On Why the Best Violinists were the Best – Part II

This week’s book learning is from ‘Talent is Overrated’ by Geoff Colvin.

Last week, we looked at the study in Berlin that examined 3 groups of students in their mid 20s – the ‘good’ group who practiced 9 hours solo every week and the ‘better’ and ‘best’ groups that practiced 24 hours solo every week at school.

So, what separated the two top groups? Was it raw talent?

For this, we would have to examine the average ‘lifetime’ practice time of the students in this group. The researchers dug into the number of hours each of these groups had spent with their violins before age 18.

Group 1 – Good: 3420 hours
Group 2 – Better: 5301 hours
Group 3 – Best: 7410 hours

The date, of course, says it all..

Excellence, essentially, is cumulative! It’s achieved one day at a time over a very long period. This story seems to take away all the mystery around the concept of ‘Talent’. But, I was left with more questions than answers and I assume you are too.

Specifically, maybe this is the case in case of violinists – does it then apply to fields like sports where raw talent seems everything? Stay tuned for the answer to that question. Coming up next week.. :-)

Here’s to putting in the hours of practice in our chosen fields every day this week!