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#1271608 - 09/20/09 02:24 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: Wombat66]
Mary-Rose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/16/06
Posts: 1428
Loc: Essex, England
Originally Posted By: Wombat66
With over 170 posts spread over 18 pages everything that needs to be said has been said. But I might as well say it again (Sam).
Everyone seems to agree “that through hard practice and dedication most of the difficult literature out there is within reach for most people”,.. “most people can play practically anything or make a career out of it to one degree or another”, or ” learn and master respectable pieces or get to a level where they can play difficult music”… or ..”that most people with good teaching and appropriate hard work could be more than adequate cocktail pianists”.


I don't agree that through hard practice and dedication most of the 'difficult' repertoire is within reach of most people; and I doubt if I am the only one who thinks that way.

I do believe that hard work under a good teacher can make reasonable amateurs of most, after a number of years (that number being variable according to the person's abiliity).
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Best wishes from MR
http://www.extraloudpurrs.blogspot.com

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#1271614 - 09/20/09 02:42 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: Mary-Rose]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3441
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Mary-Rose
Originally Posted By: Wombat66
With over 170 posts spread over 18 pages everything that needs to be said has been said. But I might as well say it again (Sam).
Everyone seems to agree “that through hard practice and dedication most of the difficult literature out there is within reach for most people”,.. “most people can play practically anything or make a career out of it to one degree or another”, or ” learn and master respectable pieces or get to a level where they can play difficult music”… or ..”that most people with good teaching and appropriate hard work could be more than adequate cocktail pianists”.


I don't agree that through hard practice and dedication most of the 'difficult' repertoire is within reach of most people; and I doubt if I am the only one who thinks that way.

I do believe that hard work under a good teacher can make reasonable amateurs of most, after a number of years (that number being variable according to the person's abiliity).


yes, I agree. It of course depends on how one defines "difficult" and how one defines "play". I've had people tell me they can "play" the Waldstein sonata but in hearing it they are nowhere near the tempo it needs to be played nor are they pulling off the technical and musical demands of the piece. They might be hammering out the notes in some facsimile of the piece but are nowhere close to mastery. I am not at all sure that most people can reach professional level or that "most people can play practically anything" . I wish!

Sophia


Edited by sophial (09/20/09 02:43 PM)

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#1271626 - 09/20/09 03:13 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: Damon]
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
Originally Posted By: Damon

I live in the bible belt and don't know anyone who thinks the world is only 10,000 years old, or flat. Darwin is another matter.


I grew up in the Bible Belt and most of my relatives live there. I know people who are convinced the earth is 6,000 years old (not 10). My mother's take on global warming? "Well, the Bible says that in the last days the world will heat up." I don't *think* I know anyone who believes the earth is flat, but I'm not sure.

I grew up in small-town Kansas. Oddly, back 30-40 years ago, it didn't occur to our parents to try to prevent us being taught evolution (they might have said, "that's not what we believe" but you were expected to learn it for school). Apparently the separation of church and state worked better back then frown
_________________________
Adult Amateur Pianist

My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.

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#1271637 - 09/20/09 03:36 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: Mary-Rose]
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
Originally Posted By: Mary-Rose


On your point about virtually everyone being able to sing 'Happy Birthday': I understand what you mean - but surprisingly, a fair proportion of people actually can't sing Happy Birthday, even. I don't know how many of the general population are tone deaf but I have come across enough to realise it is a great many people. Presumably such people wouldn't really be able to hear what they were playing on the piano, either.


Except I believe VERY few people are tone deaf and really can't sing in tune. Most of them just BELIEVE they can't sing...or have been TOLD they can't sing well...which is a self-fullfilling prophecy.

I'm going to give an example which may well blow the thread up for good. Let me just say right here that the important factor in this example is NOT race or genetics...it's cultural belief and expectations.

Black church choirs. I grew up attending many religious functions, the more enjoyable of which were gatherings of choirs from many area denominations. These choirs were made up of the rankest amateurs...almost no one had any formal voice instruction. Some folks had sung in school music classes and that was about it.

There were certain choirs that everyone really looked forward to hearing...the ones from the few black churches in the area. After watching and participating with many groups, and hearing the members from both black and white choirs talk about their experiences and participation, I came to the conclusion that the reason music was so grand in black churches is that, rather than thinking "Oh, I can't sing"...folks in black churches just opened their mouths and SANG. They expected to be able to sing, and sound good...they weren't self conscious and worried and afraid to be heard...so they sounded fantastic.

I'm not saying talent doesn't exist...but believing you can - or can't - do something is a HUGE factor for participation in music for the general public. If you think you CAN do something, if you have some trouble with some aspect, you will work on it and straighten it out. If you think you CAN'T, at the first sign of trouble you will drop the activity completely (like with me and sports and math wink )

OK...flame away...
_________________________
Adult Amateur Pianist

My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.

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#1271647 - 09/20/09 03:57 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: ProdigalPianist]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19199
Loc: New York City
In terms of singing hymns or Happy Birthday, I think part of the equation is exposure and familiarity.

I've seen teenagers auditioning for musicals who couldn't sing a scale even when the piano played along with them. They weren't necessary unmusical or tone deaf...many of them had never heard a major scale before.


Edited by pianoloverus (09/20/09 04:28 PM)

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#1271653 - 09/20/09 04:07 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: pianoloverus]
gooddog Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4745
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Pianoloverus, that brings to mind a painful memory. During jr. high school I auditioned for a part in the school musical. Everyone but me knew the music and sang their best. I had a pretty decent soprano but didn't know the music at all and was sightreading the music and the words for the first time. Under those circumstances, I did fairly well. That fact was never acknowledged and I didn't get a part. It still steams me. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest! Isn't it funny how we hang on to old, unresolved resentments.
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Deborah

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#1271655 - 09/20/09 04:11 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: pianoloverus]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5893
Loc: Down Under
Tone deaf means the inability to discriminate between pitches - inability to tell that, for example, C and D are different. I accept that it exists, but I believe it's extremely rare. I have never met anyone who was tone deaf. On the other hand, I've met hundreds who can't sing in tune. It's as others have said, familiarity - and also knowing how to find and use your voice. That's what some people have never done. In my previous life as a classroom teacher I taught hundreds of little bullfrogs. Not one was truly tone deaf, and all improved in their ability to sing in tune with instruction and patience.
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Du holde Kunst...

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#1271663 - 09/20/09 04:24 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: currawong]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5893
Loc: Down Under
And P.S. - thanks Monica for addressing my questions. I guess I'd be surprised if that extra something could be measured anyway smile. But interesting to know that Seashore is still around! (well, his tests, anyway smile )
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Du holde Kunst...

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#1271674 - 09/20/09 04:45 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: ProdigalPianist]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17733
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Originally Posted By: ProdigalPianist
Except I believe VERY few people are tone deaf and really can't sing in tune. Most of them just BELIEVE they can't sing...or have been TOLD they can't sing well...which is a self-fullfilling prophecy...

I'm not saying talent doesn't exist...but believing you can - or can't - do something is a HUGE factor for participation in music for the general public. If you think you CAN do something, if you have some trouble with some aspect, you will work on it and straighten it out. If you think you CAN'T, at the first sign of trouble you will drop the activity completely (like with me and sports and math wink )



Excellent point, ProdigalPianist! You'll get no flaming from this quarter. I started my academic career many years ago working with Robert Rosenthal (he of the well-known "Pygmalion in the Classroom" experiment and my dissertation advisor) on the nonverbal mediation of self-fulfilling prophecies. I think everything you have said is right on target.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1271702 - 09/20/09 05:38 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: Monica K.]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3441
Loc: US
Nor from me either. Appreciating that we all have different sets of abilities, strengths and weaknesses (many of which are modifiable with training) does not in any way mean that we should not fully explore everything that we can do and achieve through passion, hard work and persistence.


Sophia


Edited by sophial (09/20/09 05:47 PM)

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#1271706 - 09/20/09 05:46 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: sophial]
Mary-Rose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/16/06
Posts: 1428
Loc: Essex, England
Originally Posted By: sophial
Nor from me either. Appreciating that we all have different sets of abilities, strengths and weaknesses, does not in any way mean that we should not fully explore everything that we can do and achieve through passion, hard work and persistence.


Sophia


Amen. smile
_________________________
Best wishes from MR
http://www.extraloudpurrs.blogspot.com

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#1271721 - 09/20/09 06:18 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: Wombat66]
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
Originally Posted By: Wombat66So
yes I do believe that…. "Innate talent" (if it even exists) plays only a negligible role (if it plays a role at all)….in achieving the goal stated by the rest of the board as quoted above.
In agreeing with this it is utter nonsense to assume I believe that “every one of us is a potential Confucious, Voltaire, Dale Earnhart, Claire Chennault, Tiger Woods or Lang Lang?”
By stating a belief that most of us are capable of learning Chinese or flying a plane (is that even legal to do as a child?) it is surely innately stupid to suggest that I am saying that everyone can learn to do it equally well even with comparable background, motivation and amount of practice.


So learned and innately unstupid one, how do you account for the difference?
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#1271826 - 09/20/09 11:07 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: -Frycek]
Otis S Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/08
Posts: 204
The vast majority of us would agree that it takes a combination of both talent and hard work to be a good pianist. Where the disagreement lies is in the degree to which one matters more than the other. The bottom line is that we do not have reliable methods for quantifying the degree to which one is more important than the other for piano playing or other similar endeavors. Research in this area is riddled with biased and weak methodologies. The following post describes some of the problems with the Ericsson article Monica mentioned previously:
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...html#Post936206

Regarding the question raised by the original poster, it is difficult for any of us to predict how far you can go in achieving proficiency playing the classical repertoire. In general, pieces that you refer to such as the Chopin Etudes and Ballades are extremely difficult to play well, particularly if you are talking about the more difficult etudes. I would consider any pianist who can play such pieces well to be quite accomplished. It should be noted that there are many technically less challenging pieces that are very rewarding to play.

It should also be noted that if someone claims that he can play (for example) Chopin’s 4th Ballade, this does not necessarily mean that he can play it well. I know someone who “plays” really difficult Chopin pieces but lacks the technique to play a Bach invention properly. He probably should be working on pieces at the level of Bach’s Anna Magdalena Notebook. However, his view is that the codas of pieces such as Chopin’s 3rd scherzo and the Polonaise-Fantasie op. 61 are where the action is. When he plays one of these pieces, it is often difficult to determine what he is actually playing. I would not recommend this approach but chacun a son gout.

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#1271861 - 09/21/09 12:15 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: Otis S]
Toman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/24/09
Posts: 164
Great post Otis, it's nice to see some refreshing thoughts on this subject.

Originally Posted By: Otis S
The vast majority of us would agree that it takes a combination of both talent and hard work to be a good pianist. Where the disagreement lies is in the degree to which one matters more than the other. The bottom line is that we do not have reliable methods for quantifying the degree to which one is more important than the other for piano playing or other similar endeavors.


There actually are some relatively decent methods for determining how much of what we call "musical talent" is inherited: By what are typically referred to as "twin studies" and "adoption studies.'

These methods have been used quite extensively, and across different countries, to study all manner of traits ranging from intelligence to height, happiness, and even income.

From the Wikipedia entry:

"Twins are invaluable for studying [nature vs. nurture] questions because they disentangle the sharing of genes and environments

...

Modern twin studies have shown that almost all traits are in part influenced by genetic differences, with some characteristics showing a strong influence (e.g. height), others an intermediate level (e.g. IQ) and some more complex heritabilities, with evidence for different genes affecting different elements of the trait - for instance Autism.
"


Edited by Toman (09/21/09 12:23 AM)

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#1271929 - 09/21/09 04:31 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: Monica K.]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7741
Originally Posted By: Monica K.

As for playing artistically, is it not the case that musical expression is something that teachers work on with their students and that can be taught? Musical expression has to be communicated through the skilled motions of the hands and fingers, so it's hard for me to think of an a priori reason why it should be any less susceptible to the 10,000 hour rule than other behaviors.



This is one of the most interesting areas for me in the "talent" discussion. You are right that musical expression of a generic kind can be taught to many, maybe most, people. I think it is easier to teach the relatively tangible mechanical aspects of playing the piano and reading music. But still, the basics of musical expression can be taught and many people seem to feel it as a fairly normal part of learning music.

However, to me, that's just the rudiments, and it is not what I think of as musical artistry. It's more like musical craft.

It's not so difficult to get someone to play a nicely expressive Chopin prelude, if they have the technique. What is difficult is for someone to play a Chopin prelude in a way that transports the listener (especially a listener familiar with the music) to a state of mind they've never been to before. Or maybe play something very familiar in a way that makes it seem new and fresh, as if just written. That's the kind of thing that I think of as real artistic talent, and I don't think it can be taught, although great teachers can nurture it. Some of that kind of playing relies not only on specifically musical qualities of the player, but other parts of the personality and life experience, too. I think there are some extremes in musical expression that can't be expressed by a player that hasn't been there, or pretty close to there, in real life. And that can't be taught.

As far as I know, there's not a lot of study of that kind of artistic talent. It would be hard to even define it in order to study it. But millions of people have experienced it, both as performers and listeners, and think it is quite real. And at least for me, I tend to think of "talent" in terms of potential for that sort of artistry, as well as in the more measurable sense of aptitude for the more generic aspects of making music.

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#1271930 - 09/21/09 04:35 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: wr]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5893
Loc: Down Under
Well said, wr. I think you said what I was trying to say in an earlier post, but much more eloquently.
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Du holde Kunst...

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#1271932 - 09/21/09 04:53 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: currawong]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
I agree, good post, very nicely said, wr.

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#1271935 - 09/21/09 04:57 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: cardguy]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: cardguy
Originally Posted By: kevinb
I have mixed feelings about this notion of innate talent. When I doubt that there is such a thing, I only have to look at my two children, who couldn't be more different musically, to wonder. There are only a couple of years apart in age. Both play a string instrument. Both practice about the same amount and with the same diligence. Both have good teachers. And yet, one is just miles ahead, in all aspects of music, than the other.






As others have remarked, I can't help thinking that the overwhelming factor that will determine what is achievable by an adult learner is the amount of time available to practice, which depends on how one juggles one's other commitmments.






I simply can't understand this reluctance to accept what should be as plain as the nose on your face, or in this case, your children's faces. Is there some sort of fear of genetic predetermination at work here, some overly nice liberal tendency to want not to hurt anyone's feelings?

If you can't see that human beings are each born with a unique, genetically based set of talents and traits, then look to the animal world, which is just another way of looking at ourselves. I've 3 dogs at the moment, all the same breed, all with essentially the same training and background, and yet they couldn't be more different.


Leaving aside the obvious point that people aren't dogs -- well most people, anyway -- I wonder what part of my post lead you to think that I am denying a role for heredity in musical talent? I think, in fact, I said the exact opposite of this.

What I did say, and you did not address, was that the role of innate talent is impossible to quantify. It's impossible because people who show early talent will be treated differently than those who do not, and will find practice more rewarding.

Therefore, whether innate talent is influential in adulthood -- absent the influence of environment -- is unknown. Many people assume it is, but there is no evidence (so far as I know) to support this assumption.

I assume it's unknown for dogs too, whether they play piano or not.

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#1271985 - 09/21/09 08:55 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: kevinb]
Wombat66 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/31/05
Posts: 262
Loc: Cornwall UK
I sense a certain convergence of opinion and would whole–heartedly endorse WR’s post. I am re-posting just to reiterate my position in the debate and clarify my own views for those who although probably disinterested, have obviously misunderstood me.
I am simply saying that those with average ability have the physiological tools to progress very far at learning the piano when starting as an adult. They are limited, not by their innate ability (?talent) but by environmental factors such as time spent practicing, psychological barriers etc etc and, as the aging process continues, physiological barriers.
I believe that an average adult is, under ideal conditions, equipped to at least respectably fail their ABRSM diploma (ie pass grade 8 and get to the point where it is not considered absurd to sit it). At this point a lack of musicality might prevent passing the diploma. To my mind this is outstanding progress, and would equip one to play very difficult pieces to a level where a non-expert listener would be impressed. It would enable one to play in a Cocktail bar for money and not starve to death.
This position seems entirely compatible the views of Mary Rose and Sophial – it’s just a question of defining what’s “good”. I understand Monica to be saying that for most adults to get to “good”, they are limited not by their talent but factors as outlined above.
I wholeheartedly endorse this view.
We are a little backward here in Cornwall and last night I had to ask my particularly stroppy teenage daughter what “meh”, meant. She sullenly shrugged and left the room snorting “meh”, I think because she couldn’t think of anything intelligent to reply to the question.
However my detractors will be delighted to hear that in the car on the way to school this morning, when I tried to discuss the issue of how far an adult beginner pianist can get, the same daughter said “Dad – it doesn’t matter how much you practice, you’ll always be crap”.
I’m just trying to prove her, and some of the rest of you, wrong.

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#1271992 - 09/21/09 09:11 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: Wombat66]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: Wombat66
[...]I believe that an average adult is, under ideal conditions, equipped to at least respectably fail their ABRSM diploma (ie pass grade 8 and get to the point where it is not considered absurd to sit it). At this point a lack of musicality might prevent passing the diploma....

[W]when I tried to discuss the issue of how far an adult beginner pianist can get, the same daughter said “Dad – it doesn’t matter how much you practice, you’ll always be crap”.

But was she referring to your musicality or your technical proficiency?

The mention of reaching Grade 8 in technique while lacking in musicality made me realize that the converse problem is probably equally plausible: being possessed of great musicality (or the potential for it) while so limited in technique as to be unable to render it in any music save for the least complex technically.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1272017 - 09/21/09 10:20 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: Wombat66]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17733
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Wombat, ROFL!! laugh laugh My 13-year old has not yet reached the "stroppy" stage, but I know it's just a matter of time. crazy

I've been thinking more about the issue of tone deafness. I won't begin to profess any special knowledge of the topic, but I did a quick search of the literature and was not surprised to find that very little has been done on it. (Searching PsycINFO for 'tone deafness' or 'congenital amusia' [which is how researchers refer to it] yielded only 22 hits of varying relevance.)

An article in Nature Neuroscience (2007, vol. 10, pp. 810-812) reports data suggesting that tone deafness seems to be related to deficits in spatial processing. However, they also note that there is "scant evidence for gross morphological correlates of amusia," and suggest that "the deficit may derive from changes in neural functioning that are invisible to the tools that have been applied to date," (which of course is just fancy language for saying that they don't know what causes amusia).

There was an intriguing recent article in Musicae Scientiae, Vol 12(1), Spr, 2008. pp. 3-26. My university doesn't carry this journal, so I wasn't able to read the whole article, but the abstract summarizes their main points:

Research has suggested that around 17% of Western adults self-define as "tone deaf" (Cuddy, Balkwill, Peretz & Holden, 2005). But questions remain about the exact nature of tone deafness. One candidate for a formal definition is "congenital amusia" (Peretz et al., 2003), characterised by a dense music-specific perceptual deficit. However, most people self-defining as tone deaf are not congenitally amusic (Cuddy et al., 2005). According to Sloboda, Wise and Peretz (2005), the general population defines tone deafness as perceived poor singing ability, suggesting the need to extend investigations to production abilities and self-perceptions. The present research aims to discover if self-defined tone deaf people show any pattern of musical difficulties relative to controls, and to offer possible explanations for them (e.g. perceptual, cognitive, productive, motivational). 13 self-reporting "tone deaf" (TD) and 17 self-reporting "not tone deaf" (NTD) participants were assessed on a range of measures for musical perception, cognition, memory, production and self-ratings of performance. This paper reports on four measures to assess perception (Montreal Battery of Evaluation of Amusia), vocal production (songs and pitch-matching) and self-report. Results showed that the TD group performed significantly less well than the NTD group in all measures, but did not demonstrate the dense deficits characteristic of "congenital amusics". Singing performance was influenced by context, with both groups performing better when accompanied than unaccompanied. The TD group self-rated the accuracy of their singing significantly lower than the NTD group, but not disproportionately so, and were less confident in their vocal quality. The TD participants are not facing an insurmountable difficulty, but are likely to improve with targeted intervention.


The take-home message I'm getting from this is that many more people define themselves as tone-deaf than who really meet criteria for 'congenital amusia,' (in another article, I found an estimate that only 4% of the population can be considered true amusics), and that tone-deafness can be 'improved with targeted intervention,' i.e., focused practice.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1272117 - 09/21/09 02:03 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: argerichfan]
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
It occurred to me in my most recent perusal of this topic, to wonder why, when an adult amateur asks how 'good' people think it's possible to get, that people feel the need to drag "Rachmaninoff, Horowitz and Argerich" into the discussion. What percentage of piano performance majors in the conservatories of the world are going to get as good as "Rachmaninoff, Horowitz and Argerich"? Yet no one thinks to discourage a gifted high school piano student from practicing hard and applying to good schools because "they'll never be as good as Argerich."

I think society in general thinks about these things all wrong. It should be the birthright of every human being to:

*participate in and enjoy physical games and activities
*participate in and enjoy musical expression
*participate in and enjoy artistic expression
*participate in and enjoy intellectual challenge and debate

Unfortunately, what we have now is a society where only those who are "good enough" are "supposed" to participate and the rest of us are supposed to just buy tickets and spectate. Those who are not "good enough" to participate are mocked if they try anyway.

That's screwed up.
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Adult Amateur Pianist

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#1272161 - 09/21/09 03:15 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: ProdigalPianist]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19199
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: ProdigalPianist
It occurred to me in my most recent perusal of this topic, to wonder why, when an adult amateur asks how 'good' people think it's possible to get, that people feel the need to drag "Rachmaninoff, Horowitz and Argerich" into the discussion. What percentage of piano performance majors in the conservatories of the world are going to get as good as "Rachmaninoff, Horowitz and Argerich"? Yet no one thinks to discourage a gifted high school piano student from practicing hard and applying to good schools because "they'll never be as good as Argerich."



I don't think most piano performance majors expect to be the next Horowitz or Argerich. I agree that bringing in comparisons to Rachmaninov etc. is not very reasonable when discussing goals for adults/late starters.

I think a more relevant question/benchmark is how many amateurs will ever get as good as piano performance majors are even right before they start attending at a top conservatory?

I think the answer is a very tiny %.


Edited by pianoloverus (09/21/09 03:21 PM)

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#1272164 - 09/21/09 03:19 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: pianoloverus]
Monica K. Offline

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Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17733
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
I agree with you, pianoloverus, but I think the reasons are largely due to those environmental factors we've been talking about (practice, negative self-fulfilling prophecies, lack of motivation, etc.) rather than innate factors.
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#1272186 - 09/21/09 03:57 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: ProdigalPianist]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: ProdigalPianist
It occurred to me in my most recent perusal of this topic, to wonder why, when an adult amateur asks how 'good' people think it's possible to get, that people feel the need to drag "Rachmaninoff, Horowitz and Argerich" into the discussion.


Hear hear !

I'd like to add Tiger Woods to your list!

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#1272195 - 09/21/09 04:17 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: landorrano]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19199
Loc: New York City
What is the probablity of my being able to play the piano like Rachmaninov and play golf like Tiger and tennis like Roger?

I don't need my calculator and come up with 0x0x0 = 0. At least it's not a negative number.


Edited by pianoloverus (09/21/09 04:23 PM)

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#1272198 - 09/21/09 04:23 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: pianoloverus]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
I believe that the expectations for achievement are significantly different for adult learners with a childhood background in piano who return to it versus adults who are late starters.

Maybe that point has already been made? I've lost track at this point.

Steven
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"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

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Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
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#1272253 - 09/21/09 06:05 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: Monica K.]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5893
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Monica K.
The take-home message I'm getting from this is that many more people define themselves as tone-deaf than who really meet criteria for 'congenital amusia,' (in another article, I found an estimate that only 4% of the population can be considered true amusics), and that tone-deafness can be 'improved with targeted intervention,' i.e., focused practice.
Interesting, thanks Monica. I'd be very surprised myself if the figure were as high as 4%, as I wouldn't say I've ever come across one (as opposed to all the people I've met who say they're tone deaf). But maybe I just don't get out much. smile
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#1272256 - 09/21/09 06:11 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: Wombat66]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5893
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Wombat66
We are a little backward here in Cornwall and last night I had to ask my particularly stroppy teenage daughter what “meh”, meant. She sullenly shrugged and left the room snorting “meh”, I think because she couldn’t think of anything intelligent to reply to the question.
However my detractors will be delighted to hear that in the car on the way to school this morning, when I tried to discuss the issue of how far an adult beginner pianist can get, the same daughter said “Dad – it doesn’t matter how much you practice, you’ll always be crap”.
I’m just trying to prove her, and some of the rest of you, wrong.

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Du holde Kunst...

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#1272468 - 09/22/09 04:09 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: ProdigalPianist]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7741
Originally Posted By: ProdigalPianist
It occurred to me in my most recent perusal of this topic, to wonder why, when an adult amateur asks how 'good' people think it's possible to get, that people feel the need to drag "Rachmaninoff, Horowitz and Argerich" into the discussion. What percentage of piano performance majors in the conservatories of the world are going to get as good as "Rachmaninoff, Horowitz and Argerich"? Yet no one thinks to discourage a gifted high school piano student from practicing hard and applying to good schools because "they'll never be as good as Argerich."



Oh, come now - this thread has gone far beyond being a simple response to the OP. But even in the terms of the OP and some of the early part of the discussion, it wasn't clear at all that some people were not saying that sheer work was all that was needed to be at the level of Argerich, et al.

Quote:


I think society in general thinks about these things all wrong. It should be the birthright of every human being to:

*participate in and enjoy physical games and activities
*participate in and enjoy musical expression
*participate in and enjoy artistic expression
*participate in and enjoy intellectual challenge and debate

Unfortunately, what we have now is a society where only those who are "good enough" are "supposed" to participate and the rest of us are supposed to just buy tickets and spectate. Those who are not "good enough" to participate are mocked if they try anyway.

That's screwed up.


I agree that there should be much more active participation and less spectation. Generally speaking, I myself haven't noticed a lot of mockery of people who try stuff, though (maybe because I don't watch TV?).

Actually, there was something rather sweet that BBC Radio 3 did over the last few weeks, which was to include amateur piano performances from some UK amateur fest (I think associated with the Leeds competition) in their programming.

And I have to say that the number of amateurs putting their stuff up on YouTube is surprising, and seems to get a lot of positive response. I do wonder why so many put stuff up that they freely admit is not close to "ready" - that seems odd to me.



Edited by wr (09/22/09 04:09 AM)

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