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10,000 hours rule

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by ElectroVibe, Apr 14, 2021.

  1. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    I was reading an interview with the original Elvis Costello bassist who mentioned this rule, and said that he was a firm believer in it.

    Basically the rule is saying that any good musician will have spent at least this much time on playing/practicing his instrument before he becomes a good player.

    What do you think?
    Ellery likes this.
  2. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    I’ve heard many stupid things in my life, and that’s one of them.
  3. thabassmon


    Sep 26, 2013
    New Zealand
    I don't think it can really be measured like that. Some can noodle for a 100 hours and not really achieve while someone can put in 10 hours focussing on working on specific weaknesses in their playing and achieve more.

    I have a concept that I've used to speed up progress.
    Make a list of 10 things that are important to you and you would like to be good at. Could be anything from sight reading, technique whatever is important to you.
    Put those things in order with 1 being what you are best at and 10 being what needs the most work.

    Flip the list, 10-1. Work on the first two or three (10,9,8). That way you are working on what needs work, and improving those parts of your playing.

    Once you start feeling like you have made progress, repeat the self assessment. This does require you to be honest with yourself, but it does focus your time addressing the weaknesses in your playing that you want to be stronger at.

    It could take 10,000 hours, it could take less but you'd be giving focus to your practice time and more likely to get results quicker.
  4. skycruiser


    Jan 15, 2019
    That's about 5 years at 40 hours a week. Probably a reasonable estimate or average for someone to achieve near expert capability at something. Certainly not a strict rule and I'm sure almost no one would claim it is a strict rule.
  5. joelns


    Mar 10, 2014
    10,000 hours of focused practice, guided by a really good teacher. Then yes. But 10,000 hours in general? Someone like that will need a fair bit of time with a good teacher to clean up and get focused.
  6. Hoyt


    Jun 29, 2006
    Saint Charles, IL.
    The expression “Perfect practice makes perfect performance” comes to mind, but I don’t think that’s something that can be measured in time. There are too many variables.

    Some people are naturally gifted, others have to work harder at it to reach the same level. Seems like every day I see a new video of some 7 y/o kid with more talent than I’ve ever had after 20-something years of trying to be better. :)

    Really, I think the best way to shine aside from hard work and dedication to the craft, is to put yourself in a scenario that showcases your strengths.

    I’m never going to be on a box of Wheaties, but I’m the right bassist to call for that pie eating contest ;)
    squarepeg, Ellery, M0ses and 2 others like this.
  7. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Tons of respect for Bruce Thomas, but yeah, this idea seems bogus to me. I'd bet Jaco didn't need 10,000 hours, and I've probably spent at least that much and gotten nearly nowhere.
    Phaidrus, ajkula66 and Hoyt like this.
  8. It's not a rule. It's just a guess somebody--Malcolm Gladwell?--made at some point. Might be valid for some people, invalid for others.

    I think it's probably not a good expenditure of mental energy to get hung up on a specific number.
    lermgalieu, Altitude, Ewo and 7 others like this.
  9. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    But how many of these children who play impressive pieces actually grow up to become anything? I'm honestly curious.
    bassb66 likes this.
  10. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    Jaco had been playing for quite a few years before he recorded with Pat Metheny. If anything, he probably spent MORE than 10,000 hours by that time.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021
    newwavefrank, inthevelvet and 31HZ like this.
  11. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    It's not about a specific number. It's the idea that it takes a lot of practice to become good. No amount of natural talent can replace actual practicing. I think all of our musical heroes have done it this way. And I don't think it was necessarily "practice" in their minds all the time they were doing it. But the musical talent/skills they develop is a result of the playing.
  12. 2F/2F


    May 26, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    10,000 hours is approximately 8 hours a day for five years.

    It can't hurt, but I don't think it's needed, not by a long shot. If you pick it up naturally, you can be good on day one, and within about a year, probably be at a professional level, playing a quarter that much per day.

    People come up with weird, sweeping "rules" like this, and I can't figure out why.

    I, myself, "got "it," as far as understanding music in the theoretical sense, within a week of picking up the instrument, with good direction provided by my dad, who was an untrained, yet knowledgeable, musician. The rest was just getting the body to catch up to the brain (and it still is, even after 33 years). And it's not like I'm some sort of musical genius, or anything close. But I am, and always have been "a natural."
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021
    Staccato and nutdog like this.
  13. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    I learned 5 chords my first day of guitar self-teaching, so I do think that you can start playing well and just slowly build upon that foundation. But I started with the basics myself, and had no one to guide me in that method. Building very slowly upon that. But even if a person has the best teacher, it still requires the student to have the desire and ambition to put in the time on his own.
    Avigdor likes this.
  14. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Last I heard it was an idea that actual research had completely debunked.
  15. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Of course 10,000 hours of mindful practice will make you a good player. There is no “rule” that guarantees anything at that point, but it a suggestion of how much a person has to be willing to dedicate to reach your goals. Obviously, this message will be lost on people who don’t have what it takes.
  16. Corigan

    Corigan Addicted to Shaking Walls Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2021
    Outside of Atlanta, GA
    I've heard the same number for mastering skills or acquiring master level muscle memory. I think its hogwash. Some people learn and advance faster than others.

    I would hope at 10,000 hrs you would be a good player, but I mean does 9989 hours not get the job done? lol.
  17. Been playing since 2004. Not true.
  18. When Pablo Casals (world-class maestro virtuoso, then aged 93) was asked why he continued to practice the cello three hours a day, Casals replied, "I'm beginning to notice some improvement...".
    obieito, retslock, 3bc and 2 others like this.
  19. ELG60

    ELG60 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Sounds like arbitrary bravo sierra to me, but what do I know?
    Huw Phillips likes this.
  20. Tommyc


    Nov 11, 2015
    Well rule? Uh no, that’s Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers. I think without having a talent for something 10,000 hours wouldn’t be enough, but there are more than a few examples of remarkably talented people who were well accomplished well before reaching 10,000 hours of playing. Being at first, a classical guitarist myself, I think of notable classical guitarists before others. 10 1/2 year old Australian, John Williams was introduced to Andres Segovia and played for him. Segovia immediately took Williams on as his heir apparent. Segovia was also presented with an 8 year old French girl, Ida Presti for whom he admitted, “there is nothing I can teach her.” Then there is Heifetz, the violinist. I don’t remember who the 2 gentlemen were discussing people they had seen in the past but one mentioned, “I saw Heifetz when he was 10.” “Really,” asked his friend excitedly. “What did he sound like?” His friend replied, “well,... like Heifetz.
    squarepeg, retslock, SaxBass and 3 others like this.
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