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The Indie Initiative – Your 10,000 Hours

THE INDIE WORLD (Hypebot) – Malcolm Gladwell's latest book Outliers: The Story of Success outlines his belief that success only comes to those willing to practice their craft for more than 10,000 hours. From The Beatles to Bill Gates, Gladwell provides examples which show that after a certain level of talent or intelligence has provided the opportunity, 10,000 hours of concentrated effort is needed to achieve real success.

During several extended gigs in Hamburg, Germany, The Beatles had to play 8 hours straight, 7 days a week for more than a month. Years later in an interview about Hamburg John Lennon said: “We got better and got more confidence. We couldn’t help it with all the experience playing all night long. . . In Liverpool, we’d only ever done one-hour sessions, and we just used to do our best numbers, the same ones, at every one. In Hamburg we had to play for eight hours, so we really had to find a new way of playing.”

In Outliers, Gladwell describes an early 1990’s study at Berlin’s Academy of Music which divided the school’s violinists into three groups: the stars, the “good”, and those unlikely to ever play professionally but who could probably become music teachers. They were all asked: "Over the course of the years, ever since you picked up a violin, how many hours have you practiced?”

All of the violinists had started practicing around age 5 and practiced 2-3 hours a week during their first years. But by the age of 8, differences emerged between amount of hours they each practiced. By age of 20, the stars had all totaled 10,000 hours of practice, the “good” students had worked 8,000 hours and the future music teachers had practiced just over 4,000 hours.