I had a piano lesson yesterday. It went fairly well. I am moving on to Bach’s Invention No. 4. I don’t think that I am going to enjoy this one as much as I enjoy No. 8. Maybe it is because I have to play it soooo slow right now? Who knows? I will keep plugging away at it.
So, I am reading the book This is your Brain on Music: The science of Human Obsession. by Daniel J. Levitin. It is an interesting book. There is a lot of technical stuff about how are brain works but it is in the context of music. I find it interesting, but I will admit that my eyes glazed over at certain parts.
In one chapter the author discusses what makes a person a musician. I really perked up at this chapter. I would love to consider myself a musician. I consider myself a plunker not a musician, but I don’t mind being a plunker. Plunking is better than nothing. So, what makes an expert musician? That was what I neeed to know. Apparently, others needed to know too because it has been studied more than once. What seems to be the theory? 10,000 hours.
The emerging picture from such studies is that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert-in anything.
He continues on to talk about Mozart. I found it interesting that he makes a good case for Mozart reaching the 10,000 hour mark at a fairly young age. But, 10,000 hours? That is a lot of practice. I decided to do a little math because I want to be a world class expert. Well, not really. I just want to play nice. But, let’s pretend I want to be a world-class expert, and let’s assume that all of my practice up until now does not count. Now, I am able to consistently get about 10 hours of practice in a week. Some weeks are more, some are less. I am just going to average for the sake of easy math.
At 10 hours a week, it would take 1000 weeks or approximately 19 years 4 months to reach my goal. At that date I will be 55 years old. Hmmm..And that is only if I play 10 hours a week. Every week. I would think that I would need lessons too. Just practicing Bach’s invention No. 8 for 20 years isn’t going to make me an expert, but I bet that song would sound fantastic. Even if I were to include the hours I practiced since I learned to play, I think it would be very difficult to reach 10,000 quality hours.
Truthfully, I have simplified the chapter for the sake of easy blogging. If the subject interests you, I suggest you read the book. It is pretty interesting. Just think, Melanie, if you study Latin for 10,000 hours you could be a (cue heavenly choir) a world-class Latin expert. Maybe if you practice going to the post office for 10,000 hours, you could be an expert at that too. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist. LOL) For all of us, the possiblities are endless! I guess that old saying “practice makes perfect” wasn’t too far off after all.