Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours? A rhetorical question

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Rick Beauregard
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Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours? A rhetorical question

Post by Rick Beauregard » Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:23 pm

There have been a few posts on the topic of older players lately. One referenced this old thread viewtopic.php?f=4&t=26680 chronicaling the progress of rayjang for several years. It struck a chord (NPI) with me and many other members, and I wish I knew how rayjang is doing now.

I thought maybe a new thread for us older players might be interesting for some, and a place to chart your progress and maybe get some inspiration.

My story starts when I retired in 2014. After working 50 years I reflected that, all that time and I don't feel I have ever mastered anything of value. I started music at a young age, but convinced myself I had no talent, so I quit. Then took up guitar at 30 and took some classical lessons. After a few years balancing job and family I quit.

In 2014 I read "Outliers" and learned about the 10,000 hour concept: that deliberate practice for no less than 10,000 hours, or nominally 10 years, is as much or more predictive of achieving a level of mastery in a skill than inherent talent. I wish I had learned about this in 1966!

So I wondered: would this work for an old guy? And I've set out to find out.

I picked up the guitar and started practicing again and tracking my hours using an app called GuruTimer. I figured I put in about 1200 hours when I first stared in 1980. Once I got back near to the skill level I'd achieved then, I took credit for those hours. I read through the Delcamp lessons D01 and D02 and started with D03. I completed the certificates for D03 and D04. Today I have 7160 hours to go to reach 10,000. I am working on my final exam piece for Delcamp level D05 (Sons de Carillhoes).

If you're interested, you can track my progress by searching for my videos on the lesson pages, or my YT channel beaugy99.

At 66 years, I still have time to make it to 10,000 if my hands and body stay healthy. It's not a race but it gives me a goal that helps inspire my study. Maybe, like rayjang, I'll try to keep a journal here every 100 hours or so. I hope others will add their comments and progress as well.

Currently I am dealing with a little trigger finger issue so I think after the exam I will take a little break. I actually think playing is good for my fingers and my problem is just old age, complications of type II Diabetes, and texting too much. So I'll stop for now.
Last edited by Rick Beauregard on Thu May 04, 2017 8:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
2015 Steve Ganz "Solidarity"
1980 Dauphin D30
1962 Fender pre-CBS P-Bass
National Triolian Uke ca.1930
Almost as many fly rods as guitars
_/) _/)
_/)

igycrctl
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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours?

Post by igycrctl » Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:05 pm

This is exactly the theme of https://www.google.com/search?q=guitar+ ... TF-8#spf=1 Guitar Zero (not a direct link to a commercial site).

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joachim33
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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours?

Post by joachim33 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:59 pm

Rick

I think: "Are you enjoying playing pieces at your current level?" is a better question to ask. I hope the answer is "yes".

Enjoy
Joachim

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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours?

Post by SunnyDee » Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:13 pm

I love the book Outliers and I listened to the audio book for Guitar Zero. I wished Marcus had been more specific about his actual learning, but it was a good book. This is a topic dear to my heart because I always wanted to understand and create music but never had the training or opportunity before. I started a year ago and I'm pretty obsessed. Ten years is too long, so I'm working at it full-time as much as I can, much more like 8-10 hours a day than 2-3. I am an academic, a teacher-trainer, and an educational materials designer in my other life, so I'm pretty good at teaching myself things. And, fortunately, I'm not trying to master classical repertoire, I'm learning theory/ear-training/technique to compose and write songs. I figure I don't REALLY need to be quite as expert as 10,000 hours, about 8000 will probably do. I figure I'll make it in about 3 years if I keep going as I have. I base that on my experience of getting an MA and launching a career in that time so I have a feel for how I learn. We'll see. Good luck to all us determined old codgers out there. :)
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Eberhard Mueller
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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours?

Post by Eberhard Mueller » Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:37 pm

Rick Beauregard wrote: snip...At 66 years, I still have time to make it to 10,000 if my hands and body stay healthy... snip
Well, yes, there's the rub when age is against you. I certainly hope there are many years of progressing in store for you. I can't answer the question, "Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 hours," as it may apply to you. However, as it applies to me, it is doubtful, even 'though I might be more than 1/2 way there by now. (I'm counting all "practice" over a 1/2 lifetime of fits and starts and about 6 years of lessons a long time ago.)

I think an older, retired person is more capable of managing time for sustained practice, relative to a younger person with complex obligations to family and work. But if one becomes greedy about this "elder's privilege," then too much practising might well wear out those joints sooner than later.

That said, I don't think this late life musical experience and blessing should be a race to the finish, anyways!
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Rick Beauregard
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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours?

Post by Rick Beauregard » Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:00 pm

igycrctl wrote:This is exactly the theme of https://www.google.com/search?q=guitar+ ... TF-8#spf=1 Guitar Zero (not a direct link to a commercial site).
Thanks for the link igycrcti. I'll check that one out.
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
2015 Steve Ganz "Solidarity"
1980 Dauphin D30
1962 Fender pre-CBS P-Bass
National Triolian Uke ca.1930
Almost as many fly rods as guitars
_/) _/)
_/)

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Rick Beauregard
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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours?

Post by Rick Beauregard » Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:04 pm

joachim33 wrote:Rick

I think: "Are you enjoying playing pieces at your current level?" is a better question to ask. I hope the answer is "yes".

Enjoy
Joachim
Thanks Joachim. I think it kind of goes without saying you have to love what you do. Anyone who puts 10,000 hours into something (or even 3000 as I sneak up on that number) has to have a passion for it.
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
2015 Steve Ganz "Solidarity"
1980 Dauphin D30
1962 Fender pre-CBS P-Bass
National Triolian Uke ca.1930
Almost as many fly rods as guitars
_/) _/)
_/)

chien buggle
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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours?

Post by chien buggle » Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:11 pm

I'm a great believer in hard work and a positive outlook when it comes to learning, and I support the whole 10,000 hours thing as it helps to promote those values but it is a very arbitrary number.

I'm totally convinced that one could practice for 10,000 hours and waste almost all of them. What I mean is maybe it's not a good idea to get hung up on achieving that number. A more meaningful goal would be to record video or audio of music you love, or to perform something like the chaconne (or some other advanced pic) in concert. I feel like either of these would be a more realistic measure of mastery (whatever that means)

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Rick Beauregard
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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours?

Post by Rick Beauregard » Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:33 pm

chien buggle wrote:I'm a great believer in hard work and a positive outlook when it comes to learning, and I support the whole 10,000 hours thing as it helps to promote those values but it is a very arbitrary number.

I'm totally convinced that one could practice for 10,000 hours and waste almost all of them. What I mean is maybe it's not a good idea to get hung up on achieving that number. A more meaningful goal would be to record video or audio of music you love, or to perform something like the chaconne (or some other advanced pic) in concert. I feel like either of these would be a more realistic measure of mastery (whatever that means)
Yes of course it is somewhat arbitrary. The authors of the original paper never meant it literally, as it has been portrayed by the popular media. But their study did find this common theme across many disciplines. It is an easy goal to quantify and to track on a daily basis. Of course I also have other goals for every practice session. It's not about someone else declaring that I've mastered the guitar. That is unlikely as there will always be someone better. But it is about my mastery of myself in this small area. Not to the exclusion of everything else. But to the benefit of everything else.

I also agree that just noodling for 10k won't necessarily work. You need to follow as the authors say "deliberate practice", which they define in their paper.
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
2015 Steve Ganz "Solidarity"
1980 Dauphin D30
1962 Fender pre-CBS P-Bass
National Triolian Uke ca.1930
Almost as many fly rods as guitars
_/) _/)
_/)

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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours?

Post by bear » Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:50 pm

if you don't die for awhile
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Johnny Geudel
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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours?

Post by Johnny Geudel » Fri Apr 28, 2017 2:13 am

Congratulations, you and Prof.Delcamps have done an excellent job. From YT, I observe you play real and musical classical guitar.
Are you acquainted with " Classical guitar technique" by Richard Provost? Forum member Kevin Collins posted
here some very interesting thoughts on his work.

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Rick Beauregard
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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours?

Post by Rick Beauregard » Fri Apr 28, 2017 5:33 am

Johnny Geudel wrote:Congratulations, you and Prof.Delcamps have done an excellent job. From YT, I observe you play real and musical classical guitar.
Are you acquainted with " Classical guitar technique" by Richard Provost? Forum member Kevin Collins posted
here some very interesting thoughts on his work.
Thanks Johnny. I will check that one out.
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
2015 Steve Ganz "Solidarity"
1980 Dauphin D30
1962 Fender pre-CBS P-Bass
National Triolian Uke ca.1930
Almost as many fly rods as guitars
_/) _/)
_/)

CathyCate
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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours?

Post by CathyCate » Sat Apr 29, 2017 3:05 pm

Rick
Thank you for an interesting thread. Whatever works for you is the road to follow for as long as it works for you.

I am almost 70 now and live firmly in the knowledge that any of us can die tomorrow (or today for that matter). I urge you to enjoy whatever time you have with your beloved guitar and to engage in purposeful practice with well defined goals beyond the practice room. This includes the practice of live performance or sharing your music with others. I think I have mentioned in some of my earlier posts that nothing brings practice into focus better than having a commitment to play a set list at a specific time and place.

Remember that when you are fully focused, 15 such minutes can more than equal an hour. The takeaway? Book lots of gigs and you'll reach 10,000 hours (in theory) very soon indeed. That should be great news when life's meter is running faster and ticking away at an ever-increasing volume!

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Rick Beauregard
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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours?

Post by Rick Beauregard » Sat Apr 29, 2017 3:19 pm

I heard a good quote yesterday that sums it up for me CathyCate: Happiness is not a finish line.

It is hard sometimes to see progress day to day, and often it feels like regression. But I can track positive progress towards this long term goal every day. Like a runner tracking miles, it is a great positive poke every day.
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
2015 Steve Ganz "Solidarity"
1980 Dauphin D30
1962 Fender pre-CBS P-Bass
National Triolian Uke ca.1930
Almost as many fly rods as guitars
_/) _/)
_/)

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Eberhard Mueller
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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours?

Post by Eberhard Mueller » Sat Apr 29, 2017 7:26 pm

CathyCate wrote:Rick
...
Book lots of gigs and you'll reach 10,000 hours (in theory) very soon indeed. That should be great news when life's meter is running faster and ticking away at an ever-increasing volume!
I won't dispute the logic of performance benefiting musical development. However, everybody is different and performance is not within the scope of every personality. If one is seriously introverted in nature and not at all histrionic, then motivation and comfort with performance is nada, nil, zip! Although, one can still enjoy music, and getting better at it over time.

As you say, life's meter is ticking incessantly. Even 'though days are numbered, pilling on lots of practice, 10,000 hours, may only be a faint hope and there are downsides. Hence, I offer caution - be careful folks, since those old and aching bodily parts may be easy to strain, otherwise aggravate, and injure permanently!
Neil Douglas 2001 (German Spruce / German Maple)
Neil Douglas 1992 (Engelmann Spruce / Brazilian Rosewood)
La Patrie Motif
Cordoba Mini M

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