Extract relating to "The 10,000-Hour Rule"
- A study done by the psychologist K. Anders Ericsson at Berlin's Academy of Music, had divided the school's violinists into 3 groups. In the first group were the stars, the students with the potential to become world-class soloists. In the second were those judged to be merely "good". In the third were the students who were unlikely to ever play professionally and who intended to be music teachers in the public school system.
- Everyone from all 3 groups started playing at roughly the same age, around 5 years old. In those first few years, everyone practiced roughly the same amount, about 2 - 3 hours a week. But when the students were around the age of 8, real differences started to emerge. The students who would end up the best in their class began to practice more than everyone else: 6 hours a week by age 9, 8 hours a week by age 12, 16 hours a week by age 14, and up and up, until by the age of 20 they were practicing - well over 30 hours a week. In fact, by the age of 20, the elite performers had each totaled 10,000 hours of practice. By contrast, the merely good students had totaled 8,000 hours, and the future music teachers had totaled just over 4,000 hours.
- The striking thing about Ericsson's study is that he and his colleagues couldn't find any "naturals", musicians who floated effortlessly to the top while practicing a fraction of the time their peers did. Nor they could find any "grinds", people who worked harder than everyone else, yet just didn't have what it takes to break the top ranks. Their research suggests that once a musician has enough ability to get into the top music school, the thing that distinguishes one performer from the another is how hard he or she works.