In the early 1990s a team of psychologists in Berlin, Germany studied violin students. Specifically, they studied their practice habits in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. All of the subjects were asked this question: “Over the course of your entire career, ever since you first picked up the violin, how many hours have you practiced?”
All of the violinists had begun playing at roughly five years of age with similar practice times. However, at age eight, practice times began to diverge. By age twenty, the elite performers averaged more than 10,000 hours of practice each, while the less able performers had only 4,000 hours of practice.
The elite had more than double the practice hours of the less capable performers.
Natural Talent: Not Important
One fascinating point of the study: No “naturally gifted” performers emerged. If natural talent had played a role, we would expect some of the “naturals” to float to the top of the elite level with fewer practice hours than everyone else. But the data showed otherwise. The psychologists found a direct statistical relationship between hours of practice and achievement. No shortcuts. No naturals. Roger T. Wisdom, The Wisdom Group
This long quote pretty well sums up the premise of Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. To be really good at something, practice is what really counts. As I’ve said before, “talent” is, in my opinion, a false concept. The concept of “talent” presupposes that you cannot be really good at something unless you are born with an innate ability to do that action. The reality is just the opposite.
As I’ve written, “talent” would be better defined as “loving some activity so much you are willing to practice.” If you don’t really love something, you will find any excuse possible to avoid the practice. If you really love something, then you will let nothing stop you from practicing.
So to all the people who love art but think they don’t have “talent:” get over that idea. Get to class. Learn some techniques and skills, and practice. Oh, and practice. Did I mention you should practice?
At John Cannon Fine Art, you will learn techniques in oil and acrylic paints that allow you to express your artistic vision. The classes are relaxed and fun while teaching you both basic and advanced art skills. Class sizes are kept small to allow individual instruction and attention. Enjoy a no pressure experience where you can say, with pride, “I painted that!”
Classes are $30 each for group classes (limit 5 students per class) and will be filled on a first come, first served basis.
The studio provides easels, work tables, brush cleaner and/or water, and paper towels. The student is responsible for paints, brushes, palettes and canvas. Supply list available upon request. Send request to firstname.lastname@example.org