Overcome The Cliché of The "10,000 Hour" Rule When It Comes to Playing The Guitar

TwitterFacebookPinterestGoogle PlusLinkedInStumbleUpon

Talents are mostly acquired through genetic transmission, sometimes through practices as well. There is a significant influence of genes and other environmental factors in acquiring such skills by any person.

However, most people think that talents like singing or playing a musical instrument come from years of practice. The idea of 10,000 hours of practice to make any skill perfect was encapsulated by popular writer Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers. It has its roots engrained on the research by psychologist Anders Ericsson. According to the rule, dedicated practice of 10,000 hours in any particular field is enough to bring the best out of anyone, whether the skill to be mastered is playing the guitar, writing novels or building skyscrapers.

Practice can make a man perfect

Everyone wants to be a master at what he or she might be trying to learn. However, being a master requires hardwork as well as hours of practice. Like weightlifting you will also find playing a guitar much easier once you start practicing. The more you go on with the practice the more you will find the roadblocks recede. The areas which had given you trouble initially are slowly going to pass away. You may even start to believe that you have become a good guitar player after one stage.

Ericsson’s theory explained

To illustrate the 10,000 hour practice rule Gladwell takes help of Ericsson’s experiment which he’s used to effectively explain the concept. He titled his experiment as Key studies which were conducted on violinists at Berlin’s Academy of Music where the students had started taking violin lessons from an early age of five years. However, as time went by, the trends began to diverge, some practicing more than the others. By the age of 20 the elite group had completed the targeted 10,000 hours of practice and the rest had only completed 8,000 hours.

The observers figured out a distinct difference between the two groups in terms of the skills acquired by them during the course. In his book, Gladwell stresses on this fact while specifying that excellence acquired in performing a particular task (particularly a complex one) requires a critical amount of practice and repeating the same thing again and again.

The Beatles way

While citing we can take the example of Beatles. The practice became an integral part of their success as they reined the music charts between the years 1960 to 1964.

Working for 10,000 hours might mean you would have to work for 3-4 hours every day or may be 90 minutes of practice every day for 20 years. On the other hand you can be a master of the trend within a decade, if you have the time of spending three hours every day. The fact what is obvious to everyone is that practice makes a man perfect. Even if a person is ingrained with talents he or she needs to nourish it with practice in order to make it perfect.

Mastering the art of guitar playing is something like that only. If 5000 can make it good then 10,000 has the ability to make it perfect. If a person nurtures the passion of playing the guitar, then he or she can dedicate 10,000 hours to acquire a kind of perfection in it. Instead of being a cliché the 10,000 hour rule can well be used to master the coveted instrument.

  • Leslie Edwards March 28, 2013, 2:10 pm

    I like to see “practice makes perfect” as “practice makes permanent”. If you practice incorrectly, those bad habits will stick. However if you practice correctly, you’ll have good habits. Quality practice is necessary.

    Oh and a random tip for your blog- you might want to add like a “read more” break in your posts so you can have more articles on your home page. Plus I find it more pleasing to look at.

    • Deborah E April 21, 2013, 11:35 am

      Very good point, Leslie. I started playing the piano before I began school and I am so glad that I had a great teacher (primarily my “local celebrity” grandmother). Oh, and thanks for the tip. Yes, that is the way the page was set up, but it helps if you manually excerpt. 🙂


Leave a Comment