10,000 Hours or 22,000 Days?

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.

10,000 Hours or 22,000 Days?.

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.’

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