In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell details the “ten thousand hour rule” for mastering a task. According to Gladwell, 10,000 hours of practice is “the magic number for true expertise”. And in order to hit that number early in their careers, most people need to start their practicing when they are young. He demonstrates this trend from Mozart to the Beatles to Bill Gates.
Well, if I had to qualify Sweetie’s current level of mastery of a stringed instrument, I would say this is the opening minutes of her first hour. She’s no Ani Difranco yet, but you’ve got to start somewhere. It has been awhile since I posted a video, but I caught Sweetie jammin’ on her guitalele (thanks Padrino). The song is primarily an homage to Wife, but I think I get an honorable mention in the liner notes. While it’s a bit rough, it could be the start of something great…
No doubt my car singing is boosting her musical talent (I do belt out a mean “Old McDonald”). But her development is probably due to the music classes that we have had her in since she was eight months old. I have written before about the Old Town School of Folk Music and the music classes that we have taken there. To date, they have been play and movement classes, not instrument lessons. But it obviously is having a positive effect on Sweetie. And besides her random rock out sessions, she has taken to singing about her daily life experiences. In the context of a two-and-a-half year old’s day, this is very cute. So thank you to our many wonderful Old Town teachers – in particular Maestro Yahvi and Maestra Maria. Add to this a Padrino who often serenades her with his guitar (even over something as trivial as an afternoon snack) and we have the foundation for a budding musician.
Malcolm Gladwell points out an excellent aspect of the ten thousand hour rule: when one is practicing a craft and starting from an early age, one needs a strong support network. Gladwell writes, “It’s all but impossible to reach that number all by yourself by the time you’re a young adult. You have to have parents who encourage and support you.” So kudos to all of you out there supporting your little one’s development, whatever their interest.