Musical Masters Success in 10,000 Hours


in Performance

It turns out that all world masters have one thing in common:

10,000 hours of focused practice with an audience, creates a natural “feedback loop” for reflection and learning.

Science writer Malcolm Gladwell explains this by what is called the “rule of 10,000” in his book, “Outliers”,

In fact, everyone with 10,000 hours of focused practice with an audience in their art has ended up to be a world master, pretty much without fail. And there are a number of nice thresholds along the way.

Ask anyone and they are told Mozart was a child prodigy and gifted as a composer from the age of five. This was not the case at all. His early pieces  were somewhat clumsy and repetitive that nearly every beginning composer works though. His greatness came as he practiced at first in front of his father, and then preformed for live audiences as a ghost writer that Mozart became a world master.

There are two key points of the “rule of 10,000”. First is that nobody who gets their 10,000 hours of focused practice fails to become a master, and there are also significant steps along the way where one gets significantly better…every couple of thousand hours and breakthroughs occur.

It’s Reassuring

This is so reassuring because it dispels the idea of success by luck.

Those people that you see succeeding in music, dance, acting, sports, and business didn’t just “have it”, they spent thousands of hours of practice and were getting feedback in one form or another.

Instant gratification is for the few and far between, for the majority it’s about putting in the time and effort.

There is also the studying and practicing smarter part that we talk about here at the workshop. Focused practice helps speed up the process. Maybe you hit the 3000 hour threshold at 2000 hours with the right practice and tool set.

My Experience

The one thing that I remember propelling me along faster than anything else was the performance in front of others. This happened at home, at the studio, at the recitals/performances, and in creating my own parlor concerts for friends and acquaintances, and experimenting with playing in a garage band.

The experience from practicing by yourself to the big audience puts a different perspective on everything. The feedback is twofold as well, it will be from the audience or teacher or friends, but it will also be from within. Don’t forget recording yourself can be the best and maybe the safest ways to start.

Bottom line – putting in more time with an audience and getting feedback the more likely you’re going to be the master musician. Like I’ve always said it’s a lifetime journey.

Featured Music Resources

Learn Guitar Online with Videos: JamPlay Guitar

Previous post:

Next post: