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.

Levitin writes:

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.

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