Practice makes perfect

It is commonly held that Malcolm Gladwell wrote, in his book, “Outliers, the story of success” that it takes 10,000 hours of practise in a field to become an expert. This is one of the misinterpretations I most enjoy - it just isn’t his case, and is only half the story. Gladwell was writing about what it takes to become a phenom; someone who is so good that they are identified by only one name. Sports fans think of Gretzky, Tiger, Peyton, or Kobe; musicians can think of Heifetz, Menuhin, Ashkenazy, or Pavarotti. So, the good news for the rest of us is that we don’t’ need to work quite that hard to be experts!

As children we start sports early, and often are introduced to music early as well. The High School football team practises regularly, learns the plays, and works through fitness training; while the musician also practises regularly, rehearses with the band, choir, or orchestra, and works through quantities of technical exercises. In this sense participating in sport and music are identical. Each demands discipline, training, practise and of course time, to become expert – time that most of us don’t have. Both help develop teamwork, leadership, resilience, and a willingness to work hard to get things right. All these are skills that will help later in life even if you are not a phenom who makes it as a professional sportsman or musician.

Anyway, who needs to be an expert? Being competent, in a group of other performers can bring huge satisfaction to the individual and the group.

So when you attend one of the many musical events available at this time of year in the area, remember the work that the performers put in, look at their satisfaction at a job well done, and remember that you can easily be part of making it happen. If you are interested in making music in the foothills, email us at, or check out our website