WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME AN EXPERT?



  • The following as an excerpt from a medical news letter that reports highlights from the medical literature. The article discusses what it takes to become an expert surgeon and how to streamline the learning that is involved. We have all heard and even previously discussed the 10,000 hour rule and some of us have read Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers”. The beginning of this article applies to musicians and athletes. I thought that you might find it interesting.

    WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME AN EXPERT?

    The question on expertise has fascinated K. Anders Ericsson, PhD, for decades. Dr. Ericsson began studying how professional musicians and high-performance athletes train to become masters of their craft—how much time they dedicate, how they practice, and how they maintain and develop new skills.

    In an early study, Dr. Ericsson found that it took, on average, more than 10,000 hours of practice to become the most promising violin students at a music academy by age 20 years (Psychol Rev1993;100[3]:363-406). To achieve mastery, he found that internationally recognized pianists put in closer to 20,000, even 30,000, hours of deliberate practice.

    “The key to achieving expertise is not only how long you practice; it’s also about what you practice and how you practice,” said Dr. Ericsson, the Conradi Eminent Scholar and a professor of psychology at Florida State University in Tallahassee, who presented his research at the 2019 Canadian Surgery Forum.

    Deliberate practice, Dr. Ericsson explained, means pinpointing specific problem areas and working on them until they become second nature. To achieve this, a teacher must first analyze a student’s skills and focus on particular features that can be improved. The teacher then needs to delineate what type of practice can help achieve those goals, and the student then spends hours working to reach them. Practice time, however, will vary by the profession and the individual person.

    Although you can’t rush expertise, you can make that process more efficient,” Dr. Ericsson said......

    THE REMAINDER OF THE ARTICLE APPLIES TO SURGERY.
    I will open this up to discussion.

    Sent from my iPhone



  • Seems to me it's common sense - except for the redundant 10,000 hours concept. For string players and pianists it may require an extraordinary number of hours but some instruments, the student has to age somewhat before they can even begin study and that means less total hours.

    Also I think some instruments require other ancillary studies so, for some, things like improvisation study, transcribing, etc also require a lot of time but are sometimes calculated in the total hours.



  • It all boils down to the saying: You practice not until you get it right, but until you cannot get it wrong. That is what it takes to become an expert.



  • I hear in Joey Alexander's interview that he STARTED playing the piano at age 7. The he became a phenomenon at age 10! There is brain wiring in the equation as well and Joey has wiring that was created truly by God's perfection:



  • @Dr-GO said in WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME AN EXPERT?:

    . . Joey has wiring that was created truly by God's perfection.

    Or Nature's. 😄


  • Credentialed Professional

    10000 h is no equal 10000 h

    I recommend (as introduction) to get "The Talent Code" by Daniel Coyle (Tom Hooten recommended it).

    It happens my wive is a neurologist, and I am a martial artist and pedagogue. So I can confirm you, Coyle's book is 90% correct (there is some controversy points). He based part of it from Ericsson's work too.

    Mastery is about 10000 h (or 8000 or 20000, does it matters? there's is always room to improve) of concentrated DEEP LEARNING in the "sweet spot", that is where your brain changes/learn at best.

    And, you guess it... repeat, repeat and repeat (correctly that is)


  • Credentialed Professional

    @Dr-GO said in WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME AN EXPERT?:

    It all boils down to the saying: You practice not until you get it right, but until you cannot get it wrong. That is what it takes to become an expert.

    Yes, that is it.



  • Surely there is also a talent/aptitude element involved?

    No matter how much I trained/practiced could I ever beat Usain Bolt in a race? His natural ability would never be challenged by any training regime.

    I think it might be the case with instruments. I know young people that can play better than I can even dream of doing. Playing with ease, things I struggle with. And they can’t have practiced more hours than me because they haven’t been alive long enough.

    Another problem I see is that Teachers are generally people that are naturally good at their subject, and find it difficult to teach someone who doesn’t have their natural skill. Experience helps certainly, but it’s still tough. At school I was useless at Maths. Still am. No matter how my teachers used to try to explain things to me, using every method they knew, I could never grasp their meaning. The point of that example is that the good young trumpet players I know, tend to have ‘mathematical brains’. I wonder if that lends itself to natural talent/ability aspect of Trumpet playing?



  • @Rapier232 said in WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME AN EXPERT?:
    ...the good young trumpet players I know, tend to have ‘mathematical brains’. I wonder if that lends itself to natural talent/ability aspect of Trumpet playing?

    That would tend to blow apart the left brain/right brain theory.



  • I am more of an accomplished musician than I am a physician. I believe this is because I am more right brain dominate. I just could not relate to many of my physician colleagues that were VERY left brain, and I would acknowledge to them that as a physician, I found it challenging for a right brain person to function in a left brain world.



  • I fought like hell to work through my chemistry PhD these that applied quantum chemistry to electron transfer in biological systems. It wasn't until I began to apply my right brain strengths to actually visualize the p and d orbitals (rather than the equations describing them) to actually advance my research toward defending my thesis. It worked well as I was the first in my entering class to get the PhD.

    Moral of the story: I believe whatever function an individual's brain is wired to best accomplish, one can use that strength to compensate for the deficits on the other side.



  • @Dr-GO

    I’m sorry. I only speak English. 😂😂😂



  • The question: what does "it" take?

    The answer (notwithstanding the poor grammar of the question):
    Talent, application, and knowledge.

    I am of the belief application and knowledge can be acquired, and, after sufficient diligence, many people can become "proficient" on an instrument.

    True talent is God given.

    To practice until you cannot play something wrong gives you a base and makes you a technician; not a musician.

    fwiw.



  • @grune said in WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME AN EXPERT?:

    To practice until you cannot play something wrong gives you a base and makes you a technician; not a musician.

    The two are not mutually exclusive, because when you play something until you can't get wrong and you do it with feeling then you are an accomplished musician.

    However if you play with feeling but just can't get it right, you're a hack. fwiw



  • Finally if you can't play it right and can't play it with feeling, you should go into another field other than music and spare the torturing of music teachers...

    or play the viola for the CIA during their spy interrogations



  • @Rapier232 said in WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME AN EXPERT?:

    @Dr-GO

    I’m sorry. I only speak English. 😂😂😂

    The Queens English I do believe... Pip Pip Where Lorry ridding in Britain can be a bumpy unpleasant experience, but riding Lorry, my prom date here in the USA, was quit pleasurable.



  • I just think it's another example of looking at the arrow and not the target - another hypothetical meandering for those that want some diversion from practicing. I still say, "You can only do what you can do".

    10,000 hours? 100,000 hours? What difference does it make? If you strive for excellence, there are not enough hours in the day. If you don't, you do what you need in order to get by.

    There's another component, ability. There are some that are musically challenged. For them a million hours in the practice room matters little, when it comes to mastery. Others are mentally or physically challenged. Same story. Yet there are others who are musically and/or physically blessed and mastery comes easy and quick. Harry James is a good example.

    Too many variables to make a blanket statement. Set your goal and do what you can do.

    I



  • @Kehaulani said in WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME AN EXPERT?:

    Too many variables to make a blanket statement. Set your goal and do what you can do.

    ...AND then when you do achieve what you wanted to do... reset your goal



  • Yeah. It's like walking in the desert and stubbing your toe on a little pyramid shaped stone pile. You decide to dig it up and, to your amazement, it widens. You do this the rest of your life, discovering that you have been uncovering the Pyramid of Cheops. That's what mastery work looks like.



  • To become an expert, you need exceptional talent first - talent to keep your eye on the ball, talent to hear differences, talent to understand the differences and above all talent to know what we don't know.

    I know that 2000-10000 purposeful repetitions gives us a "professional" level of repeatability for a specific task. I am not sure that we can assign hours however.


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