10,000 hour "rule"

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpettrax, Feb 10, 2011.

  1. trumpettrax

    trumpettrax Piano User

    Mar 18, 2006
    Supposedly there is this 10,000 hour "rule" that if you play 4 hours every day for 7 years if you are ever going to "master" the trumpet. my question is, at what point does the 7 years start? After you are an intermidiate player, after you are already a pro???

    Just askin,
  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Gerald Webster, my trumpet teacher, once made the observation that most pro players went through a period of nine months or so practicing six hours a day (face time).

    The true issue, though, is not about how long one practices, but how one practices.

    The biggest hurdle is focus and concentration. Think football. One can train to run 100 yards as quickly as possible, but that doesn't necessarily make for a great wide receiver. Wide receivers need a bigger skill-set than a sprinter.

    To be a good trumpet player also requires a number of different skill-sets, and to best develop those we need to forget the clock--it runs much slower when watched. If we are focused it is often the case that we can look at our watch and be surprised at how much time has passed.

    To summarize--don't watch the clock!
  3. keehun

    keehun Piano User

    Feb 4, 2010
    When I realize it's been 3 hrs behind the stand, I know I've been doing at least something right. :-?
  4. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    I've had nearly a decade behind the stand and just in the last few months have begun to realise how much I need to learn, based on how little I know. You all keep me humble - mind you, my career has NOT been "music" and has taken 40 years of focussed passion of a different sort.

    As I approach retirement, the disposable funds and the free time both become available to redirect that passion to trumpetting. You all are very lucky to be able to follow your dreams (as I did mine).
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011
  5. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    I heard it as the "7-year rule" from my jazz teacher back in college. He didn't quantify the hours, but only talked about it taking 7 years to master an instrument. As with all rules-of-thumb, there's probably some truth to it, but it's probably more complicated than this.

    Worth repeating (I added the emphasis). I was practicing up to 6 hours a day back in college. All I was doing was destroying my chops and spinning my wheels. A more practical metric might be to make sure you are learning something new every day.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011
  6. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Who says? What are you practicing?

    When I was at the Armed Forces School of Music, we had to do a certain number of "units" a week. Essentially a "unit" was a logged amount of practice time that consisted of 50 minutes of practice with a 10 minute break. We had to do 10 units a week, minimum, which was on top of our regular classes and rehearsals. I knew people who used to log 20+ and even 30+ units in a week who didn't play as well as I did, and I was doing my 10-12 units a week minimum.

    A friend of mine was consistently above 20 units a week, but I'm not sure what he was practicing because at the end of their 6 months at the school they failed their F2 audition - twice I believe. So, did all of that time in the practice room help? Well, maybe it did, but I've always felt it is about the quality of practice and how hard you push yourself rather than looking at it as a matter of time. If player #1 practices 90 minutes a day but just crushes the material and really puts in a focused practice, but player #2 practices 180+ minutes and just sort of fluffs stuff around, who is getting the most benefit?

    This isn't to say that I don't believe in extended practice times, but I usually break it up into blocks when I do because after a certain amount of time my level of mental accuity starts to wane slightly, so a break of 30 minutes to an hour is optimal if I'm to go back in and hit it hard again.
  7. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    Does it have to be "face" time? A subliminal tape for positive thinking ("slurring is easy", "the crowd loves me" ... that sort of thing) could be used while sleeping to rack up a few more hours.:play:

  8. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Seems like this was just asked recently. I remember the 10,000 hours thing. It is similar to my ski instructor telling me to take 10,000 steps to master skiing. There is obviously more to it than the hours/steps involved. A true "master" realizes how little they actually know. There will always be something new to learn and master. You don't ever "arrive". And to actually answer your question, I can't tell you when it starts.
  9. The Kraken

    The Kraken Piano User

    Mar 28, 2007
    Gold Coast - 805
    If the watching the clock makes it go slower then thats what I need to do, at my age I need more time!!! :play:

    If I was a young whipper snapper I would take that advise!:-P
    tedh1951 likes this.
  10. Scatmanblues

    Scatmanblues Pianissimo User

    Jul 19, 2010
    West Texas
    Ah, the 10,000 hour rule.

    It was actually developed by a cognitive psychologist names K. Anders Ericsson, and was based on an analysis of the habits of various "experts" such as chess masters, musicians, and athletes.

    A key point is that equally important as the time, is the quality.

    His stuff is fascinating, and from what I can tell, quality. I've heard him speak, and his pitch is compelling in a good way (the data rather than the personality).

    You can read the actual paper (one of many, but a good start) here:

    The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance

    It's not arbitrary -the data drove the rule, not the other way around.


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