How much should you practice? In This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, Daniel Levitan writes about the ten-thousand-hours theory, which proposes that 10,000 hours of practice is required to become a world-class expert in any field: basketball, ice skating, chess, or the viola.
This idea was further popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his 2008 book Outliers: The Story of Success. Gladwell points to examples including Bill Joy, Bill Gates, and the Beatles, while Levitan counts up the hours to Mozart’s Symphony No. 1, which he composed at age 8.
Is there such a thing as “talent”?
In a study cited by Gladwell, violinists at Berlin’s Academy of Music were divided into three groups: the “stars”, who had the potential to become world-class soloists; the students who were merely “good”; and a third group who did not intend to ever play professionally, the “teachers.”