I have heard it said that “hard work beats talent every time.”  In fact I have told my choirs many time at the beginning of the year that I would take a hard working group over a super talented group and that by the end of the year the hard working group would out sing the talented one.  I have learned that this is only partly true.  If the group with the good work ethic practices wrong,the result will not be good, just a lot of wrong.  As John Wooden said, “Never mistake activity for achievement. ”  So, being busy is not enough. My rehearsal may “look” busy, like we are working, but may not be productive.  More on this later.

What is the “10,000 hour rule”?  In a 1993, K. Anders Ericsson wrote “The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance” Anders researched the ingredients found in an expert performer.  Are expert performers born that way?  Are expert performers gifted?  How many times I’ve heard comments from folks like , “that kid is just a natural.”  We tend to think the great performers are prodigies. To these questions, Anders says NO. Instead, a common pattern in elite performers was found.  What was the pattern? How do you become an elite performer? What is the common thread in the great pianist, violinist, pro basketball players, etc.? They completed 10,000 hours of practice before reaching the “elite” level. And it was common that this super performers completed 10,000 hours of practice by age 20. On average the journey was over a span of just 10 years. Do the math? That is three hours of practice per day!!!!

Too many people reach a level where their performance is “good enough” and then stop working on getting better, we hit the “OK Plateau” (From the book “Practice Perfect.” This term makes me laugh — I live to close to the “OK Corral.”). I am interested in improving my rehearsals and student’s individual practice. 

For the next few weeks I will be sharing what I learn from the book “Perfect Practice.”  I invite you to learn with me how to make your practice better.

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Johnny Matlock 217 West 24th Street Hays, Kansas 67601 Phone: 785-623-1412 Email: matlockjc@gmail.com