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Trumpet Discussion Discuss 10,000 hour "rule" in the General forums; Supposedly there is this 10,000 hour "rule" that if you play 4 hours every day for 7 years if you ...
  1. #1
    Piano User trumpettrax's Avatar
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    Mar 2006

    10,000 hour "rule"

    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. #2
    Moderator Utimate User Vulgano Brother's Avatar
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    Re: 10,000 hour "rule"

    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!
    "A tool good enough to be so used and not too good"
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  3. #3
    Piano User keehun's Avatar
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    Re: 10,000 hour "rule"

    When I realize it's been 3 hrs behind the stand, I know I've been doing at least something right.
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    Utimate User tedh1951's Avatar
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    Re: 10,000 hour "rule"

    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 by tedh1951; 02-10-2011 at 03:47 PM.

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    Fortissimo User TrumpetMD's Avatar
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    Re: 10,000 hour "rule"

    Quote Originally Posted by trumpettrax View Post
    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.
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vulgano Brother View Post
    The true issue, though, is not about how long one practices, but how one practices.
    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 by TrumpetMD; 02-10-2011 at 08:42 AM.
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  6. #6
    Utimate User trickg's Avatar
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    Re: 10,000 hour "rule"

    Quote Originally Posted by keehun View Post
    When I realize it's been 3 hrs behind the stand, I know I've been doing at least something right.
    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.
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  7. #7
    Utimate User turtlejimmy's Avatar
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    Re: 10,000 hour "rule"

    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.

    Trumpets are for extroverts - Lee Morgan

  8. #8
    Utimate User tobylou8's Avatar
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    Re: 10,000 hour "rule"

    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.
    Knowledge is freedom, and ignorance is slavery - Miles Davis

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  9. #9
    Piano User
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    Re: 10,000 hour "rule"

    Quote Originally Posted by Vulgano Brother View Post
    To summarize--don't watch the clock!
    If the watching the clock makes it go slower then thats what I need to do, at my age I need more time!!!

    If I was a young whipper snapper I would take that advise!
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  10. #10
    Pianissimo User Scatmanblues's Avatar
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    Re: 10,000 hour "rule"

    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.

    - Responsibility is Freedom -

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