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

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

Post by Eberhard Mueller » Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:10 am

ashepps wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:25 pm
QUOTED
“This "debate" is not new. I remember it well, back in the 1960s, at a fourth year university colloquium! (I do wish I could equally remember well, the pieces I'm currently working on! But, such is a limitation of aging.
====

The above said, I have noticed that my pieces of the late 60s into the early 90s are far easier for me to play well although took some time to resurrect them.

Any new pieces always seem to be much harder to memorize than my originals and I find it very hard to accept especially if you can’t play the piece without the music in front of me.

Just my thought on that topic.

Alan
I've thought about that, too! I surmise that the motor memory of old, if well acquired, is relatively easier to resurrect, as if it were hard wired in the far recesses of the neural system. However, with age, it may be increasingly difficult to establish new neural / motor patterns. I notice that it takes much more repetition.
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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours? A rhetorical question

Post by Rick Beauregard » Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:01 pm

Eberhard Mueller wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:10 am
ashepps wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:25 pm
QUOTED
“This "debate" is not new. I remember it well, back in the 1960s, at a fourth year university colloquium! (I do wish I could equally remember well, the pieces I'm currently working on! But, such is a limitation of aging.
====

The above said, I have noticed that my pieces of the late 60s into the early 90s are far easier for me to play well although took some time to resurrect them.

Any new pieces always seem to be much harder to memorize than my originals and I find it very hard to accept especially if you can’t play the piece without the music in front of me.

Just my thought on that topic.

Alan
I've thought about that, too! I surmise that the motor memory of old, if well acquired, is relatively easier to resurrect, as if it were hard wired in the far recesses of the neural system. However, with age, it may be increasingly difficult to establish new neural / motor patterns. I notice that it takes much more repetition.
The other side of the coin is the belief that playing music is a great mental exercise that helps to delay or prevent this type of aging process of mind/body.

I heard a podcast yesterday on the divided brain by Ian Mcgillchrist. His thesis is not about aging of individuals, but the slide of culture as a whole toward more tech, focused, left brain world and away from big picture, integrated, nuanced Right brain world. This may help to explain some of the observations Rognvald has commented on in these pages, e.g. disappearance of the renaissance man.

Music is maybe the best exercise for both left and right brain development. You need detailed, focused, deconstructed thinking to learn to play the notes. But playing beautifully requires letting go of these things and seeing the larger structure, emotion and beauty of the phrase, the piece, the symphony.

My challenge is I want to skip all the left brain work and get to the music. I have a clear picture in my mind of how I want a piece to sound, but I have a hard time executing it without the technique available. Maybe that’s where this 10,000 hour thing has helped me, to focus on the work I need to develop the technique.

Maybe the skill or talent part we’ve been debating about resides in those with the best ability to put the optimal amount of left and right brain to the task.

I think I’ll get McGillchrist’s book, The Master and His Emmisary. There’s also a documentary “The Divided Brain” But I can find it on YouTube. Apparently he uses music metaphors a lot in his analysis.
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Terpfan
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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours? A rhetorical question

Post by Terpfan » Sun Feb 24, 2019 12:51 am

For me, difference in 10,000 hour will make you a guitarist. Good or bad, the guitar will be engrained to your body that forever you are a guitarist (or what ever you practice or work at.) I remember if I skip one day of practice, it would set me back five days to recover my technique to what it was. After ten years, skipping day or two did not make a difference. I practically did not play for 18yrs and it took me month and half to recover my technique. If some who played 2 years and quit for 10years will become almost like a beginner. That's the difference.

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

Post by Rick Beauregard » Sun Feb 24, 2019 12:54 am

Excellent observation Terpfan. I’m just 4000 hours in and I see setbacks when I take a break of more than a couple days.
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? A rhetorical question

Post by Eberhard Mueller » Sun Feb 24, 2019 5:34 am

A quote from Jascha Heifetz: "The discipline of practice every day is essential. When I skip a day, I notice a difference in my playing. After two days, the critics notice, and after three days, so does the audience." This is said 10,000 hours, notwithstanding. I'm sure poor Jascha was multiple times over that baseline!

Similar quotes come from other top performers, such as Segovia, who is reputed to have had a scrupulous practice routine all his life. Likewise, Tarrega, had a grueling practice routine throughout his career, by stop watch, not wasting a minute. (Well, it would be "grueling" for me to do likewise, nay torture!) But, that is what it takes for excellence!
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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours? A rhetorical question

Post by DaveLeeNC » Sun Feb 24, 2019 1:29 pm

Terpfan, thank you for your observation. That helps to explain something that I was reading by Douglas Niedt on the topic of maintaining a repertoire. It made no sense to me as it just didn't match my experience. Now I think I understand the perspective (which does not DIRECTLY apply to me at the level of my experience).

dave

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

Post by Terpfan » Sun Feb 24, 2019 2:45 pm

Eberhard Mueller wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 5:34 am
A quote from Jascha Heifetz: "The discipline of practice every day is essential. When I skip a day, I notice a difference in my playing. After two days, the critics notice, and after three days, so does the audience." This is said 10,000 hours, notwithstanding. I'm sure poor Jascha was multiple times over that baseline!

Similar quotes come from other top performers, such as Segovia, who is reputed to have had a scrupulous practice routine all his life. Likewise, Tarrega, had a grueling practice routine throughout his career, by stop watch, not wasting a minute. (Well, it would be "grueling" for me to do likewise, nay torture!) But, that is what it takes for excellence!
Heifetz is talking about performance. If you take a day off and performed a concert, only you notice??

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

Post by Eberhard Mueller » Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:11 pm

Terpfan wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 2:45 pm
Heifetz is talking about performance. If you take a day off and performed a concert, only you notice??
Of course. Were we not talking about performance and noticing?
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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours? A rhetorical question

Post by Terpfan » Mon Feb 25, 2019 2:47 am

Sure, Heifetz can take a day off just before a concert and no one will notice the difference except himself. For most people that equals crash and burn.

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

Post by Eberhard Mueller » Mon Feb 25, 2019 8:24 pm

Terpfan wrote:
Mon Feb 25, 2019 2:47 am
Sure, Heifetz can take a day off just before a concert and no one will notice the difference except himself. For most people that equals crash and burn.
Yes, and then just a puddle on the floor! :lol:

I attempted some cursory research to find, online, some information on Tarrega's practice routine. I have had no luck with that, yet. My original reading of Tarrega's machine like routine, with stop watch, to the second, came from hard print (likely Dr. Leckie's journals) - must have read it sometime in the 80's.

I did find something of Segovia's later year's routine in a New York Times interview of 1977. At that time Segovia was 84. His daily practice was regular 5 hours with an irregular bonus 1 hour evening practice. He preferred to go at it in 1 and 1/4 hour intervals, 4 times during the day. By this time he had cut his concert schedule down to 26 per year from a high of 100. It doesn't mention anything about him having had cut practice hours down, but that most likely was also a necessity of age.

Anyone care to calculate Segovia's lifetime guitar playing (i.e. practice, in teaching/demonstration, concertizing) mileage? (My rough estimate is close to 250,000 hours, based on lifetime 8 hour daily averaged over 84 years (he died at 94.))

BTW, speaking of Segovia: I recently met someone playing a well worn Ramirez 1A. His humble playing of Renaissance pieces and the tone of the instrument was nothing short of divine. I'm glad I asked him about the instrument. He stated that he had played none other since acquiring it as a student, studying abroad. His story was that it was one of Segovia's Ramirez's. Segovia had ordered and played several, with this one offered as first prize in a guitar festival which Segovia initiated in the late sixties. The prized instrument was never sold or on the market, yet passed down from master to the premier student over three more generations - much like a mantle of succession. I found the story genuine and touching! I asked him if he takes on students and he said "no," preferring just to play for himself. Under that poignant circumstance, the mantle is unlikely to be passed on any further.
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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours? A rhetorical question

Post by Rick Beauregard » Tue Feb 26, 2019 5:38 am

I had the good fortune to attend one of Segovia's 2 week masterclasses at USC in 1981. I heard him tell his practice routine, as you describe it. He also told the story of how he acquired his first concert guitar from Manuel Ramirez before his debut in Madrid at about age 19. After hearing him play in his shop, and telling Ramirez he had no money to buy the guitar but could he rent it, Manual said: "Take the guitar. It is yours. Pay me without money." He has certainly done that, and then some.

We all had the opportunity to meet the maestro backstage one on one. He signed my name tag. The performers included all four of the original LAGQ, including a very young Scott Tennant and William Kannengiser. I have a write up of my notes from the whole class, but I can't attached it here as a pdf.
Segovia Autograph.jpg
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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? A rhetorical question

Post by DaveLloyd » Mon Apr 22, 2019 12:23 pm

Rosie Bennet shares her thoughts on the 10,000 hours of practice question on Tonebase

https://medium.com/tonebase/10-000-hour ... c116d945b7

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

Post by Rick Beauregard » Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:05 pm

DaveLloyd wrote:
Mon Apr 22, 2019 12:23 pm
Rosie Bennet shares her thoughts on the 10,000 hours of practice question on Tonebase

https://medium.com/tonebase/10-000-hour ... c116d945b7
Thanks for the link. I think she misses the point of the original work as badly as the popular version by emphasizing “mastery” and “10,000 hours” instead of deliberate practice and innate “talent” and the relative value of each. Did she read the research?
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? A rhetorical question

Post by Derek Hasted » Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:16 pm

"I think she misses the point of the original work as badly as the popular version by emphasizing “mastery” and “10,000 hours” instead of deliberate practice and innate “talent” and the relative value of each. Did she read the research?"

That's an interesting and very welcome comment :-) A lot of people new to the guitar scene think that they have an opinion that trumps accepted wisdom, because they feel the need to bring "something new to the party". Much like that old quote that says "today's young think they invented s*x".... Maybe you are as cynical as I am :-)

As an old fogey, I go with the "10,000 hours became the benchmark because that's the hours a music student spends between starting learning and trying to earn a living". It has a sense of closure and approximation that stops people wondering what happens between hour 9999 and hour 10001.

As regards the original poster, well, that was a slightly different question - if you were to ask how many hours it takes to play something well in private, as opposed to "on television" then clearly the hours are significantly less. If you were to ask how many hours it takes to play something to the point when playing it was enjoyable instead of hard work, well, that's less again.

As someone who teaches all abilities and all aspirations, I think it's important to separate out the gratification sought by the amateur from the rigour needed of the professional. All the time we all measure ourselves on the one scale, well, that's like saying "I jog - how many steps will I need to take till I can be sure to win the London Marathon". That's not what it's about...
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Re: Can an Old Guy make it to 10,000 Hours? A rhetorical question

Post by Rick Beauregard » Mon Apr 22, 2019 6:27 pm

Derek Hasted wrote:
Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:16 pm
"I think she misses the point of the original work as badly as the popular version by emphasizing “mastery” and “10,000 hours” instead of deliberate practice and innate “talent” and the relative value of each. Did she read the research?"

That's an interesting and very welcome comment :-) A lot of people new to the guitar scene think that they have an opinion that trumps accepted wisdom, because they feel the need to bring "something new to the party". Much like that old quote that says "today's young think they invented s*x".... Maybe you are as cynical as I am :-)

As an old fogey, I go with the "10,000 hours became the benchmark because that's the hours a music student spends between starting learning and trying to earn a living". It has a sense of closure and approximation that stops people wondering what happens between hour 9999 and hour 10001.

As regards the original poster, well, that was a slightly different question - if you were to ask how many hours it takes to play something well in private, as opposed to "on television" then clearly the hours are significantly less. If you were to ask how many hours it takes to play something to the point when playing it was enjoyable instead of hard work, well, that's less again.

As someone who teaches all abilities and all aspirations, I think it's important to separate out the gratification sought by the amateur from the rigour needed of the professional. All the time we all measure ourselves on the one scale, well, that's like saying "I jog - how many steps will I need to take till I can be sure to win the London Marathon". That's not what it's about...
Yes I totally agree. As the OP myself, the question was really, "Do I have enough time to get any good?" And if it takes a young person 10 years to get to the start of a career, could an old guy reach a similar level of "mastery"? Not a career, mind you, I'm all done with that. But ability. I had to edit my OP heading to add "...a rhetorical question" because people were taking this in all sorts of literal directions unintended by my question. But as I have said before, if I knew at 7 years old that it just takes 10 years of deliberate practice, and not necessarily just immense talent, maybe I could have had a career in music. It is a lie to young people (or old?) that only the supremely gifted need apply.
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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