Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Page 8 of 10 < 1 2 ... 6 7 8 9 10 >
Topic Options
#1272516 - 09/22/09 07:36 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: Monica K.]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: Monica K.
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.


Well, that seems to be the point on which people disagree most strongly. I guess those people who argue for a strong, perhaps dominant, role for innate ability are going to say that people who lack such talent are going make make limited progress however hard they work. Which is kind of sad.

Top
(ad) Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#1272527 - 09/22/09 08:13 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: kevinb]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5834
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: kevinb
I guess those people who argue for a strong, perhaps dominant, role for innate ability are going to say that people who lack such talent are going make make limited progress however hard they work. Which is kind of sad.
I tend towards the view that there is a definite innate ability which plays a significant role, though I wouldn't attempt to put a percentage on it! However, that doesn't mean this innate ability will always show itself clearly from the start, and I'm certainly not going to make statements such as you suggest. It also depends what you mean by "limited". Everyone's progress is limited to some extent, I suppose. We just don't know what each person's limit is. That's the important thing.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

Top
#1272533 - 09/22/09 08:25 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: kevinb]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: kevinb
[...] I guess those people who argue for a strong, perhaps dominant, role for innate ability are going to say that people who lack such talent are going make make limited progress however hard they work. Which is kind of sad.

I'm not sure what you're describing as sad: the consequence of innate ability that you mention, or that anyone should actually say it.

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

Top
#1272544 - 09/22/09 08:41 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: sotto voce]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
Originally Posted By: kevinb
[...] I guess those people who argue for a strong, perhaps dominant, role for innate ability are going to say that people who lack such talent are going make make limited progress however hard they work. Which is kind of sad.

I'm not sure what you're describing as sad: the consequence of innate ability that you mention, or that anyone should actually say it.


Both, to some extent. If it is indeed true that no amount of diligent work can make up very much for an innate deficiency of talent, then that's kind of sad. If it isn't true, then it's kind of sad that people should be wrongly discouraged from pursuing something that they might enjoy and might even, eventually, excel at.

Top
#1272566 - 09/22/09 09:31 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: kevinb]
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
Personally I don't think anyone with sufficient sensitivity to music to be willing to put in the requisite amount of diligent work is likely to be innately deficient in talent. If you took fifty people off the street and forced them to take up piano you might run across some "innately untalented" individuals but I doubt that many of them would voluntarily subject themselves to hours of disciplined piano practice.
_________________________
Slow down and do it right.

Top
#1273020 - 09/22/09 08:36 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: Toman]
Otis S Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/08
Posts: 204
Originally Posted By: Toman
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.
"


I have not come across any convincing studies which quantify the degree to which one’s level of piano playing (or a similar endeavor) is a result of talent versus hard work. If you have found studies which you feel really do shed insight into this (and are not as flawed as the Ericsson study), please bring them to our attention. It would be extremely difficult to conduct such a study. If, for example, one were to take a sampling of people on this forum for a study, the widely different backgrounds that we have would make comparisons difficult. The degree to which people have practiced varies considerably. Some have had much better instruction than others. It is often pointed out that the age at which one learns to play the piano seriously makes a significant difference. Someone who learns the piano at age 4 and makes significant progress before the age of 10 is going to have considerable advantages over someone who is not exposed to the piano until age 24.

If one took a rigorously sampled group of people of the same age who had not yet been exposed to playing the piano, exposed them to exactly the same piano training and practice regimen over several years, and carefully tracked their progress, it might be possible to make some progress in answering this question. However, it would be extremely difficult to conduct such a study. How could one enforce the same piano instruction and practice schedules for all participants over several years? If people dropped out of the study, this would bias the results.

Also, there are many factors that go into becoming a good pianist. These include technical ability to play the notes, musical expressiveness, sight reading ability, speed of memorization, ability to improvise, compositional skills, etc. The relative degree to which talent and hard work are important for these various skills most likely differs.

I don’t think that it is possible to resolve this debate simply because we don’t have enough empirical evidence to quantify in a rigorous way the degree to which one (i.e. talent/hard work) is more important than the other.

Top
#1273040 - 09/22/09 09:09 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: Otis S]
Toman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/24/09
Posts: 164
Adoption and twin studies are not impacted by any one of the problems you identified above. That's precisely what makes these specific studies so valuable.

Here is an excellent writeup on how adoption studies work and why they are important.

"Modern twin studies have shown that almost all traits are in part influenced by genetic differences"

"For IQ, adoption studies show that, after adolescence, adoptive siblings are no more similar in IQ than strangers (IQ correlation near zero), while full siblings show an IQ correlation of 0.6. Twin studies reinforce this pattern: monozygotic (identical) twins raised separately are highly similar in IQ (0.86), more so than dizygotic (fraternal) twins raised together (0.6) and much more than adoptive siblings (~0.0)."

If musical talent is anything like IQ, then we'd expect genetics to play a very large role.


Edited by Toman (09/22/09 09:28 PM)

Top
#1273063 - 09/22/09 09:43 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: Toman]
Otis S Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/08
Posts: 204
This information does not address the question of the degree to which talent or hard work plays the dominant role in piano playing. That is the topic I was discussing in my previous posts. Furthermore, I am not aware of any twin/adoption/IQ study which sheds meaningful and convincing light on this issue.

You raise the separate question of the degree to which musical talent is similar (perhaps correlated) with IQ. That opens another can of worms which I am sure that people have widely different views on.

Top
#1273077 - 09/22/09 10:23 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: Otis S]
Toman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/24/09
Posts: 164
You brought up the "talent vs. hard work" regarding musicality. My contribution is to point out that a significant portion of the equation is found right in the ol' genes.

Top
#1273189 - 09/23/09 03:28 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: Toman]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
There is evidence that heredity is influential on IQ, but it's a big step to assume that those results can be extrapolate to musical skill. As others have said, I'd be very interested to see any hard evidence on this.

I don't know much about music teaching, but I know a bit about the general education of children. One thing I've noticed is that children at the age of five or so show huge variations in their abilities at basic scholastic skills such as reading. But by 15 or so, those differences have levelled out. There are still differences, to be sure, but anybody who can't read competently at 15 is considered to have some sort of cognitive problem, that won't be overcome by ordinary teaching.

The reason, I think, is that in general scholastic skills, we do the opposite of what we do in music -- we pour all our resources into teaching people who are least able. We just don't allow people to get to adulthood and be unable to read and write if we can possibly avoid it. So it seems to me, in at least some areas of endeavour, we can overcome the limitations of our genes with hard work.

I wonder what would happen if we took the same approach to music? If we decided, for example, that no child should leave school without being able to play a musical instrument competently? What that be possible, or would the 'ol genes make it a doomed enterprise?

I don't know, and I suspect nobody else does.

Top
#1273197 - 09/23/09 03:44 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: kevinb]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7427
Originally Posted By: kevinb
If it is indeed true that no amount of diligent work can make up very much for an innate deficiency of talent, then that's kind of sad.



Really? Why?

There are any number of things in life for which I don't have innate talent, and for which I can't manufacture a pseudo-talent through diligent work. It has rarely crossed my mind to think of that fact as being sad. It's just life - we're all different, with different abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. For me, it is interesting, rather than sad. If there is sadness to be found, it is in people who have not discovered or developed the talents they do possess.

Quote:


If it isn't true, then it's kind of sad that people should be wrongly discouraged from pursuing something that they might enjoy and might even, eventually, excel at.



I don't understand how anyone would be wrongly discouraged. If they are interested enough, they'll pursue it.

What I think is really sad is kids who are told they have all kinds of talent when they don't, and later they have to go through a very painful process of figuring out why they aren't doing better, when they were lead to believe they could do anything.

Top
#1273206 - 09/23/09 04:15 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: wr]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
There are many things for which I have no skill for obvious, anatomical reasons. I would never have made a ballet dancer although I was, at one time, a pretty fair heavyweight boxer. I think if I had really, really wanted to be a ballet dancer, then the fact that I could make a decent boxer would have been little consolation. `Sad' does seem to me a reasonable word to express this state of affairs -- inevitable as it is in this life.

Even then, I think we accept our overt, anatomical limitations more easily than our mental ones. When it comes to playing the piano, the basic anatomic requirements seem easily met by almost everybody: two hands, but one will do at a pinch; at least one ear and one ear; some sort of brain to connect them together. It isn't immediately obvious what makes one person more adept at piano playing than another, given the same basic equipment.

Now, you say: ``There are any number of things in life for which I don't have innate talent...'' but is that really true? That is, given something for which you have the requisite bodily machinery, are you sure what you perceive as a lack of innate talent isn't, in fact, a lack of interest? Or a lack of a proper environment to practice? Or something else?

This is a complex subject and I certainly don't have all (or any) of the answers. When it comes to my children, I prefer to tell them that if they want to achieve something badly enough, they are likely to with sufficient application. This seems a more generous and encouraging notion than `be prepared to do less well than you would like', although of course we all have to face that harsh reality at some point.

As for adults, in the subjects that I teach (generally mathematics and computing), I do come across students who will require massive expenditures of effort just to get to a standard that other students will reach with ease. I've met very few students who wouldn't eventually reach competency, but in many cases the students realize quite quickly that the amount of effort required so far exceeds the reward that they give up. That also is sad, in my view, but entirely understandable, given the limited length of human life.

I presume that learning the piano as an adult works in a similar way.

Top
#1273212 - 09/23/09 04:30 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: kevinb]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7427
Originally Posted By: kevinb
There is evidence that heredity is influential on IQ, but it's a big step to assume that those results can be extrapolate to musical skill. As others have said, I'd be very interested to see any hard evidence on this.

I don't know much about music teaching, but I know a bit about the general education of children. One thing I've noticed is that children at the age of five or so show huge variations in their abilities at basic scholastic skills such as reading. But by 15 or so, those differences have levelled out. There are still differences, to be sure, but anybody who can't read competently at 15 is considered to have some sort of cognitive problem, that won't be overcome by ordinary teaching.

The reason, I think, is that in general scholastic skills, we do the opposite of what we do in music -- we pour all our resources into teaching people who are least able. We just don't allow people to get to adulthood and be unable to read and write if we can possibly avoid it. So it seems to me, in at least some areas of endeavour, we can overcome the limitations of our genes with hard work.

I wonder what would happen if we took the same approach to music? If we decided, for example, that no child should leave school without being able to play a musical instrument competently? What that be possible, or would the 'ol genes make it a doomed enterprise?

I don't know, and I suspect nobody else does.



In developed countries, being literate is necessary in order to function and participate in society to any normal degree. There is a pretty large stake in getting as many people reading and writing as possible, just to keep things running with some degree of efficiency. Simply training people to be literate doesn't overcome genetics through hard work, any more than training them to a modest degree of proficiency in math or the sciences does.

I question the idea that reading and writing skills even out by around age 15. It seems to me that what really happens is that the skills being tested simply don't get into anything very advanced, so sure, it appears that the skills have leveled out, when what is actually being shown is that most of those being tested have achieved a certain common denominator which is fairly low. If you tested for reading skills at higher levels, such as being able to parse out the meaning of a page-long sentence in Henry James or Faulkner, I bet you'd quickly see that the skills had not evened out at all.

I would guess that similar training results could be obtained in music, except that in terms of motivation, there isn't the same pressure of "you've got to learn this to survive". For some reason, I have this idea that in some countries music is a regular part of school studies. If so, maybe they have some experience in thinking about how genetic predisposition shows up. But if they are only interested in getting as many as possible to a certain low degree of proficiency, maybe not.

Top
#1273220 - 09/23/09 05:09 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: kevinb]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7427
Originally Posted By: kevinb


Now, you say: ``There are any number of things in life for which I don't have innate talent...'' but is that really true? That is, given something for which you have the requisite bodily machinery, are you sure what you perceive as a lack of innate talent isn't, in fact, a lack of interest? Or a lack of a proper environment to practice? Or something else?



I think interest and talent are very closely related, sometimes to the point of being slightly different aspects of the same thing. I think that talent will always generate interest. But, on the other hand, interest alone can also be generated by something less compelling than talent. Maybe interest comes from some degree of affinity, rather than a full-blown case of talent. Or from simple curiosity.

But no, I don't think most of those things in which I don't have talent are that way through lack of opportunity or environment. I think they are "really true". Some may be due to physiological realities, but I don't discount those; they are surely part of "innate".

There's a whole new area opening up of how parents' and the larger environment's expectations actually shape children's neurological and physical development (particularly in regards to gender expectations), and I can see that some of that stuff might shift some things I currently think of as "innate" over to being "environmental" and therefore more malleable, but at this point, it is too early to say. Or it might be that those kinds of influences should still be considered to be "innate" even if not specifically genetic.

Top
#1273223 - 09/23/09 05:25 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: wr]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: wr
There's a whole new area opening up of how parents' and the larger environment's expectations actually shape children's neurological and physical development (particularly in regards to gender expectations), and I can see that some of that stuff might shift some things I currently think of as "innate" over to being "environmental" and therefore more malleable, but at this point, it is too early to say. Or it might be that those kinds of influences should still be considered to be "innate" even if not specifically genetic.


I don't think I disagree with you very strongly, if at all; the lack of coherence of my posts just reflects my ambivalent views on this whole subject area.

I can't help thinking that the answer to the question what are realistic expectations of an adult starter is ``Goodness knows''. There just seems to be too many variables.

I suppose a related question that might (maybe) be easier to answer is: if I practice for (say) one hour a day, and I've made such-and-such progress in two years, where can I expect to be in (say) ten years?

Top
#1273292 - 09/23/09 08:42 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: kevinb]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3006
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: kevinb
I suppose a related question that might (maybe) be easier to answer is: if I practice for (say) one hour a day, and I've made such-and-such progress in two years, where can I expect to be in (say) ten years?


I would have asked it slightly differently. Where will I be after 100 hours of practice, where will I be after 1000, where will I be after 10,000? Grade 1, grade 3, grade 5?

And then factor in age. Easiest way to do that might be equivalent hours. Maybe 1 hour of practice for a 10-20 year old really counts as 45 minutes for a 20 to 30 year old, 30 minutes for a 30 - 40 year old, 20 minutes for a 40 to 50 year old. So you still have to get your 100, 1000, 10000 hours, but it takes longer for the oldtimers like me.

Chinese is a language that almost no 3 year old fails to learn, and almost no 50 year old succeeds in. I suspect piano is similar.

By success I mean become a competent craftsman, not the rare genius virtuoso. That isn't common even starting at 3.

Teachers I've talked to have had success with the 50+ adult if they had an early musical background. I don't think I've heard of anyone actually succeeding on any instrument starting cold after 50. There may be some out there but they have to be rare.
_________________________
gotta go practice

Top
#1273300 - 09/23/09 08:56 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: wr]
Little_Blue_Engine Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/30/09
Posts: 1233
Loc: Ohio, US
Originally Posted By: wr

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.


I think it may be because even though they are not "there yet" they are so excited and proud of how far they have come that they feel the need to share it with someone.
_________________________
I'll figure it out eventually.
Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.


Top
#1273366 - 09/23/09 10:52 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: wr]
Toman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/24/09
Posts: 164
Originally Posted By: wr
There's a whole new area opening up of how parents' and the larger environment's expectations actually shape children's neurological and physical development (particularly in regards to gender expectations), and I can see that some of that stuff might shift some things I currently think of as "innate" over to being "environmental" and therefore more malleable, but at this point, it is too early to say. Or it might be that those kinds of influences should still be considered to be "innate" even if not specifically genetic.


Where did you hear this? It's my understanding that the evidence is going precisely the opposite direction.

Top
#1273379 - 09/23/09 11:06 AM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: TimR]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: TimR

Teachers I've talked to have had success with the 50+ adult if they had an early musical background. I don't think I've heard of anyone actually succeeding on any instrument starting cold after 50. There may be some out there but they have to be rare.


Fair enough -- but how many 50+ cold-starers can there be? Not many, I would have thought. I would imagine that anybody who had the motivation to play a musical instrument would have started before then. While I can conceive of circumstances that would lead a highly-motivated person to be unable to start learning until 50, they must be extremely unusual.

I do know people of my general age -- 40-50 -- who are learning musical instruments for the first time to show solidarity with their children. The kids are encouraged by the school to learn an instrument, and the mums and dads get involved too, on (I guess) a sort of safety-in-numbers basis.

These folks seems to make the amount of progress I would expect for a couple of hours' practice a week. On the whole, the difference in progress between the parents and the children has not exactly been striking.

Very possibly the difference between enthusiastic kids and enthusiastic 50+ folks will be as striking as you say -- but I just wonder whether there is actually anybody in the second group, in practice?

I'm not doubting you observation that 50+ cold-starters don't do very well -- what I'm wondering is if these are the kind of people who would not have done very well if they started at 20? (for whatever reason).

Top
#1273457 - 09/23/09 12:48 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: Otis S]
Wombat66 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/31/05
Posts: 262
Loc: Cornwall UK
Originally Posted By: Otis S


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.





Do they play digital?
You haven't heard a certain
nameless poster on Piano
World play? I've often wondered
what it sounds like.

I was also very interested
in Kevin B's thoughts on poor
readers being given remedial teaching
to overcome their literacy difficulties. This is an
excellent point. In contradistinction
to piano playing, people are not
allowed to give up learning
to read, and are forced to acquire
competence. I'm sure the same would
be true for piano playing if society were
that sadistic.

Top
#1273498 - 09/23/09 01:33 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: kevinb]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3006
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: kevinb

Fair enough -- but how many 50+ cold-starers can there be? Not many, I would have thought.


Fortunately they are rare. Unfortunately they are not nonexistent. Any church choir has at least one member who joined after retirement when he/she finally had time, and who stays forever singing the wrong notes loudly, making no improvement year after year. Sigh.

Quote:
I do know people of my general age -- 40-50 -- who are learning musical instruments for the first time to show solidarity with their children.


Yes, that seems to happen frequently. In my experience all these parents stalled relatively quicly and then gave up. I think if someone had explained that their progress would be slower than the kids, but improvement would would continue, maybe they wouldn't have been frustrated so soon.

I started piano with my daughter when I was 50 or so and she 13 or so. I practiced roughly 3 times as long, and as efficiently as possible; she still made far faster progress than I. Difference is I'm still working while she's moved on to other activities.


Quote:
I'm not doubting you observation that 50+ cold-starters don't do very well -- what I'm wondering is if these are the kind of people who would not have done very well if they started at 20? (for whatever reason).


No, I don't think so. I think there are two different problems here. There is some early musical vocabulary that if missed, is very hard to learn later in life. Just like a language. I don't pretend to know neurologically what happens, but fluency seems to require some early exposure.

And then the other problem is that learning anything is considerably harder for us old timers, while forgetting anything becomes easier every day.

And while I sound optimistic about 50+ with experience making progress, I bet it is the very rare teacher who actually has one. I'm still working, but I think I've set realistic goals.

I heard Sergei Ignatov talk about talent once (head juggler with the Moscow Circus). He said there is a level of skill anyone can achieve through effort, and a level of skill that requires natural talent beyond what most of have. He claimed that breakpoint was 8 balls, which would suggest most of us sell ourselves short.
_________________________
gotta go practice

Top
#1273514 - 09/23/09 01:52 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: TimR]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11184
Loc: Canada
It would be nice if a couple of things did not keep getting presented as fact. One is the language learning story. It IS possible to learn new languages and to speak them with fluency and without an accent. One reason that does not happen often enough may have to do with how we approach things as we get older. If the approaches change, the results will change. The (lack of) ability is not a fact. Certain observations made in certain scenarios are a fact. What they mean may not be.

Secondly, Tim, could you not keep stating as though it were a fact, that people cannot learn as well when they get older. It is not a universal experience and it is not a fact. When people believe something about themselves then that can affect what they can achieve.

Among the choir members who continued to sing badly and out of tune - What were they doing in order to learn? Anything? Did they know how to learn and approach it? If any of them wanted to learn how to sing, did anybody know how to guide them? They would have to work at it between rehearsals. The first choir I joined (close to 50) considered singing a social occasion. Some had been in the choir for 25 years and sung the same songs for 25 years, and yet still had to bury their heads in the music. If they had sung for a hundred years, their noses would still be buried in the pages. I knew their repertoire by heart within half a year, but I worked at it. The point is that if you direct a choir and the members aren't going anywhere, you cannot draw any conclusions about people's potential in general, unless you know what they are doing in their efforts (if any) to learn.

And how they are doing it, i.e. approach. For adult learners there is probably a host of unexplored areas.


Edited by keystring (09/23/09 01:54 PM)

Top
#1273521 - 09/23/09 02:00 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: TimR]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11184
Loc: Canada
Actually, could you expand on this?
Quote:
There is some early musical vocabulary that if missed, is very hard to learn later in life.


What type of musical vocabulary are you refering to? All I had was solfege from a class in some primary grade, so my orientation tended to be melodic. Solfege the way I learned it held some sense of functional harmony, but it's a distant instinctive thing. I had to learn the names of notes maybe three years ago. I'm still weak in my sense of chords, especially the part that seems second nature to most pianists. So yeah, there's vocabulary for me. Is this the kind of thing that you mean?

Top
#1273537 - 09/23/09 02:24 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: keystring]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: keystring
It would be nice if a couple of things did not keep getting presented as fact. One is the language learning story. It IS possible to learn new languages and to speak them with fluency and without an accent. One reason that does not happen often enough may have to do with how we approach things as we get older. If the approaches change, the results will change. The (lack of) ability is not a fact.

Neither is your hypothesis, which I think amounts to no more than wishful thinking. I can't believe you wish to go down this road again! I wonder if you're the only linguist in the world who rejects a fundamental precept of language acquisition as "not a fact."

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

Top
#1273551 - 09/23/09 02:56 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: sotto voce]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11184
Loc: Canada
Steven, I work in this field, teach language privately and toward the aims that I have described. I am learning my seventh language. The precepts of language acquisition or due to studies done a certain way among a certain population. Have you yourself tried to teach language toward those aims, and experimented with alternate methodology? Is this going by theories of what can be done, or experiments giving the conclusion that it cannot be done?

I'm afraid this is going to get just as abstract and academic as this thread was going before. There are practical issues that people are addressing practically. If even some people are managing to acquire or teach language through different approaches from a different angle, then what is achieved is achieved, regardless of what the books may say. Bumblebees fly. Why limit ourselves? This goes over toward learning music or an instrument at a later age, including the idea that adults progress more quickly than children, as a *fact*. If it's something observed here and there, then it's observed. But when it is made a fact, we limit ourselves.

In this forum people are trying to do something. Why tell them as a fact of limitations that they may or may not have?

Top
#1273566 - 09/23/09 03:13 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: keystring]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
We've been all through this before. I have a degree in Spanish and Linguistics from UCLA; I studied with Ladefoged and Stockwell. You're entitled to your opinion, but don't present it as fact while simultaneously accusing others of the same error. The apparent real-world experience you have as a "linguist" somehow puts you squarely out-of-sync with academia on this matter.

"Bumblebees fly" sounds like a line from "Over the rainbow." And conjectures about what might happen should be tempered with the familiar line from Wayne's World: "And monkeys might fly out of my ****."

The number of adult learners of foreign languages, with no prior experience, who achieve complete fluency and perfect pronunciation is probably comparable to the number of adult beginners of piano with no prior experience who attain concert pianist-level proficiency. Sure, it might be because teaching methodologies are faulty rather than the way our brains are wired. (And monkeys might fly ... well, you know.)

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

Top
#1273585 - 09/23/09 03:56 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: Toman]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7427
Originally Posted By: Toman
Originally Posted By: wr
There's a whole new area opening up of how parents' and the larger environment's expectations actually shape children's neurological and physical development (particularly in regards to gender expectations), and I can see that some of that stuff might shift some things I currently think of as "innate" over to being "environmental" and therefore more malleable, but at this point, it is too early to say. Or it might be that those kinds of influences should still be considered to be "innate" even if not specifically genetic.


Where did you hear this? It's my understanding that the evidence is going precisely the opposite direction.


Most recently, I was reading about it in a book review, but I'm not sure in what publication - could have been the NYT. Sorry, can't remember the book or author, either, but it is a very recent one that talks about new research done in this area. What I retained from reading the review was that some stuff that used to be thought to be innate to gender and caused by DNA, turns out now to be thought to result from the social environment surrounding infants and very young children, such as parental expectations. Seemed like they were talking about credible, scientifically-based information to me, but then, I haven't read the book.

Top
#1273604 - 09/23/09 04:31 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: sotto voce]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11184
Loc: Canada
Steven, your academic qualifications are much higher than mine. I have a BA and linguistics was part of the course of studies, then a degree in education with side qualifications. After that I have mixed experience in teaching and working directly using languages, and also did some one-on-one type language teaching. Without a doubt your theoretical knowledge surpasses mine by far.

Quote:
You're entitled to your opinion, but don't present it as fact

It was not my intention to do so.

My relationship to language is concrete and practical. There are aspects to both language learning and music learning which seem to make a difference when they are considered and applied. It goes toward approach, but that is an approximate word since there isn't room to define it here. If someone may have made inroads, why dismiss it just because it does not match the studies?

The experiences with students and my own learning are not conjecture, they're real. Of course one person's experience doesn't prove anything, but at least maybe there is room for thought. It didn't bomb. Why are you so against the possibility, or - are you against the possibility?
Quote:
somehow puts you squarely out-of-sync with academia on this matter.

It probably has. I don't know much about it. You have mentioned studies that test what people can do. Do you have anything involving learning approaches and teaching approaches? I suppose that I am not interested in this academically. I want to help people learn languages if they approach me for that, and I want to study music effectively. I will tend to ask "How can it be done?" I don't know if that is an academic question.


Edited by keystring (09/23/09 04:35 PM)

Top
#1273623 - 09/23/09 04:57 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: Toman]
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
I was thinking about this very thread while watching a Nova episode on epigenetics last night. Studies are finding that experiences of, not only the individual, but even the individual's ancestors (grandparents' diet, in the case of the diabetes research mentioned on the program), can impact what gets 'turned on' and 'turned off' on the genome.

So even saying "it's genetic" means that individual experience (nurture) plays an enormous part.
Nova - Epigenetics
_________________________
Adult Amateur Pianist

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

Top
#1273631 - 09/23/09 05:16 PM Re: Realistic Goals as adults/late starter [Re: ProdigalPianist]
Toman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/24/09
Posts: 164
All genes are formed by individual experience.

Top
Page 8 of 10 < 1 2 ... 6 7 8 9 10 >

Moderator:  Brendan, Kreisler 
What's Hot!!
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
-------------------
PIANO BOOKS
Interesting books about the piano, pianists, piano history, biographies, memoirs and more!
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
Download & Print Sheet Music Instantly
sheet music search
sheet music search

sheet music search
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Who's Online
147 registered (alex-kid, accordeur, 3rd Ear, 41 invisible), 1489 Guests and 45 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
74258 Members
42 Forums
153609 Topics
2251320 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
How did YOU get started on software pianos?
by doremi
04/20/14 03:02 PM
Advice needed: what to do with piano during a major remodel
by akita
04/20/14 02:31 PM
Few questions from a newbie regarding Bach and playing piano
by The Lark Ascending
04/20/14 02:18 PM
Should I play piano with different tone setting?
by Clannad
04/20/14 01:53 PM
I just can't get my head around temperament!
by LarryShone
04/20/14 01:05 PM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission