K Anders Ericsson examines 'The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance'. 10,000 hours of practice leads to extremely high levels of performance.
Conclusions from this study:
  • practice is neither play nor work
  • "during practice you are actively & with attention seeking ways to improve your performance of the task"
  • "work does not allow exploration of unknown, possibly unreliable methods & so those who only work (try for optimal & reliable performance) do not improve in the way those who practice do
  • Ericsson defines practice as "...repeated experiments in which the individual can attend to the critical aspects of the situation & incrementally improve her or his performance in response to knowledge of results, feedback, or both, [usually] from a teacher"
  • burnout seems to be a real threat - sleeping and napping are correlated with better performance
  • probably it is best to build up endurance for practice slowly - from a base of 1 hour per day to a likely maximum of 4 hours per day
  • morning seems to be the best time to practice
  • competitions and public performance are important as goals for improvement
  • without some form of public display, a negative feedback loop may develop i.e. introverted artists neglected dealers and collectors so they didn't get publicity for their work, so demand dropped, so they couldn't afford to practice their art, so their performance level dropped. The artists could not accept their lower level of performance & so gave up...

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the link to this paper. Great observations. Not to mention I can now rationalize all those naps as necessary for my art...