Apparently someone tried applying the 10,000 hour practice.
it's a wives' tale... actually it probably can't be classified as a wives' tale, more like just something some idget came up with because he had nothing better to do, 10000 such nonsense
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Second post includes link. Read the article if you like.
"for every one of the 245 spots on the PGA Tour, there are 326,000 active golfers worldwide. Bjork got a look at McLaughlin’s game in 2014. 'I could watch him and think it was remarkable for someone who hadn’t played before,' Bjork recounts. 'Or, I could look at him ... and say the whole idea of [making] the pro tour was unrealistic.'"
10000 hours seems to be an accepted ball park figure for the length of time it takes to get to a fully professional level in any activity, whether it is law, medicine, science, languages, music, art ..., but it is no more than an eye-catching figure for that period of time, which in most cases works out at about 7 years.
Note that this guy achieved quite a bit -- the article notes that he got his handicap to the point where he was in the top 6% of golfers.
I think the whole point of the 10000hr principle is that talent alone isn't enough to reach mastery level. You have to put in a lot of efforts. That is exemplified by numerous top achievers, regardless of domain, who with very few if any exception did put in the hours before reaching the top levels. I don't believe it ever said than anyone can be a master if you put in 10000hr of practice/learning.
I think the underlying belief behind the idea is that any (pertinently abled) human who puts in around 10000 of (sufficiently effective) practice is able to master the subject...without referring to requirement of talent.
Of course it depends hugely on your age when you start. I've been offering encouragement to a would-be pianist who passed a few grades in her early teens but gave it up for 30-odd years. In spite of an excellent teacher she's finally acknowledged she's never going to get significantly past the level she achieved back then.
Steve, the idea that one cannot get past a certain level is not an idea I can accept easily. In fact, I find it needlessly negative. One is negating the possibility of improvement. The idea that one cannot get to a certain level (pro, soloist, concertmaster or mistress, etc) does not lead to the conclusion that one cannot always improve (there are many aspects to work on).
There is also the question of what "mastery" is. The guy in the article, in under half the 10,000 hour mark, managed to become a pretty good golfer. He didn't reach a world-class level, but I would say that top 6% is pretty darn respectable.
Instead of the hard, achievable limit, perhaps it is easier to think in terms of the asymptote that one can achieve. Due to inborn talent, parental and teacher support and other circumstances, each person has a different asymptote, or the "theoretical limit" of the particular pursuit (violin playing in this case) that one can achieve in one's lifetime.
The idea was widely popularized in the book
I agree with Sung, the 10K hour estimate was arrived at by a retrospective process and properly interpreted it probably makes some sense - expertise in many fields tends to take roughly this long to acquire, with considerable inter-individual variability. But some skills are undoubtedly harder to acquire than others and playing the violin probably comes pretty near the top of the scale. These individuals had all chosen their speciality at a relatively early age, not randomly but on the basis of their inclination, aptitude and (just conceivably) the advice of their teachers. It is hardly justified therefore to assume that the same applies prospectively to individuals of any age, no matter how strong their motivation. The Groundhog Day effect is a chimera!
10,000 hour rule is a vast generalization, and hard to measure for most musicians (I do agree some learn faster than others, but rarely will you be counting "mastery hours"). Just practice with Love for the instrument and its repertoire, and don't think about how many hours or years it will take to play at a very high level. Think about the hourglass-it seems to take forever, but every bit of sand will eventually accumulate and equal progress.
Alternatively, just enjoying playing ("engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose") and occasionally be pleasantly surprised by the fact that you seem to be playing better than before. The music itself is the main thing.
Lots of good replies and as someone mentioned, the term "mastery" has to be defined, and it actually cannot be defined in musical circles, because different people have different musical goals.
The idea that 10,000 hours equals mastery has been floating around for some time and has a lot of traction. Four hours a day for about six and a half years might make you a master but,... My teacher used to say: "Only perfect practice makes perfect, lousy practice only makes lousy."
I haven't actually read the book, but I doubt he means anyone can just do 10,000 hours and magically become a master. I would interpret the theory to mean someone who *already* has the required talent, passion and instruction would need roughly that amount of hard work to reach a professional level. Obviously it varies based on the individual.
Gemma, I wouldn't call it "common theory" but rather a common myth. The studies on brain plasticity has taught us a lot about how much one can learn at any age. Sports psychologists will tell you too that you can achieve anything physically if you know how to practice.
What do we mean by required talent? That means that the 10000 or so (if true...and i have my doubts) applies to some people and not the average person. Which means it would be a theorem of exception. I didnt read the book but does it asssume the exceptional (talent..which of course stands to be as nuanced as the idea of mastery, which Lydia pointed out).
For your information, Ray Chen posted this on his Instagram account earlier this year:
Wow, seems like Ray Chen is either unbelievably talented or just really knows how to be efficient! That doesn't seem like a huge amount of practice for someone who's now a soloist.
I have clocked at least 7,300 hours in past 10 years, and way more than that during my education year. Have definitely more than 14k under my chin. Methinks I am darn good, but still not even close to, say, James Ehnes, eh.
I am an adult amateur and I don't buy this at all. If this 10000 hr is valid, why aren't we seeing any adult beginner maturing into a Ray Chen or James Ehnes. While some adults players can play advanced repertoire, I doubt they can achieve a level of mastery of, say, an typical kid in the prep division of any major conservatory.
I'd bet if someone ran that golf experiment with violin-playing, they could get to a pretty high level of competence.
One interesting aspect of the golf article that no one has mentioned is the function of the peer group. One of the difficulties that the guy ran into was maintaining a peer group that was going to help motivate and challenge him.
Ballet and gymnastics rely heavily on shaping the body before the bones harden. Sure, there have been studies on violin that show muscle memory develops a lot easier as a kid, but those types of physical sports absolutely have to start in early childhood - there's no real debate about it unlike with music.
Perhaps a classical example of correlation mis-interpreted as causal connection.
That's true, I was just commenting on a few times I've seen ageism in the music industry with my own eyes.
Not sure if this is completely relevant, but as I currently learn from one of Ray Chen's old teachers, she has told me Ray was 9 years old when he finished Suzuki Book 10 (Mozart D major) and at age 13, he learnt the Tchaikovsky with her, and won multiple competitions.
Ray Chen is an extreme example. The question I have posted repeatedly on this forum is this: is there a publicly verifiable example of a raw adult beginner ( NOT returners ) who has achieved the level of a freeway philharmonic professional? A positive answer should significantly boost the argument of age deniers.
David, there are a few former v.com posters that would fall into that category, if you count late teens (17 to 19) as "adult".
"If this 10000 hr is valid, why aren't we seeing any adult beginner maturing into a Ray Chen or James Ehnes."
"Adult beginners aren't necessarily limited by talent, motivation, or hours. They are limited by self-consciousness." Scott has nailed it again. I'm not sure the lack of confidence is part of the talent issue or not, but I see this everyday playing among adult amateurs. Most of them at intermediate level for decades without seeing much improvement, even though they play a lot in orchestras and chamber groups. They usually don't take regular lessons, even though they can afford and have the time to do so. Reasons stated are simple: too old to learn certain techniques and solo repertories. They admire and intimidated by young advanced players so they avoid summer string camps or community orchestra where players are mostly kids. And then you'd hear more excuses such as "I didn't learn x,y,z when I was young so now it's too late", "we just want to have fun", etc.
"Adult beginners aren't necessarily limited by talent, motivation, or hours. They are limited by self-consciousness."
I would say, not self-consciousness, but the wrong type of focus (or the lack of).
Jason maybe that's where talent comes in? Apart from actually having the intellect to get to concerto-level repertoire, soloists seem to have an innate sense of interpretation and style that most other musicians fail to achieve.
Gemma, some people definitely have an innate sense of the music from the beginning:
I'm not talking about myself here, sorry if it came off that way. I was suggesting that people like Heifetz have an innate sense that the rest of us probably never will, no matter how hard we try.
Jason, to answer your question: "Yixi, I wonder if you had played another instrument or done something else very challenging as a child that might have provided you some crossover experience in this area?"
I think the golf/violin analogy misses the most important factor for a violinist which isn't technique but musicianship. In golf technique is all you need - there's no such thing as golfmanship. As Jason remarks, a certain portion of "great" musicianship is probably innate, but how do the rest of us acquire it at a more humble level? Not simply by clocking up the hours on practice, that's for sure. My friendly violin dealer sells a lot of violins to budding students and young professionals who have done the hours and, as he says, can play millions of notes but you wouldn't want to listen to any of them.
I’m not sure that an innate sense of interpretation/musicianship is innate/inborn.
Hmm. If the playing is not "sufficiently" in tune, in time, and with a nice sound, the musical part will tend to stay locked inside the player.
10,000 hrs over 15 years comes to about 2hrs a day
Adrian, of course, I’m not saying one shouldn’t practice, but very often, players stop at that, and correct technique becomes the end goal.
I believe 10,000 hours is meant to be a necessary condition, not a sufficient one.
I don't think I've reached my 10,000 hours yet. But the original study of violinists had an age 18 (pre-conservatory) hours of practice of about 3,400 for the music teachers; 5,300 for the good students; and 7,400 for the very best students. That suggests that the number of hours needed to achieve pre-conservatory preparation is significantly less than 10,000, and signals that you can get very good at the violin in that time.
I think Yixi's point on focusing on solo rep and technique is spot on. If playing second violin in a community orchestra is all one does, it will not get an adult student very far, no matter how many thousands of hours were involved.
I don't think it's the quantity of time a person uses that's necessarily as important as the quality of work done within the time. In Outliers, Gladwell makes a big deal about The Beatles playing for 8 hours a night in German clubs, and somehow getting 10,000 hours out of the whole thing. (The number is dubious, because they weren't in Germany long enough to acquire that many hours on stage.) Well, actually, on many of those nights, they split the bill with another band, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. Well, if Rory Storm and his band were putting in as many hours as The Beatles, why didn't they succeed like The Beatles? The answer, of course, is far more complicated than simply numbers. The Beatles were writing their own material, they ended up with a manager who really knew how to sell their music, they were willing to change from all leather outfits to tailored suits, they changed their haircuts, they stopped eating and swearing on stage, they found an excellent recording engineer, and on and on. Rory Storm and the Hurricanes had none of that with one exception. It seems their drummer, a guy named Richard Starkey aka Ringo Starr, was excellent. It also seems, with all those hours of work, that The Beatles drummer, Pete Best, wasn't good at keeping a steady beat. Even though he had all those hours on stage, he couldn't muster much beyond a basic 4/4 beat. Subsequently, The Beatles fired Pete, hired Ringo, and things moved forward. Again, it's not how much time you put in to the work. It's how well you use the time you have.
Remember that it's 10,000 hours of deliberate practice, too, not just "time spent doing the thing".
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