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10,000 Hours to Music Success??

January 2, 2009

So you may have heard of Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, Outliers. In the book he talks about success commonalities. One of the cornerstone ideas is that it takes 10,000 hours of work/practice to be successful.

The Beatles got tight playing 6 hours a night/6 days a week, Beethoven practiced all the time, and Tiger Woods is all about working on his game.

The one thing I don’t get is the idea of timing and scarcity. Seth Godin pointed it out on his blog, when he talked about the Doors and Miley Cyrus. The Doors didn’t play for 10, 000 hours before they came out with their sound, yet they’ve made quite a lasting impact on music. They came out at a time which was perfect for them.

He goes on about how Miley Cyrus hasn’t been alive 10, 000 hours, yet she’s a huge success. There wasn’t anyone catering to the tweens anymore since Hilary Duff actually grew up.

The takeaway as an artist: Constant practice is a no brainer, but are you bringing something fresh, unique, and exciting to the table?

Take Control of Your Music,


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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 2, 2009 6:14 pm

    I believe what Gladwell actually says is that 10,000 hours are required for expertise/mastering a craft, which is different than “being successful”. Miley Cyrus is successful, but by no means a master of her craft.

  2. January 8, 2009 2:34 am

    Yeah, fair enough.

    I guess it depends how you look at the 10,000 hours. You could spend 10, 000 hours learning and imitating all the guitar greats, but never breaking new ground on your own. Someone else could be a worse guitar player, but spent most of her 10,000 hours looking at the guitar differently and creating her own unique style.

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