Friday, March 13, 2009

On being great

I just heard some really good musicians at Tamara's blog. Her kids won a bunch of awards at a recent music festival. Now, you could say that they are incredibly talented (that's what I thought), but my brother was telling me about a book he was reading (Outliers) that has this to say about achieving greatness:

Innate talent, pure desire, they’re not enough. Sure, Mozart started writing music when he was six, but he didn’t compose a masterwork until he was twenty one, after he’d put in 10,000 hours of practice. Turns out that’s the rule. You’ve got to have 10,000 hours.

That sounds easy. It just takes time. Now I'd love to be a great pianist or singer. I can do both reasonably well now, but not great. What would I have to do to get there?

That means that I have to practice 8 hours a day for 3.5 years to be great. I don't have 8 hours of free time each day and my fingers aren't that strong and my voice gives out after about an hour. Maybe that wouldn't be the case if I tried that for a while.

Or if I practice for 30 minutes a day, which is more realistic, I'd have to practice for 55 years to achieve greatness.

I just turned 41, so I'll be great by the time I'm 96. Wait for the tour posters! Here I come!

If you could just be so kind as to help me up to the stage, I'd really appreciate it.


Angela said...

10000 hours? sheesh. i've always been a proponent of mediocrity...

Evelyn in Canada said...

Then how do you explain Iowa?? You are far from mediocre.

Anonymous said...

I will be your first groupie. But you have to wheel me in from the home.