5,000 Hours

IMG-1712
Click to hear her play

 

Malcolm Gladwell estimates it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to be world class at a skill. 

But a new study destroys that rule.

In any case, we’ve estimated that with regular practice, rehearsals, competitions and school orchestra, the girls have at least 5,000 of deliberate practice under their belt. 

In nearly nine years of playing, the girls have not once said they want to quit. I attribute that to the fact that they only play violin – they do not do any other extracurriculars. The upsides of “being good” at something are: self-confidence, self-discipline and optimism! 

IMG-1724
Click to hear her play

 

To Suck or not to Suck – It Doesn’t Matter

baher-khairy-129107
Photo by BaherKhairy

I volunteered tonight at my daughter’s symphony chair auditions. My task was to walk the children of the cello section from rehearsal to a small private room with a judge and back to rehearsal, one at a time. These kids’ ages ranged from 12 to 14 and there were eight of them.

They were nervous.

Six of them told me they didn’t practice enough. One of them told me he would fail.

I urged them to breathe deeply and think positively. But they weren’t having it!

Their pessimism surprised me. These kids attend rehearsal once a week, most coming from other cities 30 minutes away or more. They take private lessons.

It goes to show that two important factors necessary for confidence in performance: preparation and positivity.

Still, watching young kids work so hard to make beautiful music together warms the heart!

I love my friend’s reaction to her son when his audition was over.

He walked out of his audition, stretched his arms out and shouted, “I sucked!”

She said, “Well, let’s go out for ice cream then.”

And they did.

jared-sluyter-342881.jpg
Photo by Jared Sluyter

Garbage In, Garbage Out

ipodmini.jpg

I take walking breaks between teaching classes. I used to grab my little iPod mini (which replaced my Sony Walkman). I got tired of listening to my music. So I plugged my headphones into my cell phone and listened to TedTalks and informational videos on YouTube. The change has been tremendous!

I’ve learned about meditation, motivation, education, nutrition and much more. Because I learn during my walks, I have more to offer my students, my children, my spouse and friends. Now, my walks provide mental as well as physical energy.

What are you listening to? What are you reading? You’re in control of the input. Now – more than ever – there is “information” and “noise.” Be mindful about what goes through those ears of yours and into your beautiful mind.

 

 

Teens and Talent

thc13xri_q0-greg-raines

“I’m procrastinating,” my daughter said. She was just hanging out with me. With all her chores done, the last item on her list of “to dos” was to practice her violin.

“I don’t get it. You are so good at violin. You seem to enjoy it. Why do you always put it off?”

“I love playing. I don’t like practicing. It’s hard and it’s boring.”

“Well, it’s the practicing that makes us like listening to the playing.”

“You’re so mean,” she says as she opens her case.