Thursday, July 24, 2014

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

The standard answer, which I've used to end several of my lectures, is "practice, practice, practice." Macnamara et al. suggest there is a bit more to it than that (like genetics....there's no way my piano sight reading ability, obvious at age 6, was due to practice.):
More than 20 years ago, researchers proposed that individual differences in performance in such domains as music, sports, and games largely reflect individual differences in amount of deliberate practice, which was defined as engagement in structured activities created specifically to improve performance in a domain. This view is a frequent topic of popular-science writing—but is it supported by empirical evidence? To answer this question, we conducted a meta-analysis covering all major domains in which deliberate practice has been investigated. We found that deliberate practice explained 26% of the variance in performance for games, 21% for music, 18% for sports, 4% for education, and less than 1% for professions. We conclude that deliberate practice is important, but not as important as has been argued.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:54 AM

    So many studies to say what we all already knew. People practice what they are naturally skilled to do well, improving themselves in doing so, and closing the feedback loop.

    It is true that sometimes actitudes spoil aptitudes, but is not the general case.

    Genes, genes.... what a lottery.