2022 our 25th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
49 members (alans, Ed McMorrow, RPT, AndrewJCW, Carey, 36251, ChickenBrother, BMKE, Dore, 10 invisible), 539 guests, and 276 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 3 of 5 1 2 3 4 5
Joined: Apr 2020
Posts: 123
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Apr 2020
Posts: 123
You can read the history of 10 000 hours here:
https://wisdomgroup.com/blog/10000-hours-of-practice/

Joined: Feb 2020
Posts: 326
K
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
K
Joined: Feb 2020
Posts: 326
Being gifted is one thing, but overall, practice is really the determining factor and thus determination becomes at least equally important as talent or intelligence.

The 10000h fit my observations well - and that of research in the field as far as I know: People with slightly above average IQ that are determined tend to be more successful than people with much higher IQ without such determination. Of course you have people who are super gifted and have infinite patience and determination.

I find this quite comforting to be honest: on average, if you keep at it, success is inevitable.

Plus, perhaps more important: much of intelligence is genetically determined but being persistent is something that can be learned - and be taught by parents, teachers, etc. by setting examples.

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 33,012
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 33,012
Originally Posted by Keybender
Being gifted is one thing, but overall, practice is really the determining factor and thus determination becomes at least equally important as talent or intelligence.

The 10000h fit my observations well - and that of research in the field as far as I know: People with slightly above average IQ that are determined tend to be more successful than people with much higher IQ without such determination. Of course you have people who are super gifted and have infinite patience and determination.

I find this quite comforting to be honest: on average, if you keep at it, success is inevitable.

Plus, perhaps more important: much of intelligence is genetically determined but being persistent is something that can be learned - and be taught by parents, teachers, etc. by setting examples.
I think this is just opinion.

Re "if you keep at it, success is inevitable" I think that depends on what you mean by "success". Plenty of people play a lot of tennis or golf, but very few reach a professional level and many play at a very poor level despite decades of playing.

Most of the greatest pianists were incredibly good at a very young age, so I would say that was mostly a question of their great talent. They hadn't lived long enough for it to be mostly a question of time spent practicing.

Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 206
S
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
S
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 206
Originally Posted by Keybender
Being gifted is one thing, but overall, practice is really the determining factor and thus determination becomes at least equally important as talent or intelligence.

The 10000h fit my observations well - and that of research in the field as far as I know: People with slightly above average IQ that are determined tend to be more successful than people with much higher IQ without such determination. Of course you have people who are super gifted and have infinite patience and determination.

I find this quite comforting to be honest: on average, if you keep at it, success is inevitable.

Keybender, I have to confess my bafflement concerning how the hypothesis of your last sentence is logically inferrable from your preceding ones. Please enlighten me (and anyone else of us sharing my bafflement) by spelling out your steps of reasoning.

Also, please say how would you go about empirically obtaining evidence that decisively demonstrates your hypothesis' truth, evidence that can be replicated consistently across different tests and an adequately representative cross-section of learners? Because, in my observation as a piano-teacher there seems to be no end of contrary evidence, The vast majority of conventionally taught and self-taught learners (who would represent statistically the average that you make reference to) reach performance/learning plateaus that no number of hours of determined, persitent practising overcomes. And I'm thoroughly aware my own observation isn't unique and unreplicated. Understanding how to overcome performance plateaus has always been a fundamental pedagogical challenge and goal, and that too - over the course of 150 and more years of determined, persistent effort - clearly has yet to be successfully resolved.


Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Albert Einstein

https://understanding-piano-technique.com/ocportal
Joined: Aug 2020
Posts: 219
R
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
R
Joined: Aug 2020
Posts: 219
Originally Posted by Scordatura
Originally Posted by Keybender
...
I find this quite comforting to be honest: on average, if you keep at it, success is inevitable.
...
Keybender, I have to confess my bafflement concerning how the hypothesis of your last sentence is logically inferrable from your preceding ones. Please enlighten me (and anyone else of us sharing my bafflement) by spelling out your steps of reasoning.

Sentiments about how hard work = success is mostly just a feel good comment. Do people not say things like that in the UK?

I'd agree that those type of sentiments are somewhat false and misleading but some people like having that illusion for motivation.

Like most of these things, there's some truth in the sentiment. Effort is more crucial to success than raw talent. Both are needed to some degree for true success. However, to you point, the effort and work needs to be actually applied in the correct direction to actually be meaningful. Applying effort in the wrong direction will still get you somewhere, just not necessarily where you want to be.

If piano learning is compared to a journey, then you would need to keep putting in effort to move forward. A teacher is a navigator to point you in a direction and help identify potential traps along the way. However, not all navigators are created equal and a bad one can certainly point you in the wrong direction. Self learning with online material is essentially trying to progress through the journey with only an partial map, written in a foreign language.

Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 2,644
T
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
T
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 2,644
A lot depends on how much a person wants to get out of music education. Even after we mastered different techniques of playing, there are enough pieces to last a lifetime.

A few years ago I met a man who started learning piano. For his whole life he just wanted to play 1 piece and started learning from a few online demos. He never claimed to master reading music, a Beethoven or Mozart sonata which he had no interest. Not learning from a teacher he is not moving up a ladder step by step. He learned his piece sufficiently in 3 months to be able to play it in front of other people a bit under-tempo. Give him another 10,000 hours he would just be playing the same piece and not bother learning to read properly or add more pieces to his limited repertoire.

I don't like to compare myself to other people. I don't push myself to play the most difficult pieces and tend to stay with intermediate ones. I belong to a music group and tend to be conscious taking the less challenging pieces to a performance level. I can easily play pieces I learned recently on a public piano with/without anybody watching. Give me another 10,000h I'd be adding more pieces to my repertoire but these wouldn't be at an advanced level.

Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,111
R
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
R
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,111
I think in psychology, while it is generally accepted that talents/giftedness exists, it is not clear how exactly they result in learning plateaus. In other words, while someone with an average IQ is statistically speaking not going to be able to study General Relativity in their lifetime, it's not clear what the processes are which result in that inability.

I think many of the same things happen with piano playing. It baffles me how people often give up on playing citing plateauing, when their practice method is clearly very inefficient. Even when you point out to them exactly the steps they need to take in order to improve, they just don't do it, and claim that they just aren't talented! As with most other subjects, it feels like that someone could just do the *right thing* and they would progress, but they just don't!

In my personal experience, the problem usually arises when you have to go one level "meta" in order to understand the concept. Let's take the example of calculus. You first learn algebra. Then, you learn trigonometry, where you need to be so fluent with algebra that you've basically taken it for granted. And then you learn calculus where you need to be similarly fluent with trigonometry. And why do people get stuck? It's because you have to inherently think at higher and higher levels of abstraction in order to be able to understand the concepts. Once you're learning trigonometry, algebra should be basically as easy as arithmetic to you, and so on. You need to be able to think about algebra as an entity in its own right.

Compare that to when you're initially learning algebra. You probably think of numbers, and the algebraic equations as in some sense representing them. It is a tedious step-by-step process. You need to, at some point, make the jump from this step-by-step process, to being able to think purely in terms of the symbols. Now, some people will be able to make this jump immediately, and algebra will become trivial to them. Trigonometry may as well, and they will be able to comprehend calculus very early on. While others aren't, for some reason or another, able to make that jump in abstraction. They keep thinking in a linear fashion about algebra, and don't get to a point where they can understand trig/calculus. What results in this difference? It's hard to say. But you need to convey to someone, somehow, that they need to really try and make that jump. Otherwise, they will never be able to overcome the plateau. How do you do that? That's a very hard question to answer.

That's what I think most learning is like -- easy, easy, easy, PLATEAU! And you need to learn to think in a slightly different way every time you hit some plateau like that. Some people just get stuck in their old thought patterns and never manage to overcome it. That's why I keep telling people to keep varying how they study and practice. You need to try and acquire a set of meta-skills which you can use once you inevitably hit that plateau.

To continue the navigator analogy, suppose you were on a journey to a place which was a thousand miles south. Initially, you knew that the river would lead south, and you keep following the river (the easy part -- success is just based on the effort you put in). But that leads to a forest. Now you're lost. In order to continue the journey, you need to figure out some other strategy, for example, that you should now follow the migratory birds.

Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 2,644
T
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
T
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 2,644
The "plateau" is as good as some people can achieve. And there is the "eureka" moment. When you get stuck on something, you try different ways to solve the problem and eventually get the answer.

In my younger days I was considered a slow learner. I had a few piano lessons at age 10. Playing the C-scale was completely new. I had no concept of melody & accompaniment besides copying the teacher's hand positions. Even learning my first song "Twinkle" in 1 month was at a glacial pace. I picked up piano again in my 30s and have gone much further.

Many parents enrolled their kids into a music program or with a teacher. And many would travel without a road map or a plan what kind of music they want to get into or how long it would take to get there. Coming from a non-musical family, I'd follow instructions from a teacher with no expectation the type of music I'd be learning or how far I'd progress. My only role model was my sister who was also a complete beginner. She was as clueless as I was. Fast forward a few decades we have access to the Internet. I had some idea the pieces I'd be learning by watching online student repertoire. At least I know where I'm going. If you want to learn anything, it's a good idea to do some research on it and have some expectations how far we'd go.

The first thing to success in learning is personal interest & inclination. Somebody who likes languages would naturally pick up a foreign language without much effort. Even the hours he/she puts into practice doesn't seem to be a big deal. Suppose you try to teach total beginners how to play an easy song and let them work on it for an hour. When time is up, you can tell who is ready for serious piano playing and who is not.

Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 3,266
D
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
D
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 3,266
in this terrible corona-time I am revisiting a lot of 'old' pieces, f.i. all the Beethoven sonatas I have ever played/performed/wanted to play. I came to the conclusion that some of my former fingerings weren't all that efficient, so I changed them, the result is that I have to re-study those passages, and sometimes I am back to the dire beginnings, that means that I have to look upon those all too familiar masterpieces with new eyes and new fingers, it's a revelation, I become a better pianist. All the hours spent before are not lost, but the hours spent on learning will never end, 10.000 is a non-entity.


Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 309
F
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
F
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 309
I heard about the 10000 hours study before I re-started and in fact it was one of the things that induced me to re-start. I figured by the time I hit my late 60s I would reach the 10000 hour level.

My progress has been slower than expected. But it's also been much more enjoyable than when I was a teen.

At 10000 hours I expect to have a pretty good idea of how to play piano but I have no illusion that I'll be any kind of expert. In college more than a few fellow piano students had been playing 12-15 years and they still had lots to learn despite being advanced pianists. Piano simply takes forever to achieve expertise.

The best way to find out how long it takes to learn piano is to survey pianists. How long have you played? What can you play? How well do you play? There should be a poll like that somewhere but I don't know of one.


Just do it. -- Nike
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,111
R
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
R
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,111
When you're trying to find the theoretical limit for how fast you can learn, ideally you should not consider the hours which were wasted, because if you had spent that time differently, you would have progressed faster. My hunch is that once you have remove the time wasted on all of those inefficiencies, what time remains is closer to the amount of time it would actually take you to get there.

For example, many people don't improve their sight reading initially, and later on learn advanced pieces by sight-reading through them very slowly and ineffectively, and I would consider this to be time wasted. Or if you don't challenge yourself enough/play things way above your level, or while away time giving yourself a performance as opposed to actually practicing. Or if you mindlessly practice technical exercises.

Then there might be many things you aren't considering. Ear training may be the key to overcoming technical/sight-reading/interpretation difficulties. A technical issue may be caused by chunking phrases incorrectly in your head. Or the key to unlocking something might be rhythm exercises, or improvisation, or music theory/composition lessons.

Only once you have exhausted all of these possibilities, given it enough time, and still aren't progressing can you really say you've hit your limit imo.

If you ensure that you're actually practicing effectively, I can't see why most people can't progress pretty fast. That may well be a 4-5x factor in terms of efficiency between typical practice, and effective practice. What efficiency level of practice do you consider when you talk about the 10000 hour rule. And this is completely ignoring the fact that the very best pianists seem to be operating at a completely different level altogether, being capable of memorizing entire concertos in a week or less (Argerich for example).

Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 15,686
B
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 15,686
Originally Posted by ranjit
My hunch is that once you have remove the time wasted on all of those inefficiencies, what time remains is closer to the amount of time it would actually take you to get there.

If you ensure that you're actually practicing effectively, I can't see why most people can't progress pretty fast. That may well be a 4-5x factor in terms of efficiency between typical practice, and effective practice.
Why are you so intent on progressing fast, and why do you keep saying that people who don't aren't practicing properly/efficiently?

What experience do you have of piano students? Are you going to blame them for their "ineffective practicing" if they 'only' manage to progress at the rate of one grade a year (i.e. average - like me)?

In the ABF, there are lots of beginners who have a completely unrealistic and skewed idea of the rate of progress that they "should" be achieving........and they give up when they can't manage La Campanella within a year. Is it their fault for not practicing 'efficiently' and 'effectively'?
Quote
And this is completely ignoring the fact that the very best pianists seem to be operating at a completely different level altogether, being capable of memorizing entire concertos in a week or less (Argerich for example).
Of course we are. None of us are Argerich, and hardly any of us have photographic memories.

Are you, and do you?


"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."
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 2,644
T
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
T
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 2,644
10,000h is an artificial number. Some people would learn challenging pieces within the first 5 years of picking up piano while others like myself tend to stick to pieces at an intermediate level. I learn more pieces over many years and sight-reading improves. Some people would learn several difficult pieces and work on them for years without adding new pieces.

We all tend to recycle pieces we like and comfortable playing. I don't have an issue relearning an old piece like Bach Italian concerto in F.

Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,111
R
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
R
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,111
Originally Posted by bennevis
Why are you so intent on progressing fast, and why do you keep saying that people who don't aren't practicing properly/efficiently?

You know, actually here I was just questioning the "10000 hour rule". I wasn't belittling anyone progressing slowly. I was just disagreeing that they should use the '10000 hour rule' to explain away how long they are taking to learn. My point was just that in order for the 10000 hour rule to be true, you would actually need to keep stock of the hours spent practicing effectively or otherwise. I personally think the rule is a load of bs, that's all. smile

Originally Posted by bennevis
In the ABF, there are lots of beginners who have a completely unrealistic and skewed idea of the rate of progress that they "should" be achieving........and they give up when they can't manage La Campanella within a year.
This is unfortunate, and I agree. I try to never talk about progress in terms of the number of years/hours it takes. I tend to think of progress in terms of how effective practice strategies are, and am always trying to find interesting/counterintuitive ideas on how to practice, which actually work well. In my experience with most of the people I have met, however, the reason for slow progress is always in the ways they practice and go about things. My interest is in the hypothetical -- assuming an excellent practice strategy and progress plan with no obvious omissions and a mind capable of thinking critically, what is the best way to go about things in order to achieve the best result? You can think of it as a kind of pure intellectual curiosity, if you wish. And I have experimented with things, come up with some ideas which I have found to be useful beyond my initial expectations (and eventually led to me being more successful as a self-taught piano student than anyone else I know), and shared them on the forum, which people are free to critique. I wouldn't be surprised if plenty of people have came to similar conclusions as me before -- I just share my ideas because I find them exciting to think about. And in the spirit of good discussion, the best ideas win out eventually, amirite?

Originally Posted by bennevis
Of course we are. None of us are Argerich, and hardly any of us have photographic memories.
Again, my point was only in reference to the 10000 hour rule. I wasn't asking anyone to be an Argerich.

Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 206
S
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
S
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 206
Originally Posted by rkzhao
Originally Posted by Scordatura
Originally Posted by Keybender
...
I find this quite comforting to be honest: on average, if you keep at it, success is inevitable.
...
Keybender, I have to confess my bafflement concerning how the hypothesis of your last sentence is logically inferrable from your preceding ones. Please enlighten me (and anyone else of us sharing my bafflement) by spelling out your steps of reasoning.

Sentiments about how hard work = success is mostly just a feel good comment. Do people not say things like that in the UK?

I'd agree that those type of sentiments are somewhat false and misleading but some people like having that illusion for motivation.

Like most of these things, there's some truth in the sentiment. Effort is more crucial to success than raw talent. Both are needed to some degree for true success. However, to you point, the effort and work needs to be actually applied in the correct direction to actually be meaningful. Applying effort in the wrong direction will still get you somewhere, just not necessarily where you want to be.

If piano learning is compared to a journey, then you would need to keep putting in effort to move forward. A teacher is a navigator to point you in a direction and help identify potential traps along the way. However, not all navigators are created equal and a bad one can certainly point you in the wrong direction. Self learning with online material is essentially trying to progress through the journey with only an partial map, written in a foreign language.

True in every word, rkzhao, according to my perception.

Certainly, a fallacious prediction, a prediction that ignores contrary evidence, a prediction based in sheer conviction, faith, instinctive appeal, or comforting wishful thinking, on current fads, on official, orthodox dogmas, ideologies and propaganda slogans, on urban myths or old-wives' tales, on irrelevant information or concepts, on incomplete or distorted interpretations of actually reported facts, etc., etc., is just as effective a motivator of persistent, determined effort as any thoroughly corroborated one. Actual, concrete accuracy and truth have no status in this; anything goes. Anything, at any rate, that's so simplified as to occupy a single sentence of no more than three instantly digestible phrases. The ordinarily-educated, uninitiated public is a sitting target for freelance journalists like Gladwell, whose trade is the coining of such verbage, to make quick and dead-easy bucks. They know where to pick up new leads on topics likely to excite popular interest and how to access their primary sources; a week, maybe, of reading, red-pencilling key sentences and cherry picking the most striking ones, two or three translating them into popular pulp journalese, another two to allow for publishing; a few more and they're the talk of the town and being acclaimed as the leading authority on whatever it is.

* * *

A person who claims to be a competent navigator because they can read maps is underestimating what is likely to be involved and encountered in the course a journey. To be a dependable navigator, one has to have actually travelled the route and reached the destination. Likewise, a teacher who has not actually acquired the practical knowhow, working musicianship skills and other forms of awareness and attentiveness that master-level pianists rely upon and are able to willfully apply for assuring their successful practising and finished performance cannot be expected to possess the ability to teach anyone to acquire it. Nor should they themselves claim or believe they have. They are actually only in the position to make guesses in the dark, on the basis of referring to their own and passed-down theories and observations; the extent and detailedness thereof, and the strength of their convictions as to its logicality, does not in any way equate with its necessary relevance to what is actually required for pointing and guiding learners' journey towards mastery. For example, understanding the working mechanisms of a car engine and steering wheel is quite a different form of knowledge from the knowhow involved in driving it proficiently. Microanalyzing the playing actions of a great pianist performing the Chopin Études offers no insight whatsoever into the mental activity required for producing them. The ability to name this or that chord as a 4#-2 or VI7B is of no import whatsoever to the brain's natural ability to instantaneously make grammatical sense of audible music, or to the ability to decipher musical notation in terms of expected sounds and which piano-keys correspond to them. Yet, as all of us here know, it is exactly such kinds of knowledge that mainstream piano-teachers focus on as the foundations for teaching and consider mandatory for acquiring mastery. It is a basic pedagogic axiom in traditional, mainstream piano-teaching that scholarly, theoretical knowledge of music, anatomy, and technical foundation-principles is of a superior calibre to that which any learner could acquire by way of natural, trial-and-error learning, a process characterized by them as necessarily haphazard and almost inevitably resulting in (in their estimation) "faulty habits". (From which follows the often-heard assumption that the technical powers of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt would not match up to those of today's virtuosos, the beneficiaries of such better-insighted training-methods.) Given all this, the likelihood of finding a teacher with the knowhow for training a beginner- or intermediate-level learner to master-level is roughly the same as actually finding any master-level pianist who would have the inclination and available time to take on such pupils. That calibre of teaching as a rule only becomes available to outstanding conservatoire students already at or near master-level themselves. (A rare exception was Tobias Matthay, in his teens and twenties regarded as an up-and-coming internationally renowned performer, who quitted his concertizing career in favour of teaching students at all attainment levels)

However, lesser teachers shouldn't be held culpable for their typical pointing of learners in the wrong direction. Their accustomed approach and thinking is characteristic of a general philosophy of educating deeply entrenched in Western culture and further shaped by the course of historical events from the Industrial Revolution on and especially over the Victorian era, to which time conventional, mainstream piano-teaching can be traced back. Pupils, especially children, are believed to be incapable of learning without instructions as to what they must focus their attention upon, and dependent upon being spoon-fed with the necessarily prescriptive rules of technique. standard technical exercises and accepted body of music-theory knowledge, and upon the teacher's pronouncements as to whether or not these are being correctly applied to the material prescribed. Learners are discouraged from trying to solve pianistic problems for themselves but instead just do what they're told. Teaching is emphatically repertoire-focused and geared towards the taking of grade-exams, which set what music is to be studied and stipulate what of the traditionally accepted body of technical principles, musicianship skills and music theory is covered. Provided they know the syllabus requirements to be taught, there is no call whatsoever upon teachers to advance there own teaching-proficiency or extend the bounds of what they teach. There is no allowance or expectation on the part of examination boards for cultivating pupils' creative music-making skills, such as free improvisation, inventing their own technical exercises to serve the pieces studied, learning by ear or ensemble-playing, or for widening their acquaintance with the overall musical repertoire, pianistic or otherwise. Intentionally a one-size-fits-all scheme, its aims and design have the essential characteristics of a factory production-line. Small wonder that most conventionally taught pupils' rate of progress and general knowledge of music is as poor as it is. Indeed to my thinking, such an instructional regime as this is a recipe for promoting pupils' hatred for music and music-making rather than their passion for it.

So thoroughly ingrained is this conventional, formalized teaching-approach that many teachers (and accordingly their pupils, the source of a next generation of teachers) are incapable of imagining any alternative kind. But formal teaching isn't requisite at all for developing technical mastery, any more than it is for any of us as infants to master even more complex skills - the ability to control our limbs in any way we intend, to balance, to speak, to acquire flexible, grammatically structured language and vocabulary, for instance. Jazz and rock musicians are able to reach master-level performance through getting together and learning from more accomplished group-members on the basis of imitating and constant trial-and-error experimenting with the patterns they hear, and exploring their instrument's possibilities by way of applying such patterns. The same mode of language-like learning is common across tribal communities, in which music-making is a normal and central part of communal daily life, and in which infants fully participate and develop what we would class as prodigy-level abilities. In such scenarios learners engage in deliberate practice by default. Such a learning-regime however doesn't preclude the part of a teacher, and in fact, instrumental teaching in Western culture was invariably of this form up to the early 19th century, when it was typical for the sufficiently wealthy to hire a renowned performer to train learners in all aspects of musical performance along the lines of a master-apprentice relationship. Mozart, Beethoven, Hummel, Czerny, Mendelssohn and Chopin, and other freelance master-musicians of their period all earned their staple incomes according to this teaching-model.

Even some conventional teachers, actively involved in the running of examination-boards, such as Thomas Fielden (Professor of Piano at the Royal College of Music from 1921 to 1952) accept that

"the great performers are not great solely on account of their method of tuition: often they are so in spite of it...The great performers are...physical geniuses, laws unto themselves." (Fielden, The Science of Piano Technique, p. 10)

Given the inimical philosophy and approach of conventional piano-teaching for acquiring mastery, regarding the 10,000 hour "rule" as a magic bullet capable of overriding its consequences seems to me far-fetched in the extreme. Persevering on its lines forever would do nothing towards removing its intentionally imposed constraints upon how pupils are to go about attaining desired results, and indeed, upon every aspect of how they spend their hours at the piano. What is actually needed, if the 10,000 hours are to result in success, is a completely different teaching-philosophy, one grounded in presupposing learners' individuality and channelling their natural musical abilities in ways that enable them to define their musical intentions in precise detail, draw upon their own ingenuity in practising to attain them, and experiment with their successful results in creative ways. 10,000 hours of practising is not in itself any form of replacement approach, and Gladwell's preaching of it as a one-size-fits-all rule in fact exhibits precisely the same flaw as that of the conventional approach in presuming it applies regardless of individual differences - between learners, and equally, between teaching-approaches.


Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Albert Einstein

https://understanding-piano-technique.com/ocportal
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,111
R
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
R
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,111
Beautifully written.

Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 3,421
S
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
S
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 3,421
Utopia have always existed. People who believe that there is a much better and ideal, perfect way of doing things. A much better educational approach. Unhapilly these ideas are never applied in mass scale context and therefore remain an utopia. There is a difference between teaching some individuals in a highly specialized way and having an organized educational system for millions of people. And cost is obviously also a factor. But what i do know is that there is no such thing as a perfect system, the one that is used and the supposedly much better one have each one their flaws and emphasize different skills. A society is choosing what skills are required, in order to provide people to the needed positions.

Students and teachers are not machines, they also have a freedom of launching actions on their own, if so they wish. The idea that a perfect system would take care of their needs and would yield optimal result does not make much sense. Any system is providing a base, on top of which, individuals are free to complement with their own experiments based on their interests, if they have some. Thats what makes every case a specific one, and the ability given to people to follow their own path is the best guarantee that those who do have certain abilities can develop them.


Blüthner model 6
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,393
J
3000 Post Club Member
Online Content
3000 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,393
Originally Posted by Scordatura
Originally Posted by rkzhao
Originally Posted by Scordatura
Originally Posted by Keybender
...
I find this quite comforting to be honest: on average, if you keep at it, success is inevitable.
...
Keybender, I have to confess my bafflement concerning how the hypothesis of your last sentence is logically inferrable from your preceding ones. Please enlighten me (and anyone else of us sharing my bafflement) by spelling out your steps of reasoning.

Sentiments about how hard work = success is mostly just a feel good comment. Do people not say things like that in the UK?

I'd agree that those type of sentiments are somewhat false and misleading but some people like having that illusion for motivation.

Like most of these things, there's some truth in the sentiment. Effort is more crucial to success than raw talent. Both are needed to some degree for true success. However, to you point, the effort and work needs to be actually applied in the correct direction to actually be meaningful. Applying effort in the wrong direction will still get you somewhere, just not necessarily where you want to be.

If piano learning is compared to a journey, then you would need to keep putting in effort to move forward. A teacher is a navigator to point you in a direction and help identify potential traps along the way. However, not all navigators are created equal and a bad one can certainly point you in the wrong direction. Self learning with online material is essentially trying to progress through the journey with only an partial map, written in a foreign language.

True in every word, rkzhao, according to my perception.

Certainly, a fallacious prediction, a prediction that ignores contrary evidence, a prediction based in sheer conviction, faith, instinctive appeal, or comforting wishful thinking, on current fads, on official, orthodox dogmas, ideologies and propaganda slogans, on urban myths or old-wives' tales, on irrelevant information or concepts, on incomplete or distorted interpretations of actually reported facts, etc., etc., is just as effective a motivator of persistent, determined effort as any thoroughly corroborated one. Actual, concrete accuracy and truth have no status in this; anything goes. Anything, at any rate, that's so simplified as to occupy a single sentence of no more than three instantly digestible phrases. The ordinarily-educated, uninitiated public is a sitting target for freelance journalists like Gladwell, whose trade is the coining of such verbage, to make quick and dead-easy bucks. They know where to pick up new leads on topics likely to excite popular interest and how to access their primary sources; a week, maybe, of reading, red-pencilling key sentences and cherry picking the most striking ones, two or three translating them into popular pulp journalese, another two to allow for publishing; a few more and they're the talk of the town and being acclaimed as the leading authority on whatever it is.

* * *

A person who claims to be a competent navigator because they can read maps is underestimating what is likely to be involved and encountered in the course a journey. To be a dependable navigator, one has to have actually travelled the route and reached the destination. Likewise, a teacher who has not actually acquired the practical knowhow, working musicianship skills and other forms of awareness and attentiveness that master-level pianists rely upon and are able to willfully apply for assuring their successful practising and finished performance cannot be expected to possess the ability to teach anyone to acquire it. Nor should they themselves claim or believe they have. They are actually only in the position to make guesses in the dark, on the basis of referring to their own and passed-down theories and observations; the extent and detailedness thereof, and the strength of their convictions as to its logicality, does not in any way equate with its necessary relevance to what is actually required for pointing and guiding learners' journey towards mastery. For example, understanding the working mechanisms of a car engine and steering wheel is quite a different form of knowledge from the knowhow involved in driving it proficiently. Microanalyzing the playing actions of a great pianist performing the Chopin Études offers no insight whatsoever into the mental activity required for producing them. The ability to name this or that chord as a 4#-2 or VI7B is of no import whatsoever to the brain's natural ability to instantaneously make grammatical sense of audible music, or to the ability to decipher musical notation in terms of expected sounds and which piano-keys correspond to them. Yet, as all of us here know, it is exactly such kinds of knowledge that mainstream piano-teachers focus on as the foundations for teaching and consider mandatory for acquiring mastery. It is a basic pedagogic axiom in traditional, mainstream piano-teaching that scholarly, theoretical knowledge of music, anatomy, and technical foundation-principles is of a superior calibre to that which any learner could acquire by way of natural, trial-and-error learning, a process characterized by them as necessarily haphazard and almost inevitably resulting in (in their estimation) "faulty habits". (From which follows the often-heard assumption that the technical powers of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt would not match up to those of today's virtuosos, the beneficiaries of such better-insighted training-methods.) Given all this, the likelihood of finding a teacher with the knowhow for training a beginner- or intermediate-level learner to master-level is roughly the same as actually finding any master-level pianist who would have the inclination and available time to take on such pupils. That calibre of teaching as a rule only becomes available to outstanding conservatoire students already at or near master-level themselves. (A rare exception was Tobias Matthay, in his teens and twenties regarded as an up-and-coming internationally renowned performer, who quitted his concertizing career in favour of teaching students at all attainment levels)

However, lesser teachers shouldn't be held culpable for their typical pointing of learners in the wrong direction. Their accustomed approach and thinking is characteristic of a general philosophy of educating deeply entrenched in Western culture and further shaped by the course of historical events from the Industrial Revolution on and especially over the Victorian era, to which time conventional, mainstream piano-teaching can be traced back. Pupils, especially children, are believed to be incapable of learning without instructions as to what they must focus their attention upon, and dependent upon being spoon-fed with the necessarily prescriptive rules of technique. standard technical exercises and accepted body of music-theory knowledge, and upon the teacher's pronouncements as to whether or not these are being correctly applied to the material prescribed. Learners are discouraged from trying to solve pianistic problems for themselves but instead just do what they're told. Teaching is emphatically repertoire-focused and geared towards the taking of grade-exams, which set what music is to be studied and stipulate what of the traditionally accepted body of technical principles, musicianship skills and music theory is covered. Provided they know the syllabus requirements to be taught, there is no call whatsoever upon teachers to advance there own teaching-proficiency or extend the bounds of what they teach. There is no allowance or expectation on the part of examination boards for cultivating pupils' creative music-making skills, such as free improvisation, inventing their own technical exercises to serve the pieces studied, learning by ear or ensemble-playing, or for widening their acquaintance with the overall musical repertoire, pianistic or otherwise. Intentionally a one-size-fits-all scheme, its aims and design have the essential characteristics of a factory production-line. Small wonder that most conventionally taught pupils' rate of progress and general knowledge of music is as poor as it is. Indeed to my thinking, such an instructional regime as this is a recipe for promoting pupils' hatred for music and music-making rather than their passion for it.

So thoroughly ingrained is this conventional, formalized teaching-approach that many teachers (and accordingly their pupils, the source of a next generation of teachers) are incapable of imagining any alternative kind. But formal teaching isn't requisite at all for developing technical mastery, any more than it is for any of us as infants to master even more complex skills - the ability to control our limbs in any way we intend, to balance, to speak, to acquire flexible, grammatically structured language and vocabulary, for instance. Jazz and rock musicians are able to reach master-level performance through getting together and learning from more accomplished group-members on the basis of imitating and constant trial-and-error experimenting with the patterns they hear, and exploring their instrument's possibilities by way of applying such patterns. The same mode of language-like learning is common across tribal communities, in which music-making is a normal and central part of communal daily life, and in which infants fully participate and develop what we would class as prodigy-level abilities. In such scenarios learners engage in deliberate practice by default. Such a learning-regime however doesn't preclude the part of a teacher, and in fact, instrumental teaching in Western culture was invariably of this form up to the early 19th century, when it was typical for the sufficiently wealthy to hire a renowned performer to train learners in all aspects of musical performance along the lines of a master-apprentice relationship. Mozart, Beethoven, Hummel, Czerny, Mendelssohn and Chopin, and other freelance master-musicians of their period all earned their staple incomes according to this teaching-model.

Even some conventional teachers, actively involved in the running of examination-boards, such as Thomas Fielden (Professor of Piano at the Royal College of Music from 1921 to 1952) accept that

"the great performers are not great solely on account of their method of tuition: often they are so in spite of it...The great performers are...physical geniuses, laws unto themselves." (Fielden, The Science of Piano Technique, p. 10)

Given the inimical philosophy and approach of conventional piano-teaching for acquiring mastery, regarding the 10,000 hour "rule" as a magic bullet capable of overriding its consequences seems to me far-fetched in the extreme. Persevering on its lines forever would do nothing towards removing its intentionally imposed constraints upon how pupils are to go about attaining desired results, and indeed, upon every aspect of how they spend their hours at the piano. What is actually needed, if the 10,000 hours are to result in success, is a completely different teaching-philosophy, one grounded in presupposing learners' individuality and channelling their natural musical abilities in ways that enable them to define their musical intentions in precise detail, draw upon their own ingenuity in practising to attain them, and experiment with their successful results in creative ways. 10,000 hours of practising is not in itself any form of replacement approach, and Gladwell's preaching of it as a one-size-fits-all rule in fact exhibits precisely the same flaw as that of the conventional approach in presuming it applies regardless of individual differences - between learners, and equally, between teaching-approaches.
Yes, beautifully written.

As an adult piano student I tend to agree with Ranjit. We’ve written about this in the past but I think it is important for those who do not understand his point of view to realize that learning as an adult under the conventional curriculum and methodologies is different than learning on the same curriculum as a child learner.

I think as a whole the conventional way of learning is appropriate for a child- even one of talent. The standard curriculum has long been proven to produce capable and successful pianists at all levels if they learned as a child. But what Ranjit and I have observed is that this rarely the case with adult or late learners.

I’m of the firm belief that I could never be the best pianist I potentially could have been simply because I did not have a solid piano education as a child. I am fighting my biology. To fight my biology I had to figure out an alternative route to figure out how to play the piano. I had no method books, no teachers, no exercises, scales or tests. I simply took pieces of music I wanted to play no matter the difficulty and tried to “figure it out”. It was ugly, inefficient, slow but I would say and many of my recent teachers would say surprisingly effective. Nearly all my teachers have told me that they couldn’t believe how far I had gotten on my own and without traditional teaching or repertoire. A lot had to be and continues to need fixing. I am no virtuoso nor do I consider myself a real pianist yet, but I think I have gotten as far and as fast as any adult learner could have gone. I have now 5 or 6 years of piano lessons with great teachers all of whom are continuing to let me explore the piano at my chosen pace and they still let me choose my pieces no matter how difficult. They are acting more like guides only fixing what needs to be fixed but apparently not interfering too much with the path I have chosen. I appreciate them very much for this.

What I am trying to say and what I think Ranjit is trying to say is for adult learners who don’t feel they are making much progress or worse thinking about giving up, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. There is an ideal way to learn the piano for that those who are lucky got to experience all through their youth and some still teach this conventional way to adults I believe oftentimes with not the greatest of results because it is all they know. Personally I don’t think many of these methods will work for the late learner because our brains are fully developed and there would be little carryover. These methods won’t hurt but I would argue they are not the most effective. Some who continue to teach adults like children never had to struggle as an adult learner so they can never really understand what it’s like to fight your own biology. There are other ways and Ranjit brings up some well thought out ways he has employed to learn the piano at a proficient level. I think he has good advice for those willing to listen.

Last edited by Jethro; 10/04/20 11:36 PM.
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,393
J
3000 Post Club Member
Online Content
3000 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,393
Also when Ranjit and I suggest learning pieces above your level (correct me if I’m wrong Ranjit) we are basically saying not shoot too low but find your optimal learning path by overshooting sometimes to find the happy medium. This primer on neural nets explains it nicely. https://towardsdatascience.com/learning-rate-a6e7b84f1658

Last edited by Jethro; 10/05/20 12:00 AM.
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 700
C
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 700
10,000 hours is complete BS. Believe it or not, my professor at CCM always spouted this nonsense and it drove me nuts. Especially because several of us that had less than 10k hours practice time had better technique than he did...

Time alone is a relatively meaningless measure. How capable you are of maximizing that time and your rate of learning means far more than raw time spent. I know several people that in 1hr could memorize twice the amount of notes I can - and I know people that could memorize half the amount of notes I can given the same amount of time. The same concept goes for any aspect of piano playing, be it technical improvement, musicality, etc. Given a raw 1hr time span to learn a particular thing, some people will simply learn faster and be better at it than others will. Some people will have a higher ultimate performance level than others will.

Regardless of what popular culture says, people are not equal. Some people are simply more intelligent, physically gifted, or more apt at practicing efficiently than others. I am only 5'8; I will never play in the NBA. I am simply not tall enough, strong enough, or fast enough. But someone with less hand-eye coordination or fine motor skills will never play Rachmaninov like I can - given that we work the equivalent amount of time.

It's just the way it is, fair or not.

Last edited by computerpro3; 10/04/20 11:59 PM.
Page 3 of 5 1 2 3 4 5

Moderated by  Brendan, Kreisler 

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
Piano Buyer - Read the Articles, Explore the website
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Two, Three and Four Hamburg Steinways in Concert
by Joseph Fleetwood - 08/11/22 10:32 PM
Dissonant overtones when mute rail is engaged
by MattH22 - 08/11/22 08:36 PM
Your piano teacher
by Dscally - 08/11/22 07:25 PM
To RD-2000 owners
by PianoStartsAt33 - 08/11/22 07:18 PM
Buying a Yamaha U1?
by ada d. - 08/11/22 05:31 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
What's Hot!!
FREE June Newsletter is Here!
--------------------
Forums RULES, Terms of Service & HELP
(updated 06/06/2022)
-------------------
Music Store Going Out of Business Sale!
---------------------
Mr. PianoWorld's Original Composition
---------------------
Sell Your Piano on our world famous Piano Forums!
---------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
Forum Statistics
Forums43
Topics214,350
Posts3,215,596
Members106,065
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers

Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | MapleStreetMusicShop.com - Our store in Cornish Maine


© copyright 1997 - 2022 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5