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#1447796 - 06/01/10 01:53 AM It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession..  
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...makes a person "world-class" in that profession. Is that true with piano?


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#1447801 - 06/01/10 02:15 AM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: Skorpius]  
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"Quantity" is no guarantee of "quality."


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#1447803 - 06/01/10 02:20 AM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: Carey]  
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Originally Posted by carey
"Quantity" is no guarantee of "quality."


It is, however, a virtual guarantee that someone is spamming the Pianist Corner with posts of questionable usefulness.


Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
#1447840 - 06/01/10 04:26 AM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: Horowitzian]  
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I feel like that number has been tossed around a lot ever since "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell came out a couple years ago. He makes a good case that this is a reasonable benchmark (if I remember he used beetles/bill gates/others as examples). But most of his analysis was focussed on people who became very successful by reaching 10,000 hours of "practice" before competitors (bill gates with computer access/programming time, beetles playing 40 hours/week in Germany, conservatory students applying to orchestras, etc.) They then built on this status as "leaders" to expand their successes.

When it comes to music, I'm inclined to think that if someone has actually spent 10,000 hours PRACTICING THOROUGHLY (which I'd say I do 30% of the time I actually spend sitting at the piano) then they would have technical faculties at the professional level for sure. They might not be recognized by "the public" because that's a whole other issue, but they would certainly "pros" and I believe most would be able to do a good job supporting themselves with their musical skills.

Interesting to do the math on this. I for example play an average of 2 hours / day, so:

10000 / (2 hours/day * 365 days/year * 30% "real practice time") = about 46 years ....

but for those who are really serious...

10000 / (6 hours/day * 365 days/year * 70% "real practice time" = around 7 years

seems reasonable what do you guys think?


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#1447890 - 06/01/10 08:04 AM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: kmd11]  
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kmd11,

<<<<<
Re:
10000 / (2 hours/day * 365 days/year * 30% "real practice time") = about 46 years ....

but for those who are really serious...

10000 / (6 hours/day * 365 days/year * 70% "real practice time" = around 7 years
>>>>

If you google this topic, you'll find that it's 10000 hours of "Deliberate Practice", which stresses goal orientation and that correct mentoring and a good teacher are also important.

I think I understand your 30% and 70% reductions of "real practice time", but it could be far worse and without the correct practice technique that satisfies the "Deliberate Practice" specs then in a worse case scenario none of any 'intuitive practice' may count...

I wonder whether there's a minimum time of e.g. 2 hours deliberate practice a day that enables one to "burst the bubble", and in a manner analagous to the old "compound interest" maths graphs (interest on the interest on the interest), enable real progress to kick off and accelerate away?




#1448006 - 06/01/10 11:41 AM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: EJR]  
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I don't think it's ever true since brain plasticity isn't the same for everyone.

#1448080 - 06/01/10 01:30 PM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: FunkyLlama]  
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I'm sure almost anyone spending that amount of time on serious playing would be playing like a pro (assuming he has no serious disabilities of course)


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#1448084 - 06/01/10 01:32 PM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: kmd11]  
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Originally Posted by Skorpius
It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.....makes a person "world-class" in that profession. Is that true with piano?


It isn't true with anything.

"It is often said " A lot of stuff is often said. What sources? Oprah & friends?????

This would be in my sig other than the fact that the Colbert quote is funnier.

"The most common misconception surrounding the 10,000 hours theory (which I cannot take credit for, it comes from Herb Simon, and then elaborated by John Hays) is this: 10,000 hours does not IN ANY WAY guarantee that you will be an expert. Rather, there are no cases of an expert who did it in less. 10,000 hours is, in logical parlance, a NECESSARY but not a SUFFICIENT condition for expertise."
Daniel Levitin

http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=99195416598&topic=10561

This is why we're not tripping over "experts"........we are tripping over self-help nonsense though.

Originally Posted by kmd11
But most of his analysis was focussed on people who became very successful by reaching 10,000 hours of "practice" before competitors (bill gates with computer access/programming time, beetles playing 40 hours/week in Germany, conservatory students applying to orchestras, etc.) They then built on this status as "leaders" to expand their successes.



Considers the Beatles didn't have his golden number when they broke why make the point? The book borders on numerology except he is only looking for one number. He whips out the 10,000 hour ruler again though later.

There were a few Beatles documentaries last year. I remember this....

"SIR GEORGE MARTIN thought THE BEATLES were "awful" and "crap" when he first heard them perform"
http://www.contactmusic.com/news.ns...atles-at-the-beginning-were-crap_1020920

I'm going with George Martin's assessment.

What teenage girls where evaluating how well be played live?

How many hours did Elvis have under his belt before he became famous? Where is Gladwell's ruler now?

When did the Spice Girls do their first live gig? 15 months after their single "Wannabe".


Originally Posted by kmd11


10000 / (6 hours/day * 365 days/year * 70% "real practice time" = around 7 years

seems reasonable what do you guys think?


There is no such thing as a formula that guarantees success. Unless we are the Sci-fi inspired Borg or Cylons we can't make predictions on transfer rates of data, or the what the data is. Real Practice or Deep Practice is abstract. That leaves too much room for interpretation where you can chat about what Deep Practice can mean.

Neurologists are looking at brain-structures, both MRI and fMRI etc learning the map of the brain and see that people have different set-ups. The same with Genetic research.

On the other hand we have "yes you can" books, that are often said....why does this info spread faster?



#1448089 - 06/01/10 01:37 PM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: Devane]  
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I recently gained a self-taught student in his seventies who has been playing the piano all his life.

Thousands of hours, and he plays atrociously.


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#1448099 - 06/01/10 01:48 PM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: rocket88]  
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Originally Posted by rocket88
I recently gained a self-taught student in his seventies who has been playing the piano all his life.

Thousands of hours, and he plays atrociously.


And old habits die hard...especially for people past 70. Good luck. wink


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#1448112 - 06/01/10 02:05 PM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: rocket88]  
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Originally Posted by rocket88
I recently gained a self-taught student in his seventies who has been playing the piano all his life.

Thousands of hours, and he plays atrociously.


whome wow

I can just imagine that!

I heard about the 10,000 hour theory in grad school. Actually, my professor had to explain that it's 10 years of serious, disciplined study that enables a person to become an expert.

That still does not explain why some 9-year-old kids play better than I do.


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#1448115 - 06/01/10 02:08 PM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: Horowitzian]  
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i thought in OUTLIERS that gladwell said it is 10,000 hours to mastery. not career success or fame.

they aren't the same thing.

to say that anyone who has mastered a discipline has spent at least 10K hours at it is not at all the same thing as saying that ANYONE who practices for 10K hours will achieve mastery.


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#1448227 - 06/01/10 05:43 PM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: piqué]  
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The 10,000 hours seems to completely ignore the talent factor. Some people have so little natural ability that no amount of practice would alllow them to reach a particular level or "mastery" or "world class" or anything else.

It's much more reasonable to try and formulate a statement that for most people some minimum of x hours is needed to reach level y.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 06/01/10 05:49 PM.
#1448236 - 06/01/10 05:53 PM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Gladwell's analysis seemed to deemphasize talent in favor of practice and opportunity. I quickly grew annoyed with his premise and stopped reading the book. I could "practice" drawing for the next 10,000 hours and never be any good. I don't have the ability. I knew guys in law school who studied 3 times more than the rest of us, but they struggled to make Bs. Everybody doesn't have the same abilities, and it's folly to pretend that they do.

#1448257 - 06/01/10 06:36 PM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: wdot]  
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I've never heard such a thing. 10,000 hours is five years of 40 hour weeks. There's folks in every profession with five years of full time experience who are not world class.

#1448290 - 06/01/10 07:38 PM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: Ludwig van Bilge]  
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I interpreted the book differently from some of you folks: I read it that IF you're going to be good, 10,000 hours is about how long it takes. For me, that was almost exactly how long it took for me to get to the point where I was skillful enough with my tools to do exactly what I wanted, without hesitation and without mistakes, every time.. . . that is, how long it took to feel "at one" with my tools and the process.

#1448422 - 06/01/10 10:33 PM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: Michael Darnton]  
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Originally Posted by Michael Darnton
I interpreted the book differently from some of you folks: I read it that IF you're going to be good, 10,000 hours is about how long it takes. For me, that was almost exactly how long it took for me to get to the point where I was skillful enough with my tools to do exactly what I wanted, without hesitation and without mistakes, every time.. . . that is, how long it took to feel "at one" with my tools and the process.


I will agree, so long as you change "if you're going to be good" to "if you will ever be good." That will account for differences in innate ability. Which, I still contend, the author discounted without any real basis.

#1448904 - 06/02/10 04:45 PM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: wdot]  
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The Gladwell book is a little more subtle than some seem to think. In the section on Noble prize winners, he clearly points out that for scientific achievement there is a minimum "talent" benchmark - an IQ of 130 or so. But after that achievement seems well correlated with hard work.
Those who studied musical achievement didn't address the minimum talent level issue because they were dealing with conservatory students, who had presumably passed the entry level of talent. Once admitted to the Curtis Institute, the theory goes, it is hard work that will get you to the top (together with the with the normal helping of good luck and good looks to ease the way to bookings and recordings and rave reviews).

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#1448907 - 06/02/10 04:52 PM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: OddTemperament]  
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....if everybody had the same level of talent and intelligence..

#1449037 - 06/02/10 07:37 PM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: OddTemperament]  
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Originally Posted by OddTemperament

Those who studied musical achievement didn't address the minimum talent level issue because they were dealing with conservatory students, who had presumably passed the entry level of talent. Once admitted to the Curtis Institute, the theory goes, it is hard work that will get you to the top...
I would think that those that get into Curtis would, for the most part, have have stratoshperic levels of talent.

#1449199 - 06/03/10 01:46 AM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: pianoloverus]  
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For those who may not have read this previously regarding 10000 hours and the role of deliberate practice, one of the key papers is here


#1449554 - 06/03/10 03:05 PM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: EJR]  
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Great paper Elwyn!

I'm not sure anyone has mentioned interest. 10,000 hours of forced drudgery won't produce much except memories of being bored. 10,000 hours devoted to something you're interested in will produce results, although having good mentoring will save much trouble (you don't have to re-invent the wheel!) Menachem Pressler pointed this out once in a master class, telling the students that they'd be able to discover the things he was teaching them by themselves, but that his job was to save them time. Perhaps he was a bit too modest, but there is some truth there.


There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians
#1449675 - 06/03/10 05:53 PM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by OddTemperament

Those who studied musical achievement didn't address the minimum talent level issue because they were dealing with conservatory students, who had presumably passed the entry level of talent. Once admitted to the Curtis Institute, the theory goes, it is hard work that will get you to the top...
I would think that those that get into Curtis would, for the most part, have have stratoshperic levels of talent.


I suspect that the theorists in the field would say a minimum level of talent and a stratospheric level of hard work. But the tautologist in me wants to define "minimum level of talent" as that level which makes a kid able to make sounds that he or she is happy to listen to for 8 hours a day. The sounds I made as a kid, for instance, did not invite much repetition.


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#1449926 - 06/04/10 02:38 AM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: OddTemperament]  
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"10,000 hours is five years of 40 hour weeks. There's folks in every profession with five years of full time experience who are not world class."

Yes but it's not possible for most people to study seriously and concentrated 40 hours per week. "Full time experience" does not equal serious study.


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#1449977 - 06/04/10 07:56 AM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: wouter79]  
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Maybe...

"Talent" = the ability to do the 10,000 hours of deliberate practice by which you acquire expert performance. That is, you can't put a square peg into a round hole.

Another figure in a similar vein, and perhaps more achievable is 1500 hours to become "competent".

I was watching the Christopher Nupen's Evgenny Kissin documentary again recently in which he describes being able to 'play' piano all day but only 'practice' for 1hour when he started, then after several years this increased to up to 4hours of practice. I think this illustrates that practice is very hard work, even when talented.

#1450067 - 06/04/10 10:56 AM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: Horowitzian]  
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Originally Posted by Horowitzian
Originally Posted by carey
"Quantity" is no guarantee of "quality."


It is, however, a virtual guarantee that someone is spamming the Pianist Corner with posts of questionable usefulness.


I take offense to this, Mr. Horowitzian. cool


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#1450193 - 06/04/10 02:09 PM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: Devane]  
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Originally Posted by Devane
"The most common misconception surrounding the 10,000 hours theory (which I cannot take credit for, it comes from Herb Simon, and then elaborated by John Hays) is this: 10,000 hours does not IN ANY WAY guarantee that you will be an expert. Rather, there are no cases of an expert who did it in less. 10,000 hours is, in logical parlance, a NECESSARY but not a SUFFICIENT condition for expertise."
Daniel Levitin



I think we might agree with "necessary BUT NOT sufficient" as a matter of common sense.

Gladwell suggested that it might very well be necessary AND sufficient. That's a comforting thought - it might be that most of us possess that minimal level of talent that allows success. He couldn't find anyone who put in the 10,000 hours and failed. Of course as pointed out he was dealing with a truncated distribution. But the same distribution did not produce success with the 3,000 to 5,000 hour students.

If there is anything to the efficiency of practice idea, then the true number is smaller. There is no way all those 10,000 hour students were 100% efficient at practice. Perhaps the real efficiency number for them was 60%, in which case 6,000 hours is the true number. The 3,000 - 5,000 hour students who were in a clearly separated category must have a similar efficiency number, or there wouldn't be a clean cutoff.

I suggest there is also a natural decline in efficiency with age. A ten year old practicing 10,000 hours at 60% effort will succeed where a 50 year old will not. So the true number is 10,000 x (efficiency percentage)x (age correction factor, such that 0 < AGC < 1).



gotta go practice
#1450196 - 06/04/10 02:12 PM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: TimR]  
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I would also add that Gladwell's birthday analysis is supportive of his "practice trumps talent" thesis.

The hockey and other sports players born early in the year succeeded where the rest did not. That can't be talent - there is no evidence to support talent being affected by the birthday factor. But clearly the exposure to practice and coaching was strongly influenced by the birthdates.


gotta go practice
#1450233 - 06/04/10 03:11 PM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: TimR]  
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My feeling is that whenever people mention the 10,000 hour thing, people usually don't take into account the other important factors that people like Gladwell mentions in his book. Practicing 10,000 alone won't do it.

I am reading a book by Joshua Waitzkin called "The Art of Learning", It's interesting how he attribute his success in chess and tachi not on his talent , but his enviroment and his overall attitude in life. I am kind of seeing a common theme between Gladwell and Watizkin... for them successful people have the following things going for them.

1-They happen to have great teacher who taught very strong fundamentals at the beggining stages of their development.

2-They had an enviroment that allowed them to test what they learned on a regular basis, and learn from peers who were better than they are

3-The intensity in which they practiced(and was able to) their craft

4-the ability to detach themselves from their expectations and their need to produce results when they were developing, and not rush through things like most of us do.

5-And most importantly, their willingness to fail and learn from their mistake.

I would say that one's circumstance (and whehter one practices 10,000 hours or not have) a lot to do with your success. If you grow up in a family that focused too much on getting results, it may make it that much harder for you to improve, because you might not know how to cope with and learn from your failures.

I remember reading about how Victor Wooten was playing bass when he was like 3 years old and how music was just a natural part of his life because everyone in his family played music. I think hard work is important, but having the right work ethic, right attitude, and being in the right place at the right time, all these things contribute to one's success.. in some ways whether you practice 10,000 hrs or not is just a natural bi-product of these circumstance. They already had the passion for it when they were young, and they had everything going for them to feed that fire.

For me the bottom line is that the line between talent/enviroment does seem very obscure. do some people have better learning curve than others because they were born into it, or does it have more to do with having the right attitude and support at an earlier age?

It's funny, I just remembered Julia Cameron's saying similar things book "the artist's way".. she talks about how successful people get there because they had the "audacity" to take center stage (regardless of whehter they deserve it or not at that time) and how important it is to practice and create free from expectations and immediate results.

Last edited by etcetra; 06/04/10 03:28 PM.
#1450275 - 06/04/10 04:13 PM Re: It is often said that 10,000 hours in a certain profession.. [Re: etcetra]  
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Originally Posted by etcetra


I am reading a book by Joshua Waitzkin called "The Art of Learning", It's interesting how he attribute his success in chess and tachi not on his talent , but his enviroment and his overall attitude in life.






Don't have time at the moment to agree or disagree but I saw the word "chess" .

Horizon - What Makes a Genius?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROBU2TJxUzk#t=2m43s

People should watch the whole thing. Its pretty balanced. I tend to be more interested on whats going on in your head.
There is another documentary on Susan Polgar the Chess player and her brain scan was very interesting too.

It a bank-holiday weekend and it sunny here cool

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