music mastery

10,000 hours to Achieving Mastery

In his book, This is Your Brain on Music, Dr. Daniel Levtin wrote: "… ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert — in anything. In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, and what have you, this number comes up again and again. Ten thousand hours is the equivalent to roughly three hours per day, or twenty hours per week, of practice over ten years. Of course, this doesn’t address why some people don’t seem to get anywhere when they practice, and why some people get more out of their practice sessions than others. But no one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery."

He's not the only one to say this. Australian music teacher Leah Coutts ponders this point in her article AnInteresting Statistic and Unrealistic Goals Leah Coutts is a private piano teacher in Brisbane, Australia.

Blogger Michael Neill, blogged about the "levelling up" timeline to achieving mastery and puts that daunting number into perspective.

A quick Google search reveals that several studies have been conducted on this subject.

I suppose many teachers fall into the 1,000 - 10,000 level and I'd be curious to see which level some professional musicians are at.

There are just so many levels and facets to any art form that I don't think many people would consider themselves an expert at something. That's for others to decide, I suppose.

(c) 2009 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.