on November 9), spending as little as 5-10 minutes per day.

What. #duolingo #svenska

A photo posted by Jed Scott (@jedscottmusic) on

I had never exactly ruled out achieving fluency in a language from those same five minutes a day – but I hadn’t ruled it in, either.

My message to myself and to you is that you should rule it in. Whatever you want to learn to do, assume that the five-minute rule applies, and start putting a streak together.

In 2016, the tools to achieve fluency – in music, language, cooking, or any other skill imaginable – are more available than ever before. So what are you going to do with five minutes a day?