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Published on 02/04/19

I was listening to my seven year old daughter playing the piano over the weekend. As a proud father, I am excited that she is ready for her Grade 1 examination after a year of lessons and practice. Should her interest ever develop in to a passion, what might she need to do to truly excel in the future, to make a very good living through music? The Ten Thousand Hours Rule states that one may master any field if one commits to deliberate practice for this much time. Studies have found this to be evident across a range of disciplines including professional sports, IT, music and the like. There is of course the caveat that one must also possess a sprinkling of natural ability and just the right amount of luck.  Lionel Messi, Bill Gates and Mozart are among many of the enormously successful individuals often mentioned as examples of this rule at work. 

Although this sounds simple and straightforward enough, when explored further, ten thousand hours of deliberate practice equates to just under 3 hours a day, every day, for ten years. My daughter is nowhere near this at present and possibly never will be: she has so many other things that also interest her, she cannot possibly commit to just one. But she will spend over fifteen thousand hours of her life here at Claremont, what will these hours give her, outside of GCSEs?

The short answers is: lots!

My daughter’s childhood, and her future successes, will in part be shaped by her commitment to the things that make her happy: to her studies, her hobbies, her friendships. But she is not alone in this journey and it is not all down to her.  There is – as there must be – a commitment from her parents and her school too.  Those fifteen thousand hours will be a collection of subjects and disciplines, playtimes and clubs; too disparate and varied for her to excel at any one in particular. But the holistic structure within which they are presented truly is fifteen thousand hours of deliberate practice. I am confident for my daughter’s future because I see her commitment matched by the adults around her each and every day. For when we work together as a community of parents, pupils and teachers who all share the same aims, we are working in the tens of thousands of hours, and there really is no stopping us!

Mr Michael Williams
Head of Pre-Preparatory and Nursery School