5,000 Hours

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! 

Click to hear her play


How to Avoid Letting Ego Ruin Your Night

We are at the Ikeda Theater, waiting to watch Itzhak Perlman. We’re in the nosebleeds section, despite paying several hundred dollars. But this is Perlman. You can’t put a price on this.
Who comes to sit right next to us, but the girl and the mom who were so rude during summer symphony camp! I had set some gifts for the teachers and a sweater on my seat and came back after lunch to find them removed. “Mrs. S.” was sitting in our seats, her tripod and fancy camera all set up to capture her princess in her quartet group.  She had placed my possessions in “lost and found.”

I was fuming.

And here we are now. It’s funny how feelings can come to surface again.

Deep breath. This pain is ego. You cannot fight ego by resisting it.

This is called “practice” or meditation. Be mindful. Be aware. And let it go.

People are talking while Mr. Perlman is playing. Let it go.
It is not always easy.

I’m sitting with my husband and my daughters  who are dressed in their finest clothes. They did their hair in fancy dos and they feel special because we are taking them out to see Itzhak Perlman.

I choose to enjoy the  evening, moment by moment.

Teens and Talent


“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.


The Practice


One of the 5 ways to increase your grit is practice, practice, practice. By this, Angela Lee Duckworth means to practice deliberately. For example, let’s say you’re a musician. It might be tempting to play that piece that you know so well, the one everyone compliments you on. But you’re not going to get better by doing that. You need to practice that four octave scale you haven’t nailed yet. You need to go slowly, hit each not just right and start over when you get it wrong. Boring! Tedious! But so critical.

This is grit.

It’s hard and it’s boring and you need to do it every single day. You need to be consistent.

That is how you get better.

By the way, you can substitute anything for practicing violin: football, soccer, dance, writing, drawing, painting. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing extremely well.