Every so often, a young person asks me, what is the key to success, or what is the secret to success?
Recently, I wrote an article, How To Achieve Musical Greatness in which I made reference to some interesting research done at the Berlin Academy of Music. Researchers concluded that the number one factor in determining whether a violin student would become a star performer was not talent but rather the number of hours of practice.
The future teachers had practiced 4,000 hours in their lifetime. The good performers, 8,000 hours. And those who were categorized as stars? Every single one of them had practiced at least 10,000 hours.
The interesting thing is that there wasn’t a single violinist who had practiced 10,000 hours who wasn’t a star. In other words, ten thousand hours of practice guaranteed you’d be a star violinist. According to author Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Outliers”, 10,000 hours of practice is the magic number to become the best at anything.
It’s an interesting observation: Hours of practice is the number one path to greatness.
I honestly couldn’t tell you how many hours of piano/keyboard practice I have done in my lifetime, but what occurs to me is that I have personally spent around 14,000 hours over a four year period working solely on creating the first version of Musiah (which was originally just for PC). In case you haven't hear of Musiah, it's basically the world’s first virtual piano teacher. Learn more
It was one of the most focused periods in my life. But in that time, did I achieve anything that amounts to greatness, or at least a highly specialized set of skills or expertise? In some ways, perhaps, but probably not in the way(s) you might expect.
I am after all just one man. I’m not a $2 billion dollar gaming company like Ubisoft. I don’t have limitless resources or a big budget. In the course of creating Musiah, I faced setbacks, adversity, criticism, incorrect advice, and most heart-wrenching of all — incompetence of “professionals” in various fields requiring work to be re-done again and again (often by me). But despite all this, because I have stuck to my dream and persisted, I have succeeded in creating something that was previously thought impossible.
Perhaps, most of all, through those 14,000 hours, one could say I earned have a degree in persistence.
But, looking back on those four years, there is an eye-opening lesson that stands out. For the first time in my life I can see clearly that if you or I put in the required amount of hours, we can and will achieve any goal we set for ourselves.
For example, in that 4 years, if I hadn’t been working on Musiah, let’s say instead I invested 14,000 hours with the same absolute dedication in another area, what could I have achieved? I have no doubt I could have become a world class pianist, violinist, singer, painter, architect, doctor, or any other worthwhile goal I had chosen.
If I could go back in time and pick another area of endeavor to throw myself into, would I still choose Musiah?
Absolutely. At the end of the day, I wanted to create the world's first virtual piano teacher because it hadn’t been done before and because of the positive difference it is now making in the lives of adults and kids all around the world who are now able to learn piano with Musiah in the comfort of their own home, achieving their own goals and successes.
As one adult student was kind enough to say in a recent email:
The real genius is the man who dreamt of Musiah and then had the courage and determination to make it happen. Its an incredibly difficult thing to come up with something new and original but you have achieved it.
I imagine it was as hard to produce, as maybe writing a good book coupled with a computer program coupled with a film. It is a wonderful piece of work.
Any way thanks for it, and may it bring you every possible reward.
Chris A, Bridgeman Downs QLD
With such gracious support, how could I choose anything else but Musiah?
So there you have it folks. It might be simple, but I didn't say it was going to be easy. Whether you seek musical mastery, or success in some other worthwhile endeavor, picking something and sticking at it is the one sure-fire way to succeed.
And of course, if learning to play piano is one of your goals, Musiah is a great place to start. As research shows, you can learn piano 16 times faster with Musiah than with a traditional teacher, and Musiah is far more afforadable, convenient and fun.
To start your piano lessons with Musiah, why not take our 14 Day Free Trial.
Thanks for reading, and please feel free to comment.
Til next time,
Brendan Hogan L.Mus.A, A.Mus.A.
Piano Teacher & Musiah Inventor