10,000 Hours

By Barbara Hamilton, a perspective poem after completing Think 360 Arts for Learning’s Institute for Creative Teaching


10,000 hours of practice is what a famous man says will make ME an expert

At playing the viola, or at playing golf, or sculpting.

He says, razor sharp focus and meticulous planning will achieve my goals.
Now that would be 41.6 days if I never slept, ate, or saw my children or husband

If I worked at being an expert for just 5 hours a day, every day, that would be 2,000 days.

It’s also 285.7 weeks of practicing the viola or 5.5 years,



Hmmm, I’ve already DONE THAT.


So for all those 10,000 hours of becoming an expert,

I’m going to try something new.

I’m going to borrow an hour or two-

No one will even notice that they are missing!


Thanks to Rosemerry, a new superhero alter ego, ElastiGirl, is

Going to come visit my students who are scared to stretch their fingers

And their bodies and their minds.
Thanks to Jennifer, my students are going to dance their Bach Minuets, NOT JUST BOW THEM.


Thanks to Marie, I can Sculpt out a musical phrase and add an interesting hue.


Thanks to Katherine, my string quartet kids are going to write a few lines of music together

And learn what it’s like to trust each other, even though they are only 14.


Because you see, I’m tired of perfection.

I’m ready to take on a few risks.

I’m borrowing an hour or two to find a different spark.

Actually, I’m ready to have a totally different kind of clock.

A clock where the hands fall off.