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10,000 Hours - Enough?
#3028738 09/24/20 10:06 PM
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It might be true that in order to master the piano you need to put in 10,000 hours practice. Is this sufficient though? I'm not talking about the number of hours, but other factors that may be necessary to mastery.

Some context. I'm an adult that returned to the instrument about eight months ago after a long break. I usually play between 2-3 hours per day, which would put me on track to 10,000 hours in 12 or so years (if you forget about the hours I put in during the 80's and 90's). I'm not happy with my progress though and am at the point of throwing in the towel. Should I be looking at getting a teacher? I can only afford one lesson per month.

10,000 hours for master - Both necessary and sufficient?

Last edited by L'Orfeo; 09/24/20 10:07 PM.

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Re: 10,000 Hours - Enough?
L'Orfeo #3028794 09/25/20 04:01 AM
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In regards to the 10,000 hours, I would say it varies so much- it depends on age, previous experience (which you said you'd had), dedication/commitment, and perhaps even just sheer musical adeptness. It's not like a binary switch where you can suddenly play anything after 10,000 hours; it's such a vague figure.
If you're enjoying it, definitely don't quit. Maybe if you feel like you're not getting 3 hours worth of returns, slide down to an hour a day and slowly work your way back up. I used to practice 4-5 hours a day and I had to learn the hard way that that was too much for my current level, so once I reigned it back in to about 2 hours a day, I started feeling like I was actually improving once again.

Re: 10,000 Hours - Enough?
L'Orfeo #3028797 09/25/20 04:19 AM
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Thats the issue of many adults, to be impatient and indeed to be expecting a faster progress. I think the 10 000 hours has nothing scientific to it. It is just to say that it takes a long time to master the instrument. That is probably also why most people quit after a year or 2, as they see too slow a progress and to be honnest piano requires daily practice, sometimes it is difficult to find 2 good hours of practice in the day, with the job, family, friends, other hobbies, .....

I think you should not look at this number as a reference. What is certain is that at the beginning, progress is slow. And there is no doubt that the progress depends on the number of hours you put in. But it gets better after 2 to 3 years, once you have passed the basics and can start playing more interesting pieces. What is important is that you enjoy doing what you do while doing it. Of course progress is important and eventually thats is what makes it also rewarding. But if you measure your satisfaction only by that criteria, you are more likely to quit. Like any hobby, you have to enjoy getting at the piano, even if you are playing simple pieces. Then every person has more or less abilities to play, some learn it faster than others. So average numbers dont tell much when it comes to individual cases.

The teacher question has been debated for pages and pages on this forum. I would say the general consensus is that a teacher is most recommended. It really depends on your ability to drive a learning program on your own. I would say few people have that capability. Once a month, in my view, is better than nothing, but ideally once a week is what is best. If you cant, the best you can do is to get method books, potentially also online teaching sessions and use a syllabus like RCM to understand the type of skills you should master at each level.

Re: 10,000 Hours - Enough?
L'Orfeo #3028802 09/25/20 04:32 AM
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The 10,000 hours rule is utter nonsense IMO. For starters, "mastery" is so vague as to be meaningless. Without an extremely excellent teacher and regular lessons improvement will be much slower or maybe almost non existent. And the dedication, innate talent, and concentration of the pupil are all major factors also.

Re: 10,000 Hours - Enough?
L'Orfeo #3028810 09/25/20 05:41 AM
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This 10,000 hour thing is that anyone who achieves mastery has still had to put in around 10,000 hours of the right practise.

It does not mean that putting in 10,000 of even the right practise, with the best teachers, and starting at the best age will lead to mastery. It's that copious amounts of talent, favourable genetics, and godly fortune still won't lead to mastery without 10,000 hours of directed effort, dedication, instruction etc.

ETA
Originally Posted by l'Orfeo
I'm an adult that returned to the instrument about eight months ago after a long break. I usually play between 2-3 hours per day, which would put me on track to 10,000 hours in 12 or so years (if you forget about the hours I put in during the 80's and 90's). I'm not happy with my progress though and am at the point of throwing in the towel. Should I be looking at getting a teacher? I can only afford one lesson per month.
If you're not enjoying your practise enough then throw in the towel. Playing piano is about enjoying practising more than enjoying what little achievements come along.

Last edited by zrtf90; 09/25/20 05:45 AM.

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Re: 10,000 Hours - Enough?
L'Orfeo #3028812 09/25/20 05:45 AM
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L'Orfeo.. The 10,000 hours number is an open-ended observation.

It's like a school diploma. If you graduate, we are Reasonably sure that you can do -This set- of things.

It's not a perfect metric, but in most cases, if you get 10,000 hours in, it's pretty difficult to be bad at whatever that thing is. You might not become a Hero-Unit like Langlang/Einstein, but a reasonably high level of competence is guaranteed.

We can say with confidence you won't suck after 10,000 hours.

Re: 10,000 Hours - Enough?
L'Orfeo #3028818 09/25/20 06:01 AM
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10000 hours is nonsense.

But a good teacher might help.

Sometimes you might need a different approach to overcome some technical limitations.

That is where an outside observer (teacher) might make a great difference.

Just a small advice on hand, arm, elbow position or about fingering, relaxing, phrasing might make a lot of improvement in your playing.

Re: 10,000 Hours - Enough?
L'Orfeo #3028822 09/25/20 06:15 AM
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It obviously varies from person to person, but personally, I think I just hit the 10000 hour mark pretty recently, and coincidentally I also finally feel confident about my playing and have managed to shed all my self-doubt.

I think if you have a very good teacher and are very disciplined about practicing, it can take much less. For example, I think it's possible to learn and master the 4 hardest Chopin etudes in 1 year if your teacher really knows what they're doing. The tiny little 11 year old kids who practically play like pros definitely don't have 10000 hours of practice under their belt.

The thing is, good teachers are rare, and extreme practice discipline is even more rare.

Last edited by trigalg693; 09/25/20 06:18 AM.
Re: 10,000 Hours - Enough?
L'Orfeo #3028835 09/25/20 07:39 AM
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You bought a new piano this year, presumably because you're set on re-starting piano seriously.

This was what you wrote in February:

Quote
I've decided to learn the Chopin Impromptu Fantasie: 45 years old, teacher-less and returned to piano playing a few months ago after a long hiatus. I don't think that the piece is beyond my abilities as I prepared for AMEB Grade 8 before adulthood and work got in the way.

Started playing this 2 days ago and am comfortable enough playing separate hands at speed in certain sections. My difficulty is in combining the two hands with the incessant three-against-four polyrhythms. I can play them very, very slowly with accuracy, but they become uneven if I try to speed things up at all.
What is your criteria for "making progress"? Playing the F-I perfectly now, since re-starting piano in January? If so, you're over-optimistic in the extreme: the F-I is way beyond AMEB Grade 8 in difficulty level. Give yourself two years - at least.

Why not learn less challenging pieces which are no less appealing to develop finger dexterity and polyrhythm playing - like Debussy's Arabesque No.1 and Schumann's Arabeske, possibly Chopin's Nocturne Op.9/1 and Brahms's Op.118/5 and Rachmaninov's Op.23/4?

You are at advanced level already - improvements from now on will be in small increments, and almost imperceptible. (I know, because I've been there.) But there is a lot of great music which is accessible to you, including very well-known masterworks from all great composers from Bach to Bartók via Beethoven and Brahms, much of which won't take you long to learn and master. I could easily name you a hundred of them right now, without having to look them up.

So, why not enjoy the journey and avail yourself of your skills from now on, instead of worrying about your progress (and your perceived lack of it)? Your skills will improve and keep on improving, and you'll surprise yourself by how much more easily you can play the same piece in six months' time compared to six months ago.

BTW, a good teacher who can teach advanced students will definitely help.....


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: 10,000 Hours - Enough?
trigalg693 #3028838 09/25/20 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by trigalg693
I think if you have a very good teacher and are very disciplined about practicing, it can take much less. For example, I think it's possible to learn and master the 4 hardest Chopin etudes in 1 year if your teacher really knows what they're doing.
You cannot be serious.

Unless your idea of "mastery" is very different from mine, or you're talking about a student who can already play all the other 20 Chopin etudes (leaving out the Nouvelles Etudes) like a pro.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: 10,000 Hours - Enough?
L'Orfeo #3028840 09/25/20 08:15 AM
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L’Orfeo
Your last post was that you found No joy in music anymore, and now this post is how long will it take for you to master the piano. I honestly think the two are related: since you are trying so hard to reach a goal of mastery that you’re not enjoying what you’re actually doing.

I hope you can step back, quit worrying about mastery and how many hours you play to reach it, and start playing music you love: irrespective of the genre or the difficulty. You need to rekindle your joy of playing or every other question is irrelevant.

IMHO playing the piano can never be mastered in that there are always new things to learn and explore.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: 10,000 Hours - Enough?
L'Orfeo #3028850 09/25/20 09:01 AM
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Well, there is the old adage - practice makes permanent, not perfect.

So, it kind'a depends what we spend our "10000" hours doing.

For me, if I get impatient, I start to play incorrectly (sloppy, tension, etc). Then, I realize, I am practicing how to play incorrectly. Then, I get very good at playing incorrectly. Then, fixing all this, as best I can, takes time. But I don't think it contributes efficiently to the magical "10000" hours.

Re: 10,000 Hours - Enough?
L'Orfeo #3028905 09/25/20 11:47 AM
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Don't believe in setting artificial targets after a decade of playing. Some people would stay in their comfort zone and play pieces at the same level for a year while others like myself would learn more challenging pieces once in a while.

There are more pieces written for piano as solo and with other instruments to last a lifetime. The most I would hope for is to get good at reading so I can learn new pieces easily. If I hear a piece on the radio that I like, I'd try to find the sheet music online whether the arrangement is beginner, intermediate or advanced. Playing music needs to be enjoyable than just learning techniques.

Re: 10,000 Hours - Enough?
L'Orfeo #3028922 09/25/20 12:36 PM
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Fantasie impromptu is NOT hard. Many ADULTS manage to play it 9 months into starting piano.

It just looks hard. But the rhythm is extremely straightforward to pick up played slowly.

Re: 10,000 Hours - Enough?
L'Orfeo #3028948 09/25/20 02:02 PM
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10,000 hours is just the average.

Talented individuals need less time.

Challenged individuals need more time.

The range is wide.


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Re: 10,000 Hours - Enough?
jeffcat #3028952 09/25/20 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by jeffcat
Fantasie impromptu is NOT hard. Many ADULTS manage to play it 9 months into starting piano.

It just looks hard.
Of course you're right, as always.

Show me one.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: 10,000 Hours - Enough?
bennevis #3028962 09/25/20 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by trigalg693
I think if you have a very good teacher and are very disciplined about practicing, it can take much less. For example, I think it's possible to learn and master the 4 hardest Chopin etudes in 1 year if your teacher really knows what they're doing.
You cannot be serious.

Unless your idea of "mastery" is very different from mine, or you're talking about a student who can already play all the other 20 Chopin etudes (leaving out the Nouvelles Etudes) like a pro.

I'm completely serious. I obviously don't mean a beginner can do this, I mean someone who could learn the other Chopin etudes in a reasonable amount of time.

I've seen pre-teens learn 25/6 or 10/2 and play it perfectly at speed in only 2-3 months, with only 3-4 hours of practice a day. Having a teacher point out the correct hand movements, fixing any ergonomic mistakes, and setting up a good practice routine makes it possible.

By contrast, I took a year to be able to play 25/6 because I practiced with poor ergonomics and had to unlearn and relearn over and over until I figured out the most comfortable way to play it for myself.

Last edited by trigalg693; 09/25/20 03:00 PM.
Re: 10,000 Hours - Enough?
trigalg693 #3028968 09/25/20 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by trigalg693
[
I'm completely serious. I obviously don't mean a beginner can do this, I mean someone who could learn the other Chopin etudes in a reasonable amount of time.

I've seen pre-teens learn 25/6 or 10/2 and play it perfectly at speed in only 2-3 months, and these are not your practice-8-hours-a-day crazy prodigies. Having a teacher point out the correct hand movements, fixing any ergonomic mistakes, and setting up a good practice routine makes it possible.

.
In which case, you're talking about people who have had extensive training from a young age, and developed a near-virtuoso technique to conservatory level - which hardly applies to the OP.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: 10,000 Hours - Enough?
bennevis #3028973 09/25/20 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by jeffcat
Fantasie impromptu is NOT hard. Many ADULTS manage to play it 9 months into starting piano.

It just looks hard.
Of course you're right, as always.

Show me one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqsibzAiIBs
This video is obviously completely honest. It's from Youtube after all and no one would EVER be dishonest on the internet. whistle

Then there's this kid...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZ829mLG9F0

Last edited by rkzhao; 09/25/20 03:18 PM.
Re: 10,000 Hours - Enough?
L'Orfeo #3028974 09/25/20 03:23 PM
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It's about the journey, not the destination. If you are not finding pleasure in the day-to-day practice, then why would you torture yourself for 10000 hours? Find pleasure in practicing and making music every day, and don't worry about how proficient you might become. In 10 years you will have 10 years of music to look back on. If you quit, in 10 years you will have - nothing.

Sam

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