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Neal

10K Hour Theory. Not quite..

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10,000 hours makes a virtuoso.  Nothing less will suffice. Thank you Mr. Gladwell, you have influenced a generation to give it the f**k up.  

I know, a few articles on it, here’s the latest-

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2019/8/23/20828597/the-10000-hour-rule-debunked

i thought this paragraph was good,

“Which is why I find these debunkings of the 10,000-hour rule to be a complete relief. Because implied in the rule (at least, to me) is a deeply self-deprecating message: that if we fail to achieve greatness, it’s our own damn fault. And what screw-up would forgo greatness?”

 

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Objective quantitative analysis, of a subjective qualitative challenge, was completely logical to some people and a belly laugh to others who don't limit logic. But, yea, to push logic (and milking a few more miles out of the joke) aside, it's good to know some of the previously faithful realize they've been duped. Doctrine comes in all flavors.

 

However -

 

The thought made me conjure up a conservative estimate of hours spent playing that exceeded the 10K. Meaningless as a number alone, it did make me question most of those hours as poorly spent. So, I think the proposition is more towards making the most of opportunity (in sheep's clothing).

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I've been playing the guitar for a very long time. People tell me I make it look easy and it actually is easy at this point - it just tok me a long time to figure that out.

My Yoga teacher is the same age as me and has been doing Yoga for approximately the same length of time that I have been playing the guitar. She makes it look easy and is able to do the poses with the minimum effort required - for her it is easy.

A forty hour work week is about 2,000 hours so it would take five years to reach 10,000 hours - ten years if you only practiced four hours a day - twenty years at two hours a day etc. I got serious about the guitar fifty years ago and I practiced a lot more than two hours a day.

When I look back on it I agree with the 10,000 hours theory, although the actual number would be different for each individual and I also agree with the OP that looking ahead to climbing the mountain that is 10,000 hours might influence someone to give up.

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And yet the prodigy...

having said that, I still think if there’s that “drive” to woodshed, that person will develop a certain mastery over time.  10k?  I think it was just meant to be an arbitrary number denoting big.  Like the word the first humanoids used for “more than the fingers on my hand”

so practice big, more moon cycles than fingers on your hand, you make tribe dance.

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Jeez. I should be better, then. I've been playing since I was knee high to a June bug. I didn't get good until there was some good old fashioned positive reinforcement. I guess I didn't know I was any good until I made a college coed cry and she showed me things that made me feel all tingly. I owe it all to Eric Clapton! ;)

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6 hours ago, kwakatak said:

Jeez. I should be better, then. I've been playing since I was knee high to a June bug. I didn't get good until there was some good old fashioned positive reinforcement. I guess I didn't know I was any good until I made a college coed cry and she showed me things that made me feel all tingly. I owe it all to Eric Clapton! ;)

It's different when you are the one playing.

The player is trying to reach level 10 but only gets to 8.5. The player dwells on the 1.5 space between 8.5 and 10 while the audience, sitting at level 0, only sees the 8.5 and are wowed by it.

A couple of weeks ago my bands played on opening night at our local music festival. We were well prepared and I was reasonably happy with the ways things went but I didn't think it was anything special. Later in the evening, there was a very good guitar band from the other side of the country onstage and after their set I complimented one of the guitar players. He surprised me by saying "coming from you, that means a lot." I was surprised because I thought they were way better than we were. It was only the next day when some of my friends told me how much they enjoyed the stellar performances of my bands the night before that I realized what we had accomplished - because, again, I had been dwelling on the bits that we missed.

 

Clapton was a big influence on me too. One very significant part of that was when he said "why listen to me when you can listen to BB King?" so I went out and bought some BB King records. I didn't know who BB King was at the time but listening to those records changed my life and made me the guitar player that I am today.

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It's not just time, it's what you do with it. If a person tells you they have been playing 40 years, it sounds like a lot. But if the 'practice' was just learning new popular songs to sing along to using open chords and a capo. Then they are going to know a lot of campfire songs. But if your working on theory and technique for that 40 years with a goal of mastering all aspects of playing. Your level of ability will far surpass him.  And it doesn't mean that some kid who worked just as hard for a shorter time but has a natural edge i.e a better ear, better dexterity, better memorization skills etc, isn't going to outperform you. Ten thousand hours is meaningless by itself, its how the time was used that really counts.

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The phrase I like is "perfect practice makes perfect". I spent years doing unstructured practice and lots of noodling before I read that and I think it was too late to iron out the bad habits that engrained. Now I'm lucky if I play 2 hours per week, so I'm pretty much on a plateau, but still love playing. 

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The 10K can be correlated if you're looking to correlate it, or conjured up if that's making more sense to you. Any number can work, IOW. Neal mentions the prodigy and we dismiss him as a weirdo who thinks guitar and thereby plays it. Then we have 50 y/o veterans asking a board how long before string changes.

 

The notion of numbers just doesn't work. Nor should it. As previously stated, it's different for everyone and the claimant spotting us with 10K derived his number from a study of 1, 2, 3, 300 guitarists? Smell the sham? Finding a self-made expert in that yet?  It took me 3 months to restore a 98 Jeep Cherokee bumper to bumper therefore it should take a similarly spirited person a similar period of time and, just for the sake of it, let's go macro and make everyone capable of that in the same period of time with the same level of quality. Asinine yet?

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Practice big, many more time than fingers on hand and you make tribe dance!

Thought that was relevant.

10K, an arbitrary number really meant to denote a large amount of time dedicated, dedicated, dedicated, to....not noodling.  To get there, it does take special people as well as mentors, I mean really, that’s not your mom forcing you to practice “for at least a half-hour Johnny”, that’s YOU deciding that this is more important than half the stuff we all found important growing up, and upping the ante with some excellent teaching.

 

A better question, “what does it take to be competent?”  Then “what does it take to not get eye-rolled at the open mic?”  Then, the last pathetic gasp, “how often should I change my strings?” ;)

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On 8/26/2019 at 3:57 AM, onelife said:

I've been playing the guitar for a very long time. People tell me I make it look easy and it actually is easy at this point - it just tok me a long time to figure that out.

My Yoga teacher is the same age as me and has been doing Yoga for approximately the same length of time that I have been playing the guitar. She makes it look easy and is able to do the poses with the minimum effort required - for her it is easy.

A forty hour work week is about 2,000 hours so it would take five years to reach 10,000 hours - ten years if you only practiced four hours a day - twenty years at two hours a day etc. I got serious about the guitar fifty years ago and I practiced a lot more than two hours a day.

When I look back on it I agree with the 10,000 hours theory, although the actual number would be different for each individual and I also agree with the OP that looking ahead to climbing the mountain that is 10,000 hours might influence someone to give up.

ahhh i'm just at 26 or 27 years of playing, and i never managed it to be much more than one hour day, i'm still not at the 10k, thats the reason why i still suck

thx for doin the math for me :D

 

PS: mods plz delete my anon post, didn't realize that i wasn't logged in

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Please refrain from saying you suck.  That’s just beneath you.  No one sucks, really, except those that claim mastery.  And even those could be pretty good, just dicks about it.

One of my favorite players was a fellow that posted here once upon a time, who was very basic with a pretty rough technique, but the performance was sincere and honest (or vice-versa..).  One that probably most would want to shorten his list at an open mic.  That guy probably would have said he sucked, but he most certainly did not.

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i was not really serious :)

but there is really a huge difference between someone who plays 8h or more per day and one just gets rughly only one hour per day...

that said, it also matters what you play and how you practice, playing the enter sandman intro for 8 hours every day, does not make you a better guitar player, maybe worlds best enter sandman intro player :D

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I know.  

But....you DO touch on a hypothesis (that I’m sure isn’t original), in that doing as you suggest, 8hr/sandman, carries a synergistic sort of thing.  I mean, you’d really have to have some issues to only desire to play that, right?  But one does, because that particular song is, to that player, what he wants.  Next song he wants will be easier, etc., etc., exponentially.  Yeah I know you were joking, but it kinda does work that way I have come to believe.

synergy!  breakfast of champions!

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i was not talking about the entire song, just the intro :D

and all i saying is, if someone has the time and willingness to do something 8h a day, he will more excel in what he does, than somebody that has only one hour the time or the willingness

almost 25 years ago i made a decission not to make music my profession, because i could not think i would able to make music 8 hours a day, especially if you have to play/make music what you get payed for whether you like it or not.

i was into computers so i made that my profession, and made music my passion and promised myself never play anything i didn't like myself.

now after a masters degree in computer science and almost 20 years working in IT (i consider myself really good at it:)) and all the things i learned, and experienced and i know now, i think a bit differently about my decission. i feel not sorry about it, thats what i went for and its fine, but more often i think how i could escape the rat race in IT and if making music would be better :)

i'm fully aware that switching to making music will most likely not pay my bills, but playing a bit this mind game is also helping me keeping sane :)

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, t_e_l_e said:

almost 25 years ago i made a decission not to make music my profession, because i could not think i would able to make music 8 hours a day, especially if you have to play/make music what you get payed for whether you like it or not.

i was into computers so i made that my profession, and made music my passion and promised myself never play anything i didn't like myself.

FWIW, as I have grown older, I have found that what music I play is far less critical than who I play with.  Right now I am headed to a rehearsal for one of the most banal, formulaic works I have ever played.  However, I will be playing with good friends - including one Grammy winning player and several Broadway veterans.  The songlist isn't the reason I accepted the gig, and neither is the paycheck (though it does pay quite well).

Edited by SteinbergerHack
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Music is best played when played with friends.  Also with those who may not be “friends” necessarily, but who you respect as musicians.  Both instances satisfying on totally different levels.  Even better when both instances collide.

 

Speaking of Gladwell (10K hours guy), he’s got a new book, Talking To Strangers, looks very interesting.  Good article in The NY Times, from the article:

Rather, Mr. Gladwell asks readers to rethink grim topics like police misconduct, child sexual assault, suicide and campus rape, all through the prism of our often disastrous instinct to trust that the people we meet are telling us the truth.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/30/business/malcolm-gladwell-talking-to-strangers.html

He seems like a guy who knows he isn’t right all the time, but challenges you to think a bit differently.  

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1 hour ago, SteinbergerHack said:

FWIW, as I have grown older, I have found that what music I play is far less critical than who I play with.  Right now I  headed to a rehearsal for one of the most banal, formulaic works I have ever played.  However, I will be playing with good friends - including one Grammy winning player and several Broadway veterans.  The songlist isn't the reason I accepted the gig, and neither is the paycheck (though it does pay quite well).

to some extend i'm totally with you but there are (still) limits. also since that time my musical taste has changed and/or expanded and so have my ability of playing music expanded.

some limits are skill wise, i'm not really into jazz and so my skills of it are very limited, aswell i'm not into shredding and tapping as i mostly do not like the music which comes out of it, so i never cared to practice such abilities

some limits are tastewise, i will not play fake tradtional tirolean music or german schlager and the like, i do not want to play the classical wedding music etc..

but if you need to make a living out of it, you need to play and practice what you get the bills paid, and i didn't want to put myself into this position.

this is total personal to me, and i will not judge anyone who thinks or does completely different....or maybe i did when i was young, but i didn't know anything at that time while i thought i know it all :)

so instead of becoming a musician i became an IT guy who loves to make music with his friends

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Just read an article about dog breeds and their differing brain structures, quote from the article:

“They [the Border Collies] have to be exposed to sheep; there is some training involved. Learning plays a crucial role, but there’s clearly something about herding that’s already in their brains when they are born,” Hecht said. “It’s not innate behavior, it’s a predisposition to learn that behavior.”

https://www.salon.com/2019/09/06/how-selective-breeding-messes-with-dogs-brains/

While dogs may be able to play guitar passably 😁, we don’t see any prodigal like talent, though talents like hearding, as above, may be hard wired into some breeds, giving them the predisposition to excellence.  We’re like that, some are predisposed to using that arbitrary 10K number, some are happy to just chase the sheep.

It was suggested in previous posts above, but I think this illustrates the idea better.

ah, dredging up old threads on a quiet Saturday morn..

 

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To further the conversation, one sided though it may be, I offer this in response to that last post.  This young man is definitely a border collie.  I suggest his brain is wired to do this.  10K hours was simply a suggestion he looked askance at.  Yours, mine, that guy next to you brain...no.  Got the vid from  catscurlyear in another post. 

May not be your cuppa, but the mastery is not a question.

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