If if you want to get good at something, like really good, then you’re going to need to do lots of that something. Then some more. And then some more. And then some more again.
It is said that to obtain mastery of a particular skill you need to spend around 10,000 hours practicing, working, honing, paring, polishing and tweaking. That’s a lot of hours! If you do the maths, breaking it down – if you want to master something like, say….ooooh the guitar, in 10 years, you’ve got to be putting in 1000 hours of practice each year. That equates to around 83 hours per month or around 19 hours per week. Bugger! Best get practicing!
Whatever the truth is behind the “10,000 hours” thing, what we can take from this is that, fundamentally, if we want to progress, to develop and to become better and better, continually improving on the instrument, there is one thing that we need to do.
Actually I lie. There are two things.
(2) Do it regularly and consistently.
To coin a couple of well-worn phrases, we are what we repeatedly do and repetition is the mother of skill.
The behaviours and actions that we repeatedly carry out (which we of course have absolute choice about carrying out) indicate the things that we value, and so we come to embody those action. You may want to ask yourself, do your practice behaviours and actions indicate that you value your practice? Do they indicate that you do the practice?! Are you happy that your actions reflect what you’re repeatedly (or otherwise) doing?
And what is it you’re repeating? Regularly and consistently practicing? And what, within your practice are you repeating? The same mistakes, just playing though, repeating and embedding “same old”? Or really listening to how you’re playing and practicing in new and improved ways of playing? Teasing out that technical knot and practicing in and repeating that awesome new left or right hand fingering, that dynamic, that movement of the phrase?
If repetition is the mother of skill, what are your repetitive actions giving life to?
- Practice pays rich dividends (thehindu.com)
- Entrepreneurial Excellence: Can 10,000 Hours Of Practice Make Perfect? (techcrunch.com)
- Bill Gates discusses the 10,000 hour rule (generallythinking.com)
- Are you committed?
- Practice stuff on Classical Guitar n Stuff