Monday, July 13, 2009

Ten Thousand Hours of Painting

Study: Author K. Anders Ericsson
Berlin, Germany.
Academy of Music

"The idea that excellence at performing a compex task requires a critical, minimal, level of practice, surfaces again and again and again in studies of expertise. In fact, researchers have settled on what they beleive is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours.

"The emerging picture from such studies is that ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world class expert in anything", writes the neurologist Daniel Levitin. "In study after study of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, and what have you this number comes up again and again. Of course, this doesn't address why some people get more out of their practice sessions than others do. But no one has yet found a case, in which true world class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems that it takes the brain this long that to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery."

from: Outliers
author: Malcolm Gladwell

1 comment:

  1. What about conceptual artists!

    And dang, I'm shortchanged on being a master criminal, for the moment at least.

    I heard Gladwell on the Current speaking about Outliers and have read one of his other books so would like to get my nose into this one this winter. The 10,000 hrs, approx., rings true. I've been browsing Nicolaides Natural way to Draw in prep for a workshop on drawing and, written decades ago it provides no short cuts; just hundreds of hours of drawing to achieve some rewards. The downside is that he doesn't seem to recognize the pleasure principle; that you need a pleasant reward for the work occasionally. He ladles on exercise after exercise after which you aren't even meant to bother looking at before chucking. I think occasionally you need to try and do keepers so that you can have the pleasure of some kind of achievement, however momentary that pleasure is. In general, if you like doing something, it becomes less of a chore. There are probably orders of magnitude more people who loath and recoil from the piano as a result of their brutal regimes of lessons than who play for a living!


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