Last night I watched Vanessa-Mae explore whether nature or nurture made her the top violinist she is. Among various exciting and glamourous scientific experiments repeated for TV, one nurturist asked Vanessa how many hours of practice she put in between the ages of 4 and 16 (reaching the ‘top of her game’). She calculated it at 7107.5. Apart from the remarkable degree of accuracy here, I was also astonished to learn that this is in the normal range for peak performance for top musicians, athletes, etc. Anywhere between 5000 and 10,000 hours, that is.
So I stayed awake in bed at night trying to work out what I had spent my time doing between the ages of 4 and 16, at roughly 1.5 hours a day or more. I am pleased to be able to report that I must be a prodigy at:
2. Eating and all the things that go along with it.
3. Going to school.
4. Watching TV.
5. Spending time with my family.
Probably in that order. So what about you? Are we all prodigies in disguise? If we all trained for hours on the violin and many people got extremely good, would that mean there was no such thing as a prodigy? Or a pushy parent?
I believe in life some of us have to not learn the violin. It is in society’s best interests. Also, no one has convinced me either way yet in the nature/nurture debate.