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OT: �10,000-Hour�Myth: Why Deliberate Practice Isn�t Enough


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https://medium.com/swlh/the-10-000-hour-...ed-cbd309cf6800

 

[snip]

At only four years old, Yeou-Cheng Ma exhibited a clear talent for the violin.

Under the tutelage of her father, a Ph.D. student at the Paris Conservatory of Music, Yeou-Cheng began to play the instrument at two-and-a-half years old. Only a year later, she entered in her first competition against students ranging from fourteen to nineteen years old. She won.

 

Her violin teacher praised Yeou-Chengs ability to her mother, a vocal student who later sang opera. She said, Your daughter is a brilliant musician. Theres no doubt in my mind that she inherits this talent from you and your husbandIts in her genes.

 

Finally, the teacher added: Mrs. Ma, what Im trying to tell you is that I think it is a great pity that you dont plan on having another child.

 

At the time, the three of them lived in a tiny apartment in Paris. They struggled to earn a living and had barely enough for themselves.

 

Yet, four years after the birth of their daughter, a son was born in 1955.

 

He was named Yo-Yo Ma.

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[snip]

 

To be sure, Yo-Yo Ma has worked incredibly hard at his craft. As a youth, he was challenged to play difficult pieces beyond what was expected at his age level. Under the careful eye of his father, Yo-Yo has practiced and performed for almost his entire life.

 

But how much of Yo-Yo Mas success is attributable to hard work, and how much of it comes from innate talent?

 

Scientists have found evidence, however, that goes against the idea of deliberate practice being the main contributor to success. In the study, they re-analyzed six previous chess competition studies and eight studies on musicians, involving 1,083 chess players and 628 musicians respectively.

 

Nurture That Which is in Your Nature

 

Who was right after all? Was it Yeou-Cheng Mas violin teacher, who believed her skill was inherited from her parents, or her father, who brought up two talented musicians on the basis of diligence, concentration, and practice?

 

The answer is both. If we work hard enough and believe in ourselves, many things are possible. Yes, there are limitations. Yes, some people can work to reach greater progress in less time.

 

But heres the good news: You can start focusing on what matters. When you find yourself picking up some skills more quickly than others, you learn where to invest your efforts. When you focus your strengths, then you start to find purpose.

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The article is basically an advertisement. Look at the bottom.

 

"Want to become more productive? Then check out my XXX"

 

Probably a book or something on how to start a business.

 

Aside from that, the article fails to define "success" for the musicians, but this is a typical failure in writings and discussions about musicians, talent, and success.

 

 

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Nature vs. Nurture vs. Fortune?

 

Luck has a role to play in making a successful musician: the luck to be born into a family that can afford lessons to nurture whatever natural gifts exist; the luck to avoid suffering a crippling injury; the luck to get noticed at the optimal moment in career development; the luck to avoid living in a war-zone where practicing is impossible; the luck to marry a spouse who will support the career; etc.

 

I am guessing for every rock or classical star, there are at least 10 (maybe 50) others who share an equal or greater level of native ability and practiced their instrument to an equal or greater extent, and yet for whatever unlucky reason never got to fully achieve.

 

To be successful, one also needs to make the right choices: choosing the right teacher, choosing to avoid drugs and bad associates; choosing the right representation; etc. Tho' i suppose we could say making the right choices is part of the innate abilities one gets as "nature".

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The quality and depth of the study makes a difference and that makes the time line logic a bit fuzzy! Sure you can go through 100 Bach Chorals....but how many people are going to just sing the tenor voice in order to improve their ears while they play it and maybe 5 other things with it beside just getting it under your hands.... the truth is not many!

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Sometimes those people burn out also. I don't think music is for everyone sometimes also Greg.

 

I think I understand. If I pounded away at the music business for +15 years, I would burn out.

 

If I banged on keys for 10,000 hours trying to imitate Keith Emerson [ or other greats] I would fail. I bet others are more successful because their strengths are better than mine.

 

The article is suggesting you work your strengths to your benefit. And it does not require 10,000 hours

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The article is basically an advertisement. Look at the bottom.

 

"Want to become more productive? Then check out my XXX"

 

 

 

you don't agree with it. Thats ok

 

You are seeing ads because you aren't a paid subscriber.

 

I pay for this blog. I see no ads. Thats the way it works with many sites

these days.

 

Why fit in, when you were born to stand out ?

My Soundcloud with many originals:

[70's Songwriter]

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Nature vs. Nurture vs. Fortune?

 

Luck has a role to play in making a successful musician: the luck to be born into a family that can afford lessons to nurture whatever natural gifts exist; the luck to avoid suffering a crippling injury; the luck to get noticed at the optimal moment in career development; the luck to avoid living in a war-zone where practicing is impossible; the luck to marry a spouse who will support the career; etc.

 

I am guessing for every rock or classical star, there are at least 10 (maybe 50) others who share an equal or greater level of native ability and practiced their instrument to an equal or greater extent, and yet for whatever unlucky reason never got to fully achieve.

 

To be successful, one also needs to make the right choices: choosing the right teacher, choosing to avoid drugs and bad associates; choosing the right representation; etc. Tho' i suppose we could say making the right choices is part of the innate abilities one gets as "nature".

 

100% true

 

the premise of the article is putting a knock on the 10,000 hour rule.

 

This rule has been presented as a 1 way ticket to mastery. Simply, that rule, by itself is not

1 size fits all. But since the book on that has taken off, many refer to it.

 

I am not opposed to hard work BTW. No lazy here. Just 'smart' use of time.

Why fit in, when you were born to stand out ?

My Soundcloud with many originals:

[70's Songwriter]

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100% true

 

the premise of the article is putting a knock on the 10,000 hour rule.

 

This rule has been presented as a 1 way ticket to mastery. Simply, that rule, by itself is not

1 size fits all. But since the book on that has taken off, many refer to it.

 

I am not opposed to hard work BTW. No lazy here. Just 'smart' use of time.

 

I agree whole heartedly. Talent + hard work = success. We also tend to want to work at the things we are most talented at.

 

There are also different levels of 'mastery' of anything. Often the skills required to succeed in a job are more those honed in the 10,000 hours part than the innate talent part. It really depends on the job!

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I've read a lot of these books on genetics and performance and I find a lot of them to be frequently mis-construed.

 

Are the guys on this board trying to become Yo Yo Ma? Or are they trying to win an olympic gold medal? No, we're just trying to become better musicians.

 

Many times the examples and subjects used in these books are the absolute apex predators of their fields. And while they may be great studies it can be overwhelming for many of us.

 

For example, genetics play a huge role in sports. That doesn't mean that many of us can't improve our run times just because we weren't born in that one little town in Kenya, or that we can't improve our sprint times because we're not a Jamaican of W african descent.

 

So I always read these books about human performance but don't get depressed or bummed when I realize that anyone under the height of 6-7 has a near zero chance of playing in the NBA or that anyone who's birthday is after March has a much reduced chance of playing any sport that has an age cutoff on 31 December.

 

Those are things you CAN'T change about yourself.

 

But practicing correctly, as opposed to just practicing more, that's something we can do to increase our capability as musicians in the real world. That's what I think we should focus on.

 

(BTW, I don't think the 10k hour or rep rule was ever meant to be an actual rule. It was just meant to show that it usually takes a lot more practice than people think to actually master something.)

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The article is basically an advertisement. Look at the bottom.

 

"Want to become more productive? Then check out my XXX"

 

 

 

you don't agree with it. Thats ok

 

You are seeing ads because you aren't a paid subscriber.

 

I pay for this blog. I see no ads. Thats the way it works with many sites

these days.

 

Just to be clear, I'm not "for" or "against" the 10k Rule, nor do my criticisms apply directly to it.

 

The flaws of the article itself aside, the author has a website called "Jump start your life", as stated at the top of the article, and the author promotes it again at the end of the article. I bet that even you as a paid subscribe can see the name of the author and the author's website.

 

The main purpose of the article is to promote the website. The author's expertise on music education, music psychology, etc. is a bit suspect to me - not that I am against trying to run a business and make a living off of it

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Just to clarify, no one has ever suggested the 10,000 hours are a "one-way ticket to success." The connection is the reverse: the most successful people tend to be those who have put in the longest and hardest work. That does not mean that everyone who puts in long, hard work, will suddenly be The Beatles.

 

There were other problems with that 10K thing though, in particular the logical flaw that if you are getting the chance to attain those 10K hours, you are most likely succeeding on some level already, and it becomes very difficult to separate the time you woodshed from the time you simply ply your trade. Calling the Beatles' Hamburg time woodshedding is only possible when comparing that time to their later success. In "local" time, getting to go there was succeeding. (They didn't know there were going on to become The Greatest Little Rock and Roll Band of All Time.)

 

And ditto, none of the other groups who also did their 10k in Hamburg ever went on to enjoy the same success the Beatles did (because no one did), so what of their 10K?

 

It was a flawed concept to be sure, but: nowhere in it did it suggest a "one-way ticket" from 10K to Beatledom.

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The article is basically an advertisement. Look at the bottom.

 

"Want to become more productive? Then check out my XXX"

 

 

 

you don't agree with it. Thats ok

 

You are seeing ads because you aren't a paid subscriber.

 

I pay for this blog. I see no ads. Thats the way it works with many sites

these days.

 

The flaws of the article itself aside, the author has a website called "Jump start your life", as stated at the top of the article, and the author promotes it again at the end of the article.

 

The main purpose of the article is to promote the website. The author's expertise on music education, music psychology, etc. is a bit suspect to me - not that I am against trying to run a business and make a living off of it

 

OIC. The startup blurb was so small I ignored it. I suppose cross promoting annoys some.

 

My local paper, SF Gate is horrible in comparison- dozens of blasting video ads.

Really a crap site.

 

So the blurb on the Medium authors article seems like a small fly in comparison.

 

To each your own, though. I get annoyed by stupid drivers that text while driving.

I have a few other pet peeves but its better if I ignore it.

Why fit in, when you were born to stand out ?

My Soundcloud with many originals:

[70's Songwriter]

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The source of the 10k "rule" is the book Outliers by M. Gladwell. While some of his conclusions has been disputed, i thought it's a good read. Maybe you can find it now at a public library and read it for free.

 

On a related note, I think this book is quite good.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Make-Stick-Science-Successful-Learning/dp/0674729013

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I don't think that's the source of the rule but it is a major subject of the book. The "rule" has been around a lot longer than the book.

 

I agree, it's a great book.

You want me to start this song too slow or too fast?

 

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I have found this book interesting, which makes a case to support the "specific, deliberate practice" recommendation and essentially steps over the "talent" discussion entirely. Essentially, the author makes the case that 1) talent exists, 2) it's impossible to measure, therefore 3) whether we are talented or not, where do we go from here?

 

On the other side of the coin, there has for a while been an objection that there is simply no scientific data to support the 10K hour rule, that other factors appear to contribute far more to mastery, and that even Anders Ericsson (the Swedish psychologist that originally proposed the theory which Gladwell later ran with) warns us against making it some kind of magic bullet, as in this short article from the Smithsonian.

 

As it notes at the end of the article, Ericsson is "also on record as emphasising that not just any old practice counts towards the 10,000-hour average. It has to be deliberate, dedicated time spent focusing on improvement."

 

 

..
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I have read the original research that Malcom Gladwell cites in his book. As Timwat says, it is not any old 10,000 hours that does it. K. Anders Ericsson et al. make it very clear in their original article. I wrote extensively on this subject and its practical application to adult beginners and other "non-prodigies" on my blog several years ago.

 

I think there are many advanced players on this board who have put in the time suggested in the paper and are truly outstanding musicians. Some put in the time earlier and some later. My personal conclusion remains that it is a worthwhile journey.

 

 

My thoughts on the original article

 

How Good is it Possible to Get?

 

Is it Possible to Become World-class with a late start?

 

 

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