‘Practice makes perfect’.
Ericsson (1993) followed violinists in a study of practice time. Results showed that those individuals who practiced the most (10,000 hours) by the age of 21 were rated as excellent by their university professors. Those students with less accumulated practice time (5,000) were rated as average players.
Sosniak (1985) studied 24 top US pianists. None of the pianists in the study showed particular signs of exceptional musical ability at a young age. The crucial factor was the amount of practice they did from childhood into adulthood. The idea of the musically ‘talented’ child as the main factor leading to exceptional adult achievement is not supported by this study. The cumulative amount of practice was a significant factor.
Sloboda (1996) found that children who did well at music exams was related to the amount of practice. The most advanced students practice on average 120mins a day, where as the least successful students practiced only 15 mins per day. This is the 800% difference.