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from Liverpool, who went to Hamburg and played for many, many hours and played as many hours, but never got good. But the quality and the nature of the practice. It was his research on something called deliberate practice that got the Danish psychologist Susanne Bargmann excited. Fisher is 58 years old, six feet tall. Thats only about six minutes slower than the winner of the marathon in the first modern Olympics, in 1896. So counting up the number of hours that they performed together wouldnt really enhance the ability here to write really innovative music. Bargmann: I should give it a go and see if it was actually possible to improve my singing, improve my voice. They were studying the most accomplished young musicians at a German academy. Bargmann: I started using this karaoke program, and I started singing. Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Alla Turca For more than 30 years, Ericsson and his colleagues around the world have studied people who stand out in their field.
How can this be? When you absorb on a deep level the lessons of your musical elders and betters, in many cases, thats what makes the next step, the next creative step, possible. Our latest, freakonomics Radio episode is called How to Become Great at Just About Anything. That sounds like a bit of an overreach, perhaps.
Susanne Bargmann, and I am a psychologist. Have we been selectively breeding for talent? So that idea that people actually think that theyre going to get better when theyre not that, I find, to be the most troubling. Bargmann: Its just called Sus B, which is my artist name.
When we encounter someone who does something extraordinarily well, is it because they are insanely talented, as Malcolm Gladwell puts it? In Peak, he writes about a fascinating study by Eleanor Maguire, a neuroscientist at University College London. Because it just seems to me that being able to demonstrate that certain things are possible seems to be the first step that might actually encourage other individuals to want to do something similar with respect to some performance that they are passionate or interested. For his time, he was excellent. Wed like to think that Wayne Gretzky or Michael Jordan or Taylor Swift just emerge as savants, but they dont. Thats nearly 56 minutes faster than the Olympic gold medalist in 1896. If youre just doing the same thing over and over, youre not going to prepare yourself for dealing with a complicated situation. * * Freakonomics Radio is produced by wnyc Studios and Dubner Productions. As evidence, Ericsson points to research showing that perfect pitch is much more common in countries like Japan and China. Out of years of doing that, emerges my own style. If you practice at a lower intensity, the body will actually not develop this difficult, challenging biochemical situation, which will elicit now genes to create physiological adaptations. Fisher: In high school, I started as a senior for a very small school and, no accolades, didnt make any area teams or all-star teams or anything like that, at all.
Ericsson: Exactly, and I think the same thing in sports, where new techniques will allow individuals to reach kind of a higher level and practice more effectively than previous generations. Because I think that is a fundamental, incorrect view that is so different from what were proposing namely, that you intentionally have to increase your performance, and you have to be guided, ideally by a teacher, that would allow you now to incrementally improve. And I work as a teacher and a supervisor here in Denmark. Dubner: Heres another component.