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

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

Post by eno » Mon May 01, 2017 7:09 pm

DerekH wrote:
Mon May 01, 2017 6:09 pm
Rick - thanks for replying to my post.

You just make sure you enjoy the music you make.

Too many guitarists concentrate on "cooking the meal", not "tasting it" :-)
Yeah, but the meal is usually much more enjoyabe when it's well cooked :D It's just a matter of finding the right balance. "There is time to cook and there is time to eat" as Ecclesiastes would say. And you can already start enjoying while you cook...
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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 » Tue May 02, 2017 4:09 am

Old guys enjoying music practice, perhaps for the first time in their lives is stupendous! The hours logged and judgement on quality of logged hours is irrelevant. We strive our best as each brings different circumstances of age to the guitar table. But, if we were to talk a magic number of hours to competence, then old farts like me might well require 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 30,000, or until death parts us from our guitars. Lets face it, that 10,000 hours rule thing is best observed in youngsters and is observed to differentially favour youngsters with good tutelage, innate musical talent and loads of motivation. Respectfully, (saying to the OP,) I don't deem it to be a useful concept for the elderly beginner. The most important thing for elderly students is to keep expectations in line. If not so, then there is both emotional and physical price to pay.

I first took interest in CG and lessons in my late 30s. So it went for a 1/2 dozen or so years and I was never happy because I "knew" how well the pros played and how I sucked at it. Adult students are notorious about being hard on themselves and the music didn't feel nearly as good as it really was. My teacher was very competent musically but not able to assist with the emotional aspect or thought disorder and I eventually dropped guitar playing after becoming overwhelmed with life's other curve balls. In, hindsight, I know I paid an unnecessarily hefty emotional price.

Now, at twice that age, I resumed CG with modest expectations. I set a goal to work through Sor's Op. 60 and just enjoy myself with a simple repertoire of studies. After a few month's practice, I felt my left hand was not coming along so quickly and I was mystified as to why. (Perhaps, unrealistic expectations starting to rear up!) So, I contracted with a very experienced teacher who thought I should be bored with that repertoire and work at something like RCM Grade 6 and above. Then very quickly I suffered - as my, now old, left hand carpal and thumb joints started to painfully blow out, and still no useful insights forthcoming on my initial left hand problem. Huh, go figure, I paid the physical price! It should have been all about realistic expectations, and best to listen to one's self, one's body.

I realized I was well taught, given a good foundation so many years ago, and best work on without a teacher. I continue, generally happy and optimistic about musical development, but sometimes ambivalent about practice when it hurts too much. (BTW, the left hand ability improved a lot over the last couple of years, despite the pain.) However, when the pain makes practice counter productive, then I stop. Damn the 10,000 hours, 10,000 breaths or 10,000 heart-beats! Such benchmarks are just not useful at my stage in life.

One can respect the hours of practice that a competent player went to. But, I dare say, even a youngster couldn't relate to the 10,000 hour concept, but rather, a priori, needs loads of passion, encouragement to enjoy the music, the practice, the tutelage, the promotion; and yes, talent oils the musical works, too! Only with a career well under way, a youngster could look back and see the sterile numeric, 10,000 hours, now way behind them.
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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours?

Post by Joe de V » Tue May 02, 2017 2:16 pm

As a retired individual if you just faithfully practice just 4 hours each day of the year-which could be possible for a few of us at our age- then the simple math using ...365 days x 4 = 1460 hrs of practice each year you will reach your sample 10,000 hours in exactly 6.8 years. Double that time if you just take a day off between practice or lower your daily practice time by half.
An addition to this post:
In real life time It is likely that only very few of us can retain 100% concentration when practicing any musical instrument for more than 2 hours At One Sitting. The quantity of time spent is not as important as the quality of time spend doing a task that requires hand/finger coordination plus the exclusively demand of "brain concentration" without any distraction. A more possible and productive method will be to break the allocated daily hours of practice into separate periods.Seniors in particular could benefit by breaking the study time into shorter sessions at one sitting.
Last edited by Joe de V on Tue May 02, 2017 8:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by Rick Beauregard » Tue May 02, 2017 3:52 pm

Wow, Eberhard. I think you're overthinking this way too much. There's nothing sterile or merely numeric about how I spend my time. I agree that the theory is more relevant to young players. That's my point really: To see if this idea can motivate those past their prime as well. If not, go back to Opus 60 if that works for you.
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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours?

Post by Eberhard Mueller » Tue May 02, 2017 8:38 pm

Rick Beauregard wrote:
Tue May 02, 2017 3:52 pm
Wow, Eberhard. I think you're overthinking this way too much. There's nothing sterile or merely numeric about how I spend my time. I agree that the theory is more relevant to young players. That's my point really: To see if this idea can motivate those past their prime as well. If not, go back to Opus 60 if that works for you.
No, I didn't suggest that. I wouldn't be telling you how to spend your time or pass judgment on the quality of your time, specifically. (I don't know you at all.) However, my thinking expresses skepticism about the 10,000 hour concept as a useful or even safe motivator or yard stick, in general. That is my considered opinion, even if deemed "overthinking" by yourself. But, your mileage may vary and whatever is good for your growth as a musician is your call to make. Yes, in theory you can hit the 10,000 hour goal, no question about that! That's about it, to what I can say, if you are really asking. Regards. :)
Last edited by Eberhard Mueller on Tue May 02, 2017 10:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours?

Post by Eberhard Mueller » Tue May 02, 2017 9:00 pm

Joe de V wrote:
Tue May 02, 2017 2:16 pm
As a retired individual if you just faithfully practice just 4 hours each day of the year-which could be possible for a few of us at our age- then the simple math using ...365 days x 4 = 1460 hrs of practice each year you will reach your sample 10,000 hours in exactly 6.8 years. Double that time if you just take a day off between practice or lower your daily practice time by half.
Yes, the question begs the application of math (also actuarial tables) and you are correct. So it strikes me that somewhere between 10 - 15 years would be a realistic figure for acquisition of the 10,000 hour goal, by a determined player. This assumes that even retired folk are busy with all kinds of other things that are hard to pass up, including increasing frequency of health matters. It's also obvious, that some of us are not going to make it. :(
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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours?

Post by Rick Beauregard » Tue May 02, 2017 11:06 pm

Eberhard Mueller wrote:
Tue May 02, 2017 9:00 pm
Joe de V wrote:
Tue May 02, 2017 2:16 pm
As a retired individual if you just faithfully practice just 4 hours each day of the year-which could be possible for a few of us at our age- then the simple math using ...365 days x 4 = 1460 hrs of practice each year you will reach your sample 10,000 hours in exactly 6.8 years. Double that time if you just take a day off between practice or lower your daily practice time by half.
Yes, the question begs the application of math (also actuarial tables) and you are correct. So it strikes me that somewhere between 10 - 15 years would be a realistic figure for acquisition of the 10,000 hour goal, by a determined player. This assumes that even retired folk are busy with all kinds of other things that are hard to pass up, including increasing frequency of health matters. It's also obvious, that some of us are not going to make it. :(
Oh but what a ride!

My question of course was rhetorical. The title of the post should have been something like, "Join me (or watch) as I work and play towards theoretical mastery of a new worthwhile skill at an advanced age, and let's talk about your journey too." I didn't mean to launch a debate about a literal interpretation of the 10,000 hour theory. Though for me it makes sense and gives me hope (All caveats stated herein aside, and heck debates are fun).
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
2015 Steve Ganz "Solidarity"
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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours?

Post by Rick Beauregard » Tue May 02, 2017 11:12 pm

Duplicate post
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 Eberhard Mueller » Wed May 03, 2017 3:00 am

Rick Beauregard wrote:
Tue May 02, 2017 11:06 pm
...The title of the post should have been something like, "Join me (or watch) as I work and play towards theoretical mastery of a new worthwhile skill at an advanced age, and let's talk about your journey too." ...
Rick Beauregard wrote:
Tue May 02, 2017 3:52 pm
... If not, go back to Opus 60 if that works for you.
:lol: Well that (Op.60) hasn't happened!

I have been too autobiographical in my recent comments on your thread. Being a very private person, I do not find this a comforting thought. Yet, I wanted to make a helpful point from this experience of mine. Now, I'll stick to talking/sharing about my music and the approach I take to an elderly (72) student's repertoire. I think this might be closer to the "talk about your journey," concept you had intended.

In the past 2 years, it became my goal to put together a repertoire book which includes a good mix of the simple to the more challenging and memorized to sight reading, plus a section for wannabe stuff, pieces on hold. The latter is inspirational but also a problem, since adding a new piece to the repertoire and learning it takes play time away from the "old" learned pieces. Sometimes, I neglect the old enough so that I need to relearn them, restore motor memory. I'm reluctant to discard pieces, 'though! The book is saved in electronic form, MS Word file. It is easy to add to it and print out pages for the binder that sits on my music stand. (To be legal, my copies are made under fair use from my extensive library of sheet music and methods or from public domain.)

The repertoire book is both my motivator forward and retrospective on what I can do with a CG. There is a Warm Up section of 2 and 3 octave movable scales (Segovia) and then some easy pieces that serve as confidence builder, to tune in or listen carefully, checking for tone, etc. Here, I'm using 3 pieces from the Sor/Coste Method #9, 11, 13 and a delightful Andantino from Sor, Op.35#3.

Next, the Memorized Pieces section starts simply enough and then goes to whatever complexity in no particular order: The Last Rose of Summer (Arr. Dorn), Oh where and oh where is your highland laddie gone! (Arr. Mertz), Lagrima, Adelita (Tarrega), Spanish Romance (Anon), Ballet (Praetorius, arr. Noad), Bourree, BWV 996 (arr. Bream), Gavotte 1 and 2 BWV 1012 (Bach, arr. Lorimer), Fughette from Aylesford Pieces (Handel, arr. Segovia), Nocturne Op.4 #2 (Mertz), Sor Studies (the first 7 from Segovia's arrangements of 20).

The Current Work in Progress section is the Variazioni su un tema di Handel (Chiesa edition.) The theme and first two and sixth (last) variations are coming along. I'm not sure that I will have the time, will and energy to tackle the rest (that's a lot of sustained playing for arthritic, aching hands) - but we will see.

Next is the Reading section. In truth, these pieces are becoming partially memorized and eventually will move to the Memorized Pieces section. Included here are Ballet (Anon, arr. Gerrits), a selection of pieces from J.K. Mertz's Kuckuck - Yankee Doodle, The Last Rose of Summer, Home Sweet Home, Don Juan aria, an arrangement of Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring BWV 147. That's it for now, but the On Hold (for later) section is getting longer. It looks like El Noi de la Mare (arr. Llobet) is at the head of the line.

Long post. I hope there is something useful here, rather than just show and tell.
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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours?

Post by Rick Beauregard » Wed May 03, 2017 4:15 pm

This is great Eberhard. After a long time off from playing I wasn't sure where to begin again so I started the Delcamp lessons at level three to help me discover works that were accessible to me. I've evolved over the last couple years to a similar system to yours: things I'm learning actively; things I've learned and want to keep under my fingers, my kind of "gold set list"; things that are long term projects or ambitions; and a growing pile of pieces I've heard and would like to learn. Then there's studies, exercises, scales, arps etc. I have a warm up section too made up of Pumping Nylon and other stretching and other calisthenics.

I keep a binder. But your idea of organizing it in electronic files is a good idea. The binder is getting too big.

I find your autobiography and experience interesting and valuable and your opinions too. I think we are on the same page. My rhetorical topic was maybe more controversial than I had intended.
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 ashepps » Wed May 03, 2017 5:51 pm

Eberhart,

Thank you!

I just copied your planned list, what a great idea for me. I am as well getting up there in age, but just out of the guitar scene for a long, long time and really was not that good. This should definitely help you (and me).

I was not organized, now I feel that you have helped me put a new "spin" on my playing and practicing etc. I have been just "spinning my wheels" the last 3 years getting nothing accomplished.

Hope it works for the both of us.

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

Post by johnd » Wed May 03, 2017 6:18 pm

I am 77 years old. I have a better chance of making love to 10,000 women they I do logging 10,000 hours of practicing the guitar.
Either way I am going to enjoy it and have fun!!!!!

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

Post by Rick Beauregard » Wed May 03, 2017 7:39 pm

:lol: :lol:
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 SunnyDee » Wed May 03, 2017 8:22 pm

Eberhard Mueller wrote:
Tue May 02, 2017 9:00 pm

Yes, the question begs the application of math (also actuarial tables) and you are correct. ...This assumes that even retired folk are busy with all kinds of other things that are hard to pass up....
What are these "other things" that are more interesting than guitar? I don't understand how there can be such things. :D
In serious response, I really am putting a lot more hours in a day in, and I've also lowered my expectation to about an 8000 hour level of expertise. I'm tentatively aiming for 3-4 years. Shrug, we all have our methods.

Btw, a response that "begs the question" means that the response to a question offers no proof, rather it assumes the statement under question is true. It would look like this: Does 10,000 hours of practice make someone an expert? Response: Of course, 10,000 hours is a long time. The response commits the logical fallacy of begging the question.
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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours?

Post by Eberhard Mueller » Thu May 04, 2017 4:47 am

SunnyDee wrote:
Wed May 03, 2017 8:22 pm
Eberhard Mueller wrote:
Tue May 02, 2017 9:00 pm

Yes, the question begs the application of math (also actuarial tables) and you are correct. ...This assumes that even retired folk are busy with all kinds of other things that are hard to pass up....
What are these "other things" that are more interesting than guitar? I don't understand how there can be such things. :D
In serious response, I really am putting a lot more hours in a day in, and I've also lowered my expectation to about an 8000 hour level of expertise. I'm tentatively aiming for 3-4 years. Shrug, we all have our methods.

Btw, a response that "begs the question" means that the response to a question offers no proof, rather it assumes the statement under question is true. It would look like this: Does 10,000 hours of practice make someone an expert? Response: Of course, 10,000 hours is a long time. The response commits the logical fallacy of begging the question.
Of course, other things includes grandchildren, family, other hobbies (you need back up hobbies, anything you want to volunteer for, doctor appointments, filling the calendar with whatever. Seniors always complain about being busier than when they were working. :D

I understand what you are saying about begging the question. But, I did not say that. Rather, I said the question begs! It is easy to confuse because I turned a familiar phrase around! Can a question beg for a certain operation (math) in order to arrive at the correct answer? I think so in the sense that beg = to require as necessary or appropriate. However, I might not be correct in my English usage because the question (unless rhetorical) begs for an answer only. It is the particular answer that requires math. Yet, I hope this is a distinction without difference..., likely not, as I surrender!

I think 8,000 hours of practice would be pretty darn good and hope you live long and prosper! :bravo:
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