I had my first banjo lesson of 2014 yesterday. I was thinking about how long I have been taking lessons, which is just over a year now, and just how far I have come. I can actually play a couple old time songs now – or should I say I can massacre a couple old time songs. I am always amazed at those people who an play so well and make it look so easy. Bastards! How do they do it?

As with everything in life, to get good at something you have to practice……a lot! To get really good, to the point of being an expert, you have to be completely obsessive and pretty much practice all the time. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers”, a terrific read by the way, he boils it down to ten thousand hours of solid practice to master any skill. Gladwell backs up his hypothesis with some very compelling evidence. Obviously some people certainly have some natural aptitude, or what we call talent, for some things, but I think this only avails that person with a small advantage – the rest is simply hard work.

To put this into perspective, lets use banjo as an example. Based on the ten thousand hour rule, if I was to practice 15 minutes a day, 7 days a week, it would take me 109 years to master the banjo.
A half our a day would reduce this to 55 years. One hour a day, or seven hours a week would take 27.5 years. Ten hours per week, 19 years. 20 hours a week, 9.6 years and 40 hours per week,4.8 years.

Holy Crap! Based on these stats, I should be really good by the time I am 90 years old – 38 years from now! Haha!It’s gonna be a riot in the home!!

It is a really good thing I love my banjo, but maybe I better ramp up the hours!

I wonder if Janice would mind me taking up the bagpipes…………..

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