Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

Musical Theory Abound!!!
 #80340  by javalina
 Fri May 21, 2010 12:16 am
My wife was telling me about a study somebody did and found that across a wide variety of disciplines, 10,000 hrs is about what it takes to achieve mastery. Seemed reasonable to me. What do you think, especially those of you with a lot of experience teaching guitar and other instruments? What are some of the milestones on the road to mastering an instrument, and what are some of the factors that weigh in the balance? If I could practice 27 hrs a day, I could do it in a year; at an hour a day it should take 27 years (if I live that long). Also, I wonder if hours on other instruments count?
 #80345  by Rusty the Scoob
 Fri May 21, 2010 4:05 am
I don't know how they arrived at that number. I was a pretty good bass player the minute I picked one up, from having trombone and guitar experience and a natural sense of groove. 15 years and probably around 10,000 playing hours later I'd like to think that I'm still improving.
 #80358  by ugly rumor
 Fri May 21, 2010 6:22 am
Studies look at averages. Individual results, of course, are what counts for you. Some people (my brother) have a natural aptitude and ability, plus a love for the instrument and a dedication. Others, like me, have to work at it, and have had to live life in the outside world, at least superficially. So 10,000 hours may not be enough. My brother, Jerry, many others, were lucky enough to live the life they love, and only later in life did I find out that this is it, you only live once, and what matters is love, treating others as you would wish to be treated, in fact, not just in theory, and making of your life what you are, not what someone else wants you to be. Until we as humans realize this, and stop mistreating others, stop trying to believe the myths, stop trying to believe dogmas, catmas, micemas, gerbilmas (anything that requires a suspension of reason to believe), then we cannot progress. We have accomplished all that we can, and it is downhill from here. This is your one chance to get it right...your life. Live it with love; genuine love, not superficial hidden-agenda love, be an example, but most importantly, be true to yourself. Never forget the pure joy you experienced the first time you mastered riding a bicycle away from home, or the excitement when you got your first kiss. And listen to 4/23/69. It's cooking!

Sorry about the stream-of-consciousness. I really believe these things, and wish everyone the happiness that comes from living a life with love. Schmaltzy, but truly necessary, I think. Ststistically, I'm in the minority (put in to keep from hijacking the thread! Ceesy!!).

Peace to you all, and love from the heart!
 #80361  by jdsmodulus
 Fri May 21, 2010 6:23 am
In my personal opinion you cannot "master" a guitar, sure there are great players even virtuoso. Master is a bad word for art. It constantly changes. It is good to set goals for yourself, but dont limit it to how many hours or any other measurment. 2 cents.
 #80363  by strumminsix
 Fri May 21, 2010 6:29 am
I think it's about right for an average. But there are many components that are needed to master:
- practicing
- teaching
- playing with others
- multiple genres
- cross instrumental studies
- cross instrumental replications on guitar
- effect usage
- listening, listening, listening
- etc

I'd say after 10,000 of actively doing those things (and the ones I don't recall) most would be a master.
 #80386  by jackr
 Fri May 21, 2010 7:53 am
I've heard this before. It seems to me that if you look at anyone who is really at the top of his game they have at least 10,000 hours invested. It applies to not just musicians, but also artists, athletes, inventors, carpenters, businessmen, etc.
 #80389  by dleonard
 Fri May 21, 2010 8:12 am
I've heard this before too. It also makes me think, and JDarks has said this as well. (BTW what ever happened with his vids?), but Jerry did seem to get alot better in that like 69-70 period. It was more than just the switch to the Strat.
 #80393  by tcsned
 Fri May 21, 2010 8:38 am
That was something that several of my professors talked about while I was working on my PhD. There seems to be some validity to it. It takes a lot of time to master anything - that's why back in the day craftsmen when from apprentice to journeyman before being considered a master craftsman. Even a very talented and intelligent person without the time on task doesn't have the wisdom of someone who has. You make better decisions and have a level of wisdom at your task that even a smarter, more talented person won't have until they put in the time. Ability and intelligence are important and will certainly make the ceiling a lot higher once mastery is achieved but it is not the end all and be all.

Example, two guitarists going for the same gig. One is younger and more talented. The other is older and more experienced. At the audition the younger player shows off a gymnastic routine of a guitar solo - very impressive. The older player looks into what kind of music the group plays and prepares something in that style that shows off his strengths while masking his weaknesses. Older guy gets the gig. This is over simplified, I know.
 #80395  by Pete B.
 Fri May 21, 2010 9:18 am
I know I have practiced certain new learnings on Guitar and Pedal Steel over and over 2000+ times within a few days time...
I do well with repetition based proficiency training.
Just basically tying to make it impossible to fuck up.

Nowadys a fast easy way to come up to speed quickly on alot of Jerry/GD guitar playing is to play along with the available GD vids, jams, and YouTube instructional materials for whatever song(s) you are interested in. Learn the CAGED Method for Guitar... Bobby and Jerry basically invented it. I have my Strat around my neck right now, with Archive playing in the background. I'm playing along with a freakin' HellIAB rehearsals of all thngs.

I'm onto the '83 HelpOTW rehearsals now... tracks 4-7 so far... Jerr-aayyyy!!!
But seriously, on the 10000 hours thing...
That's is pretty much how the Dead did it.
 #80410  by javalina
 Fri May 21, 2010 12:17 pm
You guys make some really good points. Very encouraging and positive; that "love" post really got me, though. I wouldn't characterize it so much as a highjacking, more of a reality check about why I am doing this in the first place. And it put me in mind of another kind of question: what would you play if you only had one hour left?
 #80417  by jackr
 Fri May 21, 2010 1:13 pm
javalina wrote: what would you play if you only had one hour left?
I would play with myself! (oops did I just say that out loud?)

Seriously, What popped in my head first would probably be Wharf Rat and Comes a Time. After thinking about it more many tunes came to mind like Brokedown Palace but I'll stick with my first reaction.
 #80419  by javalina
 Fri May 21, 2010 2:02 pm
I'd be trying to figure out Peggy O.
 #80420  by tcsned
 Fri May 21, 2010 2:11 pm
I would play "Grumpy" by David Winestone or "Ladybug Picnic" from Sesame St - my kids loves those songs and they would pay attention :)
 #80442  by javalina
 Sat May 22, 2010 1:19 am
My six year old son really digs "Like a Hurricane" off Rust Never Sleeps; I guess if we're playing requests I would have to play that.