How high are your expectations?

or…. with the knowledge of today….

Jan Deutekom / Ineke van de Craats

”When Tchaikovsky asked two of the greatest violinists of his day to play his violin concerto, they refused, deeming the score unplayable (Platt, 1966). Today, elite violinists consider this concerto part of the standard repertory. The improvement in music training is so great that according to Roth (1982) the violin virtuoso Paganini “would indeed cut a sorry figure if placed upon the modern concert stage” (p. 23).

The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance

Ericsson, Krampe, Tesch-Romer 1993

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Massive Exposure and DigLin+

“Most, perhaps as much as 95 percent, of the learning that takes place in our day-to-day lives operates implicitly – no explicit instruction was available or necessary.”

(“Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined” – Scott  Barry Kaufman)

In Dutch we have to say “dit huis” (this house) and “dat huis” (that house). But it is “deze man” (this man) and “die man” (that man). Why do we know this? We have learned this implicitly because Dutch is our mother tongue. We have heard that so often that we ‘feel’ what is right or not. These combinations are stored as a whole in our long-term memory. There is an explicit rule, but most Dutch people will not know it.

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Routine and learning

 If I do not practice for one day, I know it. If I miss two days, my wife knows it. If I miss three days, my audience knows it.

This quotation is attributed to several musicians. The composer and pianist Franz Liszt, the pianist Vladimir Horowitz, the cellist Pablo Casals and the violinist Jascha Heifetz. Whoever it was, it reminds us of the great importance of practicing.

I do have my doubts as to whether we would hear it after three days. But not many people will deny the importance of training to perform at such a high level.

Anders Ericsson and his colleagues point out to us the shocking amount of hours that are required to reach this high level. It depends on the discipline and whether a tradition of professional training has developed, but roughly speaking research indicates about 10,000 hours of training in ten years are needed. That is 20 hours a week. That is 3 hours a day!

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Immediate feedback and repetition in learning

DigLin Backgrounds

One of our favorite quotes is from Anders Ericsson. He does research into the development of expertise or (as we often translate it) the research into excellent learning.

He claims that learners “… should receive immediate information feedback and knowledge of results of their performance.”*

But his next sentence is at least as important.

“The subjects should repeatedly perform the same or similar tasks.”

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