Wednesday, September 1, 2010


September, 1960

By now the Beatles must have fallen into a regular routine.  They've been playing six nights a week, although they can't have been happy with having to keep the volume down on their sound equipment, such as it was, to pacify the immediate residents of the area.

It's not difficult to imagine that these long hours spent in Hamburg (and later in Liverpool) were very seminal for them.  Malcolm Gladwell is a writer for The New Yorker magazine with a special interest in personal development.  In his book "Outliers", he proposes that the way to really master any pursuit is to "practice" it for 10,000 hours.  (That is about five years of a full time job - 8 hours a day, five days a week.)  Is it just a curious coincidence that that is about the number of  hours that the Beatles would have played music together as a group up to their first trip to America and their date with destiny?  When I listen to their effortless vocal harmonies and the way their playing styles seem to blend so naturally, I'm convinced that there is something to that theory.  Of course, only a fool would deny that for true greatness to develop, the raw material and the hot-house environment has to be there as well.

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