200 Hours of Deliberate Practice on Guitar

Posted on October 22, 2012 by


Some time last week I quietly crossed over the 200 hour milestone.  I suppose some people might celebrate or make a  big deal out of it but it didn’t feel like a special day.  I sat down and practiced my 35 minutes like I do most nights.  I logged my time in Beeminder and I made some notes about the practice session.

I just got around to filming and editing my 200 hour video this weekend. It takes 3-4 hours to record and edit each video and I usually struggle to motivate myself to do it.  I always have doubts before each video. 

What if I don’t see any improvement?  Have I been practicing hard enough?  Should I be progressing more quickly?

After having edited and viewed the video I can definitely see the progress I have made.  I know that I could have practiced harder and with more focus over the last 50 hours.  As for the last question, I have no idea because I have yet to find someone else doing what I am doing.

I follow Benny’s blog Fluent in 3 Months about learning languages quickly and he is being honest about the time and effort he is investing in his projects.  Scott Young just wrapped up his project of completing an MIT computer science degree in one year and he documented it well on his blog.  I also periodically check in on The Dan Plan about a golfer who is actually trying to practice 10,000 hours to prove that with the proper amount of practice he can turn pro.

I have yet to find a guitarist or musician who started at the beginning and tracked their progress over time.  I suppose that is one of the factors motivating me to continue this project and especially to document it with these videos.  Sure they aren’t that interesting right now.  I am only 200 hours in and they reflect the skills of an extremely amateur musician.  But think about the archive I will have after a couple more years of practice.

When you watch a professional musician it is easy to forget that they were all beginners at some point in their life. If you could go back in time and see them when they first picked up their instrument you might be surprised to hear how bad they sound.  While I don’t have my sights on being a professional musician I do believe that I will continue to learn and grow with the guitar throughout my life and I am excited that I am building an archive of the learning process.

If these videos motivate even one person to pick up a guitar and start learning then it is worth the effort to me.  To tell you the truth, every time I finish one of these videos I get a surge of motivation to refocus my efforts and push myself to the next level.  I guess I have already reached that one person then… Anyone else is just gravy.

If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy:
300 Hours of Deliberate Practice on Guitar
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Who Wants to be a Master? I Want to be Good Enough!