Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Malcolm Gladwell

Music History Monday: Rossini and the Soul of Wit

149 years ago today, the opera composer Gioachino Antonio Rossini died in Paris at the age of 76. One of the most famous and respected artists of his time, he remains no less so today. It is my humble opinion that anyone who does not like Rossini’s music is a crank and a humbug, someone averse to melodic brilliance, sparkle, and wit. A momentary divergence. In his book Outliers (Little, Brown and Company, 2008), the English-born journalist Malcolm Gladwell formulated his “10,000 hour rule”, which claims that all that’s required to become a world-class practitioner in any field is 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice”. With all due respect, we can only conclude that Mr. Gladwell has deliberately practiced making absurd statements for well over 10,000 hours, so utterly daft is his “rule.” Listen: when I was twenty, I was (as I remain) 5’7” in height and weighed 165 pounds (I can only wish that that were still the case!). I was strong, fast, and had good hand-eye coordination. I also had a vertical jump of about six inches, so no amount of time and practice was going to make me a high-jump champion or a ballet dancer; no how, no […]

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