The ‘10,000 hour rule’ now dictates the way many athletes are trained. But practice makes little difference, says David Epstein in an extract from his new book, without the ‘trainability’ geneIt started with musicians. In 1993, three psychologists turned to the Music Academy of West Berlin, which had a global reputation for producing world-class violinists. The academy helped the psychologists identify 10 of the “best” violin students, those who could become international soloists; 10 students who were “good” and could make a living in a symphony orchestra; and 10 lesser students they categorised as “music teachers”, as that would be their likely career path.The psychologists conducted detailed interviews with all 30 students, and certain similarities emerged. All of the musicians had started lessons at around eight years old, and all had decided to become musicians around 15. And, despite their skill differences, all dedicated a whopping 50.6 hours per week to their music skills, whether taking music theory classes, listening to music, or practising and performing.Then a major difference surfaced. The amount of time that the violinists in the top two groups spent practising on their own: 24.3 hours each week, compared with 9.3 for the bottom group. So the …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books