It takes just 20 hours to learn a new skill

‘The major barrier to learning a new skill is not intellectual, it’s emotional’, this is what Josh Kaufman explains he has found in his research has. You can learn any new skill in just 20 hours – that’s the equivalent of just 45 minutes a day for a month, even with missing a few days. 

We all know that learning a new skill has a steep learning curve to begin with and can be challenging, but if you practice regularly and efficiently you can overcome that steep start and things will get easier. Eventually this levels off and plateaus where moving on can be a bit harder, getting to this point takes about 20 hours says Kaufman.  

You’ve got to make the most of those 20 hours though and use the time wisely. Kaufman breaks these down into four neat steps which resonate with me as a teacher.  

1. Deconstruct the skill: what may appear to us as being one skill is often made up of several smaller skills bundled together. So to make headway you need to break down the larger skill into smaller ones and complete them step by step. This is exactly what I do when I teach my students, whether it be at school or privately on the ukulele. I break down the skill into smaller tasks like tuning, strumming and simple chords which makes starting much more accessible. 

2. Learn enough to self-correct: learning properly and being aware of the pitfalls and common mistakes means that you know when you’re making a mistake and can act upon it, thus making your practice time much mor efficient. In my lessons I’ll make sure you’re aware of these, for example my student know why they might not be getting the sound they want and know how to correct it. 

3. Remove barriers to practice: find somewhere quiet and free of distractions like the TV and Internet so that you can concentrate and use your time efficiently. You need to spend all your allotted time practicing. 

4. Practice for at least 20 hours: like I said above, this is only about 45 minutes a day for a month. This allows you to over come those barriers and will ensure that steep learning curve is less steep quickly. 

So efficient and regular practice is the key, as well as the right emotional attitude to it; anyone can learn anything. This is something I’ve seen time and time again with my students and love to celebrate their success with them as they move on their journey. 

So when do you want to start your journey with the ukulele?

To start learning, drop me a line

See Josh Kaufman’s talk here:

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