Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The 10,000 hour rule

I (Don) mentioned to my class on Monday that it takes 2,000 hours to become an expert at anything. I erred on the number, and an Internet search turns up the fact that it is 10,000 hours.
A couple examples are given: one is the Beatles, who became a great band after their sessions in Germany in their early years. They performed as many as nine hours a day and Lennon and McCarthy both have been recorded as saying that all the performance time resulted in a massive increase in skill levels.

The other example commonly mentioned is Bill Gates, who was a high school student who was allowed access to a computer (rare in the time when personal computers did not exist). He spent hours each night programming and developing his skills, so that when the personal computer revolution happened, he was ready to form a little company he called Micro-soft.
I mention this because sometimes as students you will complain about your work load. We are pushing you for a reason … we all know that experience is the best teacher, and the more time you spend taking photos, the more of the 10,000 hours you are filling in. That is why in an Art History course, 70% of your marks will come from photos  -- more often in that field you are assessed by writing essays and research papers.

I remember when I graduated from College (as a journalist) I was amazed that I learned more in the first three months on the newspaper than I did in two years at college. It was because I was now spending 40 hours a week as a reporter, and not the 5-10 I spent reporting while at college. For a short time I wondered if the time at college was a waste … then I realized that without what I learned in college, I would not have been able to do the job in those first three months. I suspect the same will happen for you when you graduate. You will learn much more in whatever you specialize in, but it will all be possible due to the background you are learning here in the program.

So, in short, you will not leave the program as an ace photographer. You need to get your 10,000 hours in first. We just hope that we have given you a head start on that goal by all the work you have done here at the college.

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