I am alway (of course) of a mixed mind about this kind of information.
It brings me to wondering why we choose to start playing, what are our goals and if we really have thought about it much.
The take home from the article for me is that, like any complex and open ended skill, the more you practice it, the better you get and the better you practice it, the more you get from each moment practicing.
But…this “how long to be come good” is a double edged sword. It can help to be aware that we aren’t becoming virtuosos in a span of a few years. We should have a concept of what we are getting ourselves into.
I am sure a large portion of those who give up early do so because of the sudden realization that it isn’t as easy as they expected. Even many of us who still push on went through a “come to Jeff Beck” stage of self examination.
On the other hand, having a goal such as “to be a master guitarist” may be unrealistic and also quite daunting. The idea that I may or should be at a certain level after a certain time is a pressure that may push away from the real main goals.
I feel that in any skill, guitar (instrument) but also art, sport, you name it, having a goal to “be great” or achieve mastery is short sighted and misses the point. It sets you up for failure and fails to carry the passion. What are you going to do when you get there? Mechanically continue your greatness? That isn’t living. That is a job.
These activities are life, they are growing, being. They are processes and the learning is loving the process. Eventually, if we apply ourselves and keep at it, we become better. Some will be professional, some even masters. Most will not, but we will learn and grow and enjoy this part of living and if we don’t, we will probably let it go and move on.
To me, the goal is to grow, to continue to learn and improve and to enjoy music and my personal interaction with it as I do.
Anyway, morning philosophy from Jamolay…
FWIW, I disagree with “professional” and “master” in the progression of learning. Professional is a playing for money. People can do that at almost any skill level. Some professionals are not good at guitar, others amazing. What they are good at is finding ways to make a living at what they are able to do. Masters, in my mind, are pretty special. They have whatever it takes to go beyond simply learning and time to become something more. Maybe it is their drive, talent, unique approach, but it is beyond the norm and rare. I hope nobody is practicing with the expressed motivation to someday be a master. They likely will be disappointed.