The number 1 complaint piano teachers have about the students must be that they do not practice enough! It is no trade secret that in order to progress when learning a musical instrument, one has to practice enough.

In today’s Recruit in Straits Times, there is an article titled 10,000 hours. Do you want to be outstanding in your profession? is discussed that there is a secret formula to achieve the goal of becoming better than your peers, achieve success faster, be outstanding and get the recognition, etc. But there is a bad news, there is no short cut!

Canadian author Malcolm Glawell suggests in his book, Outliers, that if you want to be a specialist in your trade, you have to clock at least 10,000 hours. In the article, there are several examples on this “secret formula”.  One of them was on Classical music. Anders Ericsson, an American psychologist, found that in Berlin’s elite Academy of Berlin, those who clocked more than the 10,000 hours of practice before they reach 20 years old, has the highest potential to be a world-class soloist. Anders found that those who clocked 8,000 hours only were good and that those who intended to be teachers, had averagely clocked 4,000 hours.

Based on his studies, he believed that there were no naturally talented who could breeze through only a few hours of practice and become a world-class soloist. He concluded that musicians who were at the top, did not work as hard as the others. They worked much harder than others. Is that good news to you or otherwise? 😉

Let us do the Math. If a student puts in an hour of training a day, it will take him 27 years to clock the 10,000 hours! If he however, practices 2 hours a day, it will half to 14 years. If a student can practice 4 hours a day, the number will drop to 7 years. 

Lets say a 6 year old starts learning piano and averagely practices an hour a day for the first 4 years, he would have clocked 1460 hours. If he at the age of 11, starts to increase the number of hours to 2 hours a day for the next 4 years, its another 2,920 hours.  So, that is accumulate, 4,380 hours. For the next 5 years, from 16 to 21 years old, the student has to do 3 hours of piano practice every single day, without missing a holiday. How’s that?

I was told by a piano teacher that his sister has a friend who went to China to pursue learning piano. She practiced an average of 10 hours a day! (She is an adult) And guess what she achieved in 1 year under a world-class piano instructor? She achieved from grade 1 level, to a grade 8 level, all in a year! That is sheer hard work! Are you already feeling like you should practice more? Victor also had student who started learning piano at the age of 6 and got his FTCL (Fellowship with Trinity) in 5 years time at 11 years old! That is quite something considering his age and that many think that it normally takes 8 to 10 years to reach only Grade 8, we are not even talking about the diploma level.

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