This is an excerpt from Malcolm Gladwell's latest book, "The Outliers." This book will challenge your ideas of how someone becomes "successful." I highly recommend this!
You can purchase it by going to http://classicalmusiccity.com/classifieds/classified.php?n=1220
Also, try viewing a video of a Malcolm Gladwell lecture at http://www.classicalmusiccity.com/search/video.php?n=153
……”achievement is talent plus preparation. The problem with this view is that the closer psychologists look at the careers of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to plan and the bigger the role preparation seems to play.
Exhibit A in the talent argument is a study done in the early 1990’s by psychologist K. Anders Ericsson and two colleagues at Berlin’s elite Academy of Music. With the help of the Academy’s professors, they divided the school’s violinists into three groups. In the first group were the stars, the students with the potential to become world-class soloists. In the second were those judged to be merely “good.” In the third were students who were unlikely to every play professionally and who intended to be music teachers in the public school system. All of the violinists were then asked the same question: over the course of your entire career, ever since you first picked up the violin, how many hours have you practiced?
Everyone from all three groups started playing at roughly the same age, around five years old. In those first few years, everyone practiced roughly the same amount, about two or three hours a week. But when the students were around the age of eight, real differences started to emerge. The students who would end up the best in their class began to practice more than everyone else: six hours a week by age nine, eight hours a week by age twelve, sixteen hours a week by age fourteen, and up and up, until by the age of twenty they were practicing- that is purposefully and single-mindedly playing their instruments with the intent to get better- well over thirty hours a week. In fact, by age twenty, the elite performers had each totaled ten thousand hours of practice. By contrast, the merely good students had totaled eight thousand hours, and the future music teachers had totaled just over four thousand hours.
Ericsson and his colleagues then compared amateur pianists with professional pianists. The same pattern emerged. The amateurs never practiced more than about three hours a week over the course of their childhood, and by the age of twenty they had totaled two thousand hours of practice. The professionals, on the other hand, steadily.......