"Do I have enough years left to reach my goals?" This is a good question coming from a retirement age student. I said, “Maybe”.
I practice the drums about 6+ hours a week. Studies say it takes 10,000 hours to reach mastery. I have already put in about 1200 hours, give or take. So, I‘ll be 82 years old. Will I make it? Maybe. If I do, I will be the swinging hard and grinning ear to ear. If I do not make it, at least I will die in the saddle somewhere along the trail to my dreams.
You will notice some real progress about every 300 hours of practice. You can do your own math on the mastery bit.
Here is to practice.
Now go saddle up.
For music students this means attending class, seeking out creative solutions to practice problems, watching and learning on YouTube, going to concerts, attending workshops, hanging out with musicians, talking up a storm with other students, asking questions of your teachers, setting practice goals which challenge, learning new styles of music, reading biographies of musicians you admire, reading biographies of musicians you hate, going to music festivals, and as Wynton says, “addressing your short comings”.
Every experience you have adds to your store of knowledge and, over time, increases your ability to respond successfully in the moment.
“Every time you expose yourself to another situation, it will give you another key of experience for your key ring”
Source: Life is Tremendous, by Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, page 36
Have a great week.
I was thinking...
Hilariously absurd. Yet millions apparently attempt to teach themselves piano on-line. And, there are lots of folks willing to sell you a miracle DVD, book, subscription in your quest. No teacher needed they proclaim.
Some people spend a lifetime looking for shortcuts and online freebies, when a few short years of focused effort and disciplined practice with a professional teacher would lead to the results they seek.
My favorite is the "Play what you want promise" A common desire. But in order to play the latest chart topper a few basics need to be addressed i.e. how to get the dots off the page and into your fingers? No shortcuts here. A competent teacher can guide you through that little roadblock in short order. A competent teacher will want you to play the music you love. They also know the quickest way to get there: professional instruction, a willing student, lots of focused effort. Focused effort is practice, bench time, rehearsal, wood-shedding, what ever you call it, result=input, cause=effect, karma, you get the point.
The miracle is practice. The shortcut is work.
Preparing for a piano exam is not for the faint of heart. Here are my observations from years of teaching and examining.
1. The student has to like the music.
2. Parental supervision and encouragement is required. Child prodigies do not practice alone. So it is unrealistic to expect the normal piano students to practice alone and be successful.
3. Sufficient practice time has to be arranged. Early grades require 30 minutes a day, middle grades up to an hour, upper grades more than an hour, associate level two to three hours a day. (I practiced and studied for 5000 hours to earn my Grade 10 and ARCT over four years. No kidding.)
4. Every short cut the student takes diminishes the outcome.
5. Last advice: Don't sign up until your music is memorized.
Last note: The completion of my Grade 10 was the most difficult thing I ever did as an adult and as a musician. Berklee of Music was a walk in the park in comparison. But, it was the most rewarding and exciting thing I ever did too.
You've got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.
I'm a professional pianist and music educator in West Toronto Ontario. I'm also a devoted student and teacher of the drums.