A very interesting blog post from Robert Baldwin on ‘Before the Downbeat’ on the time it takes to become accomplished at something – the title refers to the 10, 000 hours that research has suggested it takes to become expert at a task such as learning a musical instrument.
My own view is that, while individuals may develop the technical proficiency to play a difficult piece of music, the mere accomplishment of playing the piece itself is nearly worthless without the development of musical understanding and of a musical personality. This phenomenon is especially common in young children who have been pushed to become ‘virtuosos’ by the age of 5 or 10 – while they can play their instruments very well, their musicality is un- or under-developed, leaving the performances technically flawless but without the depth that makes a good performance great. Or as Robert Baldwin puts it:
‘Art reaches beyond good craftsmanship. Seasoned musicians transform it into artistry. A Bach Cello Suite can be played perfectly, without mentionable flaw and still not quite be ready.’