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 9 of 16 < 1 2 ... 7 8 9 10 11 ... 15 16 >
Topic Options
#2067271 - 04/19/13 05:48 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: mermilylumpkin]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19097
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: mermilylumpkin
Part of the reason I think vocal ability is more innate is because you only get one vocal apparatus, ever, and it's built in. It's easy to imagine that from a pure physiological perspective, some people end up with a "Steinway" and some people end up with a 1902 clunker. Pianism on the other hand, has fairly little to do with the physiology of your hand and arm (though many of the greats are said to have had massive hands), and much more to do with the mental processes involved in putting your limbs to work.
To some extent I agree and this is why few would argue about vocal talent. OTOH one could say only gets one set of hands and arms and one brain to direct them. My view is that the talent aspect is probably more critical for the voice but still critical for the piano. Just my intuitive view and certainly not based on personal experience with great talents in either field.


Edited by pianoloverus (04/19/13 07:25 PM)

Top
(ad) Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#2067304 - 04/19/13 07:10 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: pianoloverus]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3405
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: mermilylumpkin
Part of the reason I think vocal ability is more innate is because you only get one vocal apparatus, ever, and it's built in. It's easy to imagine that from a pure physiological perspective, some people end up with a "Steinway" and some people end up with a 1902 clunker. Pianism on the other hand, has fairly little to do with the physiology of your hand and arm (though many of the greats are said to have had massive hands), and much more to do with the mental processes involved in putting your limbs to work.
To some extent I agree and this is why few would argue about vocal talent. OTOH one could say only gets one set of hands and arms and one brain to direct them. My view is that the talent aspect is probably more critical for the voice but still critical for the piano.


I think the physical and cognitive attributes needed to play the piano are distributed on the same kind of normal curve as other human attributes. Those at the far end of that curve (actually who are simultaneously at the far end of all of those curves of attributes needed to play at a high level, the lucky few) are what we would call talented. It may not be as obvious as the voice, but the same principle applies, I think.

Top
#2067479 - 04/20/13 06:44 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: mermilylumpkin]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7424
Originally Posted By: mermilylumpkin
Pianism on the other hand, has fairly little to do with the built-in physiology of your hand and arm (though many of the greats are said to have had massive hands), and much more to do with the mental processes involved in putting your limbs to work.


Maybe in the externals, but I think there's probably a lot of correlation of "talent" to certain physical characteristics such as the ratio of fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscles a person has. Apparently the connections between left and right brain hemispheres, and how much a person has, could be involved, too.

Top
#2067497 - 04/20/13 08:06 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Derulux]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7424
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus=
[sic - this quote should be attributed to wr]

And, come to think of it, even if someone could find such an example, the utter freakish rarity of it would mean that it was pretty useless as an example in any general discussion of why it is that people say that you can't acquire a real complete virtuoso technique as an adult.

So, because of a lack of evidence, you want to discredit this idea, but when there was zero evidence earlier of the existence of talent, that was fine? wink



The equivalency you draw is false. On the one hand we have something that most people here seem to agree is a real phenomenon which they have observed or experienced, but on the other, we have something that no one has ever encountered. There's no point in comparing them.

Top
#2067651 - 04/20/13 03:02 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: wr]
Old Man Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/12
Posts: 730
Loc: Michigan, USA
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus=
[sic - this quote should be attributed to wr]
And, come to think of it, even if someone could find such an example, the utter freakish rarity of it would mean that it was pretty useless as an example in any general discussion of why it is that people say that you can't acquire a real complete virtuoso technique as an adult.

So, because of a lack of evidence, you want to discredit this idea, but when there was zero evidence earlier of the existence of talent, that was fine? wink
The equivalency you draw is false. On the one hand we have something that most people here seem to agree is a real phenomenon which they have observed or experienced, but on the other, we have something that no one has ever encountered. There's no point in comparing them.

I agree. I think there's plenty of evidence (as opposed to "proof") to support the thesis that some people are naturally gifted. The mere fact that there have been children who perform in public with orchestras within 3-6 years after starting lessons IMO provides ample evidence right there. Environment is an important factor, but it cannot explain it.

The ideal would be to conduct studies where a five-year old prodigy would be tracked along side a five-year old of "average" talent. (The problem, of course, is how to "pre-identify" such a prodigy.) But if it could be done, and the children both received identical parenting, training, nurturing, etc. for a period of let's say 3 years, I guarantee that the prodigy would be light years ahead of the other child, and that this would be self-evident, even to a non-musician.

But, dammit, I can't prove it. Nevertheless, I do guarantee it. grin

Top
#2067693 - 04/20/13 04:36 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Old Man]
patH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/13
Posts: 511
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: Old Man
The ideal would be to conduct studies where a five-year old prodigy would be tracked along side a five-year old of "average" talent. (The problem, of course, is how to "pre-identify" such a prodigy.) But if it could be done, and the children both received identical parenting, training, nurturing, etc. for a period of let's say 3 years, I guarantee that the prodigy would be light years ahead of the other child, and that this would be self-evident, even to a non-musician.

But, dammit, I can't prove it. Nevertheless, I do guarantee it. grin

I don't. Because one factor is missing: Ambition. Maybe the "prodigy" does not want to become a world-class pianist, and will not practise as seriously as the "average" child.

In this case, the "average" child might reach the same level as the "prodigy"; but will have to work harder to achieve it.
_________________________
Everything is possible, and nothing is sure.
XXXI

Top
#2067705 - 04/20/13 04:59 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: patH]
Old Man Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/12
Posts: 730
Loc: Michigan, USA
Originally Posted By: patH
Originally Posted By: Old Man
The ideal would be to conduct studies where a five-year old prodigy would be tracked along side a five-year old of "average" talent. (The problem, of course, is how to "pre-identify" such a prodigy.) But if it could be done, and the children both received identical parenting, training, nurturing, etc. for a period of let's say 3 years, I guarantee that the prodigy would be light years ahead of the other child, and that this would be self-evident, even to a non-musician.

But, dammit, I can't prove it. Nevertheless, I do guarantee it. grin

I don't. Because one factor is missing: Ambition. Maybe the "prodigy" does not want to become a world-class pianist, and will not practise as seriously as the "average" child.

In this case, the "average" child might reach the same level as the "prodigy"; but will have to work harder to achieve it.

Well, yes, ambition would be one of thousands of variables. But I wasn't trying to list all the variables. smile What I was trying to say is that if all variables were equal except innate ability/talent, the results would be exponentially different.

Top
#2067714 - 04/20/13 05:17 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Old Man]
patH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/13
Posts: 511
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: Old Man
What I was trying to say is that if all variables were equal except innate ability/talent, the results would be exponentially different.

This I can agree with; but maybe not exponentially.
_________________________
Everything is possible, and nothing is sure.
XXXI

Top
#2068180 - 04/21/13 06:23 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: patH]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5067
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: patH
Talent is the ability to turn an innate aptitude into a skill.

I think this is the crux of the debate. I, for one, do not believe we are born able to do much of anything. So, in my case, I would have to disagree with your definition, since I don't think anything is actually "innate".

Originally Posted By: beet31425
How about modifying patH's statement to: "Self-discipline is the ability to turn an innate aptitude into a skill."

I think this is getting much closer, but we are still dealing with something that is "innate". I might go for "turning something that you don't know into something that you do know," but I still have to disagree that we are born with any particular skill set.

Originally Posted By: patH
Maybe becoming a virtuoso is 1% of innate aptitude and 99% hard work.

You're only 1% off in your estimate. wink

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I find it bizarre that when a young person has a phenomenal vocal ability, I think no one would deny it's part talent (as in a natural gift) but some feel that this is not true for piano playing.

Anyone really think anyone can sing like this at a similar age without talent?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKGCpMSFjlU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fG8RvKtQXZ0


I think Jackie is a much better example. I saw that episode live--one of the few I've actually watched. She blew me away with her voice; and I would certainly concede that, at 12 years old, she has an exceedingly rare ability. But what I see is a well-groomed youngster who dedicated herself wholly to her craft. Did her vocal chords better position her to find success so young? Perhaps. But that's not talent. It's more like saying someone who is 7' tall has a better chance of dunking a basketball than someone who is 5' tall. (I think mermilylumpkin summed this up rather nicely with his discussion of the vocal apparatus.)

You responded to mermily, and your response seemed to indicate that the physical apparatus with which one is given is what "talent" is. Am I on par there, or did I read you wrong? If I did read you right, could we then say that you would consider someone born with a Steinway concert grand to be more talented than someone born with an 1850's Pleyel upright? This, to me, doesn't seem to make sense, and so that is why I think I misunderstood what you wrote. smile

Originally Posted By: sophial
I think the physical and cognitive attributes needed to play the piano are distributed on the same kind of normal curve as other human attributes. Those at the far end of that curve (actually who are simultaneously at the far end of all of those curves of attributes needed to play at a high level, the lucky few) are what we would call talented. It may not be as obvious as the voice, but the same principle applies, I think.

This is about as close I would come to accepting a definition for 'talent' based on the current discussion. But, I'm not sure that being at the extreme far end of the spectrum, or rather, not being there, denies you the ability to play at such a 'high' level. I think it predisposes you to be able to learn quicker, but I think that, over the course of a career, that curve is not so steep that someone who is not at that extreme end could not catch up, or even surpass, the person who is at that far end. Meaning, of course, that "talent" (should it exist) as a measure of "potential success" is meaningless.

Originally Posted By: wr
The equivalency you draw is false. On the one hand we have something that most people here seem to agree is a real phenomenon which they have observed or experienced, but on the other, we have something that no one has ever encountered. There's no point in comparing them.

Naturally, I think you expected me to disagree with your conclusion. My train of thought at this point tends more towards the abstract, since that is where we are currently heading, and those whose minds are firmly made up will have difficulty navigating these waters. That's not to say that anyone necessarily needs to venture this far out, but those seeking the "truth", I'm sure, will enjoy the conversation. By your response, I'm not sure if you're trying to reel me in, or join me. wink

Here is my point of contention: On the one hand, we have something that has yet to be defined (or proved to exist), that many people have claimed to observe. Because of a lack of definition (or evidence, other than "groupthink"), this thing has been called "talent".

Originally Posted By: Old Man
I agree. I think there's plenty of evidence (as opposed to "proof") to support the thesis that some people are naturally gifted. The mere fact that there have been children who perform in public with orchestras within 3-6 years after starting lessons IMO provides ample evidence right there. Environment is an important factor, but it cannot explain it.

The ideal would be to conduct studies where a five-year old prodigy would be tracked along side a five-year old of "average" talent. (The problem, of course, is how to "pre-identify" such a prodigy.) But if it could be done, and the children both received identical parenting, training, nurturing, etc. for a period of let's say 3 years, I guarantee that the prodigy would be light years ahead of the other child, and that this would be self-evident, even to a non-musician.

But, dammit, I can't prove it. Nevertheless, I do guarantee it. grin

If only we could actually do this study, I, too, would be very interested in the results. But I think we'd need to start at the conception of identical twins to rule out other factors that may have occurred before the child turned five. One set from a musical family. The other set from a non-musical family. Sadly, we venture towards Mengele's territory, and I doubt (with good reason) that such an experiment would ever be allowable.

And, of course, as I read, there are still other factors beyond our control. Ambition being a major one. But yes, all things being equal, this would be a very interesting study that might answer many of the questions posed in this thread.
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

Top
#2068201 - 04/21/13 07:31 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
mermilylumpkin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/08/13
Posts: 121
No, my argument was that vocal "talent" is driven moreso by what you're born with than instrumental "talent" since the voice is an instrument that's built into your body. I was meaning to contradict the person before me who said that no one would deny that X 12 year old on Australian Idol had natural talent, yet here we are debating natural piano talent. In my opinion, pianism comes down mostly to the thought processes you use to approach musical tasks/problems over a long, long span of time (big hands also being a plus), and requires a sort of Herculean life-or-death drive at the highest levels. Since thought processes are content-driven and since you're not born with thoughts pre-inserted in your mind, I think that musical talent is not innate.

I'm not particularly invested, though. I am a first grade teacher and I'm quite unorthodox in that I believe very little in "intelligence" and very much in the confluence of drive, motivation, hard work and privilege. I've never had a child whom I personally believed to be a "slow" reader, though they may have been regarded as such by other teachers and I've had several with various reading problems that I thought were unrelated to potential aptitude. Some previously very low performing children have performed very well after going through my class. I think it's the result of the fact that I didn't think they were limited by low intelligence, so I looked to solve other problems that were holding them back more methodically. Anyway, it's not directly related, but I think it influences how I think about other domains. I've never felt limited by a lack of talent since I don't believe in it as a make-or-break factor. There's no reason not to practice three hours per day since I can't see a hard-and-fast wall I'm going to hit. Then I find after practicing three hours a day for a really long time I come across as having much more "talent" and ease and natural facility even though I am the same old dull me, just a hard working me.

Top
#2068288 - 04/21/13 10:39 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Derulux]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3405
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Derulux


Originally Posted By: sophial
I think the physical and cognitive attributes needed to play the piano are distributed on the same kind of normal curve as other human attributes. Those at the far end of that curve (actually who are simultaneously at the far end of all of those curves of attributes needed to play at a high level, the lucky few) are what we would call talented. It may not be as obvious as the voice, but the same principle applies, I think.

This is about as close I would come to accepting a definition for 'talent' based on the current discussion. But, I'm not sure that being at the extreme far end of the spectrum, or rather, not being there, denies you the ability to play at such a 'high' level. I think it predisposes you to be able to learn quicker, but I think that, over the course of a career, that curve is not so steep that someone who is not at that extreme end could not catch up, or even surpass, the person who is at that far end. Meaning, of course, that "talent" (should it exist) as a measure of "potential success" is meaningless.



Physical equipment (brain, nervous system, reflexes, coordination) of course is part of talent depending on what the talent is for. Chess for example relies not so much on physical abilities as mental ones. Sprinting may need more fast twitch musculature than marathon running. Piano likely involves some very complex mix of physical, mental and emotional aptitudes. Individuals who start with more natural endowment have the "gifted" advantage. Can those who don't catch up? Perhaps someone who is close to that high end can, by dint of hard work, overtake a lazy gifted individual but if the extremely talented person works extremely hard, those not so gifted, especially those just average or below average, are unlikely to ever get close to them. At the high levels of classical music, the curve is extremely steep and only a few make it to the top of the pyramid despite working extremely hard. It's no different for Olympic level athletes. How many runners are out there who train just as hard if not harder than Usain Bolt but never get close to his times? That is not to say that hard work is not necessary or important -- but the person without the underlying attributes will always be at a disadvantage.

The fact is that not everyone can be a concert pianist at the level of a Kissin, Wang, Argerich or Pollini no matter how hard we're willing to work. That also doesn't mean that with hard work we can't improve and realize our potential, which might, with dedication and practice, be more than we ever thought.

Top
#2068308 - 04/21/13 11:08 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: mermilylumpkin]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5067
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: mermilylumpkin
No, my argument was that vocal "talent" is driven moreso by what you're born with than instrumental "talent" since the voice is an instrument that's built into your body. I was meaning to contradict the person before me who said that no one would deny that X 12 year old on Australian Idol had natural talent, yet here we are debating natural piano talent. In my opinion, pianism comes down mostly to the thought processes you use to approach musical tasks/problems over a long, long span of time (big hands also being a plus), and requires a sort of Herculean life-or-death drive at the highest levels. Since thought processes are content-driven and since you're not born with thoughts pre-inserted in your mind, I think that musical talent is not innate.

I'm not particularly invested, though. I am a first grade teacher and I'm quite unorthodox in that I believe very little in "intelligence" and very much in the confluence of drive, motivation, hard work and privilege. I've never had a child whom I personally believed to be a "slow" reader, though they may have been regarded as such by other teachers and I've had several with various reading problems that I thought were unrelated to potential aptitude. Some previously very low performing children have performed very well after going through my class. I think it's the result of the fact that I didn't think they were limited by low intelligence, so I looked to solve other problems that were holding them back more methodically. Anyway, it's not directly related, but I think it influences how I think about other domains. I've never felt limited by a lack of talent since I don't believe in it as a make-or-break factor. There's no reason not to practice three hours per day since I can't see a hard-and-fast wall I'm going to hit. Then I find after practicing three hours a day for a really long time I come across as having much more "talent" and ease and natural facility even though I am the same old dull me, just a hard working me.

I don't find it surprising at all that you are a teacher. I am the product of a family of teachers (I am the non-teacher black sheep, lol). Even my girlfriend is a teacher. Every one of them shares a very similar philosophy (as do I).

Originally Posted By: sophial
It's no different for Olympic level athletes. How many runners are out there who train just as hard if not harder than Usain Bolt but never get close to his times? That is not to say that hard work is not necessary or important -- but the person without the underlying attributes will always be at a disadvantage.

I happen to be someone who has reached the pinnacle of an athletic endeavor. Having been heavily invested in more than one sport throughout my life, and having succeeded at the highest level in one of them, I can only tell you what I have seen from every single person with whom I have ever been in competition, or in which sport I have ever competed. That is: he who works hardest, smartest, and longest, wins. I have never, ever found an exception to this rule.
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

Top
#2068340 - 04/22/13 12:02 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Derulux]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3405
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: mermilylumpkin
No, my argument was that vocal "talent" is driven moreso by what you're born with than instrumental "talent" since the voice is an instrument that's built into your body. I was meaning to contradict the person before me who said that no one would deny that X 12 year old on Australian Idol had natural talent, yet here we are debating natural piano talent. In my opinion, pianism comes down mostly to the thought processes you use to approach musical tasks/problems over a long, long span of time (big hands also being a plus), and requires a sort of Herculean life-or-death drive at the highest levels. Since thought processes are content-driven and since you're not born with thoughts pre-inserted in your mind, I think that musical talent is not innate.

I'm not particularly invested, though. I am a first grade teacher and I'm quite unorthodox in that I believe very little in "intelligence" and very much in the confluence of drive, motivation, hard work and privilege. I've never had a child whom I personally believed to be a "slow" reader, though they may have been regarded as such by other teachers and I've had several with various reading problems that I thought were unrelated to potential aptitude. Some previously very low performing children have performed very well after going through my class. I think it's the result of the fact that I didn't think they were limited by low intelligence, so I looked to solve other problems that were holding them back more methodically. Anyway, it's not directly related, but I think it influences how I think about other domains. I've never felt limited by a lack of talent since I don't believe in it as a make-or-break factor. There's no reason not to practice three hours per day since I can't see a hard-and-fast wall I'm going to hit. Then I find after practicing three hours a day for a really long time I come across as having much more "talent" and ease and natural facility even though I am the same old dull me, just a hard working me.

I don't find it surprising at all that you are a teacher. I am the product of a family of teachers (I am the non-teacher black sheep, lol). Even my girlfriend is a teacher. Every one of them shares a very similar philosophy (as do I).

Originally Posted By: sophial
It's no different for Olympic level athletes. How many runners are out there who train just as hard if not harder than Usain Bolt but never get close to his times? That is not to say that hard work is not necessary or important -- but the person without the underlying attributes will always be at a disadvantage.

I happen to be someone who has reached the pinnacle of an athletic endeavor. Having been heavily invested in more than one sport throughout my life, and having succeeded at the highest level in one of them, I can only tell you what I have seen from every single person with whom I have ever been in competition, or in which sport I have ever competed. That is: he who works hardest, smartest, and longest, wins. I have never, ever found an exception to this rule.



By the time you get to the highest levels of competition, those of only average or below average aptitude have likely already been weeded out, so training will be even more important in differentiating among those who are left, since you' re dealing with the top part of the distribution. I"m not arguing against the importance of hard work, but human aptitudes are not all distributed equally and contribute to performance more than I think you are acknowledging.

Top
#2068388 - 04/22/13 02:05 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: sophial]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5067
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: sophial
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: mermilylumpkin
No, my argument was that vocal "talent" is driven moreso by what you're born with than instrumental "talent" since the voice is an instrument that's built into your body. I was meaning to contradict the person before me who said that no one would deny that X 12 year old on Australian Idol had natural talent, yet here we are debating natural piano talent. In my opinion, pianism comes down mostly to the thought processes you use to approach musical tasks/problems over a long, long span of time (big hands also being a plus), and requires a sort of Herculean life-or-death drive at the highest levels. Since thought processes are content-driven and since you're not born with thoughts pre-inserted in your mind, I think that musical talent is not innate.

I'm not particularly invested, though. I am a first grade teacher and I'm quite unorthodox in that I believe very little in "intelligence" and very much in the confluence of drive, motivation, hard work and privilege. I've never had a child whom I personally believed to be a "slow" reader, though they may have been regarded as such by other teachers and I've had several with various reading problems that I thought were unrelated to potential aptitude. Some previously very low performing children have performed very well after going through my class. I think it's the result of the fact that I didn't think they were limited by low intelligence, so I looked to solve other problems that were holding them back more methodically. Anyway, it's not directly related, but I think it influences how I think about other domains. I've never felt limited by a lack of talent since I don't believe in it as a make-or-break factor. There's no reason not to practice three hours per day since I can't see a hard-and-fast wall I'm going to hit. Then I find after practicing three hours a day for a really long time I come across as having much more "talent" and ease and natural facility even though I am the same old dull me, just a hard working me.

I don't find it surprising at all that you are a teacher. I am the product of a family of teachers (I am the non-teacher black sheep, lol). Even my girlfriend is a teacher. Every one of them shares a very similar philosophy (as do I).

Originally Posted By: sophial
It's no different for Olympic level athletes. How many runners are out there who train just as hard if not harder than Usain Bolt but never get close to his times? That is not to say that hard work is not necessary or important -- but the person without the underlying attributes will always be at a disadvantage.

I happen to be someone who has reached the pinnacle of an athletic endeavor. Having been heavily invested in more than one sport throughout my life, and having succeeded at the highest level in one of them, I can only tell you what I have seen from every single person with whom I have ever been in competition, or in which sport I have ever competed. That is: he who works hardest, smartest, and longest, wins. I have never, ever found an exception to this rule.



By the time you get to the highest levels of competition, those of only average or below average aptitude have likely already been weeded out, so training will be even more important in differentiating among those who are left, since you' re dealing with the top part of the distribution. I"m not arguing against the importance of hard work, but human aptitudes are not all distributed equally and contribute to performance more than I think you are acknowledging.

We took much of that into account earlier in the discussion by suggesting those who do not have at least a competent capacity for learning might be significantly handicapped so that no amount of work may get them to their goal. We did not use this description to indicate that the remainder who were able had any kind of "talent", but that the rest had a significant handicap along the lines of trying to play with two hands, but only having one hand. (Or, perhaps, trying to read without being able to see.)

The remaining fluctuations, many of us had agreed (I think), were small enough to be overcome. And I think the tack of the discussion was leaning towards the fluency and speed with which one overcomes the obstacles, and what variables influenced that outcome.

We still have some disagreement on the nature of the variables--and of course, I certainly don't expect us all to agree on everything smile --and what constitutes evidence of a variable. In this case, "talent" in particular.


More specifically to our conversation, I would like to address a potential discrepancy here:
Quote:
By the time you get to the highest levels of competition, those of only average or below average aptitude have likely already been weeded out

If you mean "aptitude" to mean "potential", then I heartily disagree. If, however, you intended "aptitude" to mean "ability at that moment," then I would immediately agree. I have see every range of competitive potential reach the top level. I've seen below-average people win at the world level because they decided they would not be denied, and worked their tails off 10x harder than anyone else to make sure they won. They started "behind the curve" so-to-speak, but worked hard enough to catch up and surpass those who were ahead of them. (And you can tell when someone like this wins for the first time--it's written all over their face.) So, in that respect, I agree that only the "best" reach that world stage, but I would disagree that previous potential is a determining factor (or even a contributing factor). smile
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

Top
#2068591 - 04/22/13 11:06 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Derulux]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3405
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: sophial
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: mermilylumpkin
No, my argument was that vocal "talent" is driven moreso by what you're born with than instrumental "talent" since the voice is an instrument that's built into your body. I was meaning to contradict the person before me who said that no one would deny that X 12 year old on Australian Idol had natural talent, yet here we are debating natural piano talent. In my opinion, pianism comes down mostly to the thought processes you use to approach musical tasks/problems over a long, long span of time (big hands also being a plus), and requires a sort of Herculean life-or-death drive at the highest levels. Since thought processes are content-driven and since you're not born with thoughts pre-inserted in your mind, I think that musical talent is not innate.

I'm not particularly invested, though. I am a first grade teacher and I'm quite unorthodox in that I believe very little in "intelligence" and very much in the confluence of drive, motivation, hard work and privilege. I've never had a child whom I personally believed to be a "slow" reader, though they may have been regarded as such by other teachers and I've had several with various reading problems that I thought were unrelated to potential aptitude. Some previously very low performing children have performed very well after going through my class. I think it's the result of the fact that I didn't think they were limited by low intelligence, so I looked to solve other problems that were holding them back more methodically. Anyway, it's not directly related, but I think it influences how I think about other domains. I've never felt limited by a lack of talent since I don't believe in it as a make-or-break factor. There's no reason not to practice three hours per day since I can't see a hard-and-fast wall I'm going to hit. Then I find after practicing three hours a day for a really long time I come across as having much more "talent" and ease and natural facility even though I am the same old dull me, just a hard working me.

I don't find it surprising at all that you are a teacher. I am the product of a family of teachers (I am the non-teacher black sheep, lol). Even my girlfriend is a teacher. Every one of them shares a very similar philosophy (as do I).

Originally Posted By: sophial
It's no different for Olympic level athletes. How many runners are out there who train just as hard if not harder than Usain Bolt but never get close to his times? That is not to say that hard work is not necessary or important -- but the person without the underlying attributes will always be at a disadvantage.

I happen to be someone who has reached the pinnacle of an athletic endeavor. Having been heavily invested in more than one sport throughout my life, and having succeeded at the highest level in one of them, I can only tell you what I have seen from every single person with whom I have ever been in competition, or in which sport I have ever competed. That is: he who works hardest, smartest, and longest, wins. I have never, ever found an exception to this rule.



By the time you get to the highest levels of competition, those of only average or below average aptitude have likely already been weeded out, so training will be even more important in differentiating among those who are left, since you' re dealing with the top part of the distribution. I"m not arguing against the importance of hard work, but human aptitudes are not all distributed equally and contribute to performance more than I think you are acknowledging.

We took much of that into account earlier in the discussion by suggesting those who do not have at least a competent capacity for learning might be significantly handicapped so that no amount of work may get them to their goal. We did not use this description to indicate that the remainder who were able had any kind of "talent", but that the rest had a significant handicap along the lines of trying to play with two hands, but only having one hand. (Or, perhaps, trying to read without being able to see.)

The remaining fluctuations, many of us had agreed (I think), were small enough to be overcome. And I think the tack of the discussion was leaning towards the fluency and speed with which one overcomes the obstacles, and what variables influenced that outcome.

We still have some disagreement on the nature of the variables--and of course, I certainly don't expect us all to agree on everything smile --and what constitutes evidence of a variable. In this case, "talent" in particular.


More specifically to our conversation, I would like to address a potential discrepancy here:
Quote:
By the time you get to the highest levels of competition, those of only average or below average aptitude have likely already been weeded out

If you mean "aptitude" to mean "potential", then I heartily disagree. If, however, you intended "aptitude" to mean "ability at that moment," then I would immediately agree. I have see every range of competitive potential reach the top level. I've seen below-average people win at the world level because they decided they would not be denied, and worked their tails off 10x harder than anyone else to make sure they won. They started "behind the curve" so-to-speak, but worked hard enough to catch up and surpass those who were ahead of them. (And you can tell when someone like this wins for the first time--it's written all over their face.) So, in that respect, I agree that only the "best" reach that world stage, but I would disagree that previous potential is a determining factor (or even a contributing factor). smile



We’re obviously seeing this very differently. You seem to be saying that once we take out of the discussion those with a severe enough disability to make the activity impossible, at that point everyone is on a level playing field. I disagree. There is a great deal of data to support the idea that aptitudes are distributed on a normal curve. That does not mean that one cannot improve performance via focused practice, but it may mean that certain physical or mental aptitudes may allow performance at a level that would be very difficult if not impossible for someone who does not have those aptitudes at that level. We used the example of singers who have a physical apparatus for making beautiful sound as one example. If a skill is not terribly difficult or the level of performance required is not extremely high, most people will likely have sufficient aptitude to learn it to competence and “talent” may not play as much of a role as hard work and practice (drawing a square or a circle well, to take an overly simple example). If the skill is at an extremely high and complex level, and the standards for performance also extremely high (painting the Mona Lisa), there will be a greater spread of performance and perhaps a greater advantage to those who both have aptitude for that particular skill and have practiced and worked very hard .

So suppose we took 1000 children who did not play piano at random and taught them similarly and enforced the same program of focused practice. Most would learn, and many would become very good, but do you think they would all come out with equal levels of performance? Would they all be equally proficient or would there be a distribution with some performing much better than others, particularly as the repertoire got more difficult and the standards of performance higher? Very likely, they would fall out on a distribution that is likely at least in part due to underlying aptitude.

What is more consistent with what we observe? We see in classical piano some people demonstrate an uncanny ability at a very young age (Nelson Freire made his recital debut at age 4, I believe) and very few concert pianists did not show unusual ability at a young age. Did they practice? No doubt, but something differentiated them from the large numbers of children who practiced as well. If everyone who put in the time, effort and discipline to practice could become Pollini or Argerich, why aren’t our concert halls not more crowded with artists of this caliber?

So one more time, because you seem to miss this – I strongly believe that focused practice and hard work are necessary ingredients to high level performance but I am not convinced that by themselves they are sufficient to get to the very highest levels without the underlying aptitudes – physical, mental, emotional- for which we use the shorthand term of “talent”. I also strongly believe that individuals can accomplish amazing things and maximize performance through focused, disciplined practice, and that this perspective should not deter that.

Top
#2068664 - 04/22/13 01:36 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5067
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: sophial
We’re obviously seeing this very differently.

Yes, we are, and I am fine with that. I enjoy the discussion anyway. smile

Quote:
You seem to be saying that once we take out of the discussion those with a severe enough disability to make the activity impossible, at that point everyone is on a level playing field.

Not quite. I'm saying it puts them on a level enough playing field that any differences can be overcome. I am also saying I don't call the "differences" "talent". I believe the differences are not innate, but are crafted by who the person is, what the person has done and learned throughout their life (however brief), how the person approaches a task, and with what level of determination (some might substitute the word interest, also).

Quote:
There is a great deal of data to support the idea that aptitudes are distributed on a normal curve.

There certainly is, but the majority of it comes from what happens after birth, not what happens during genetic sequencing. Thus, it is not "innate", but learned.

Quote:
So suppose we took 1000 children who did not play piano at random and taught them similarly and enforced the same program of focused practice. Most would learn, and many would become very good, but do you think they would all come out with equal levels of performance? Would they all be equally proficient or would there be a distribution with some performing much better than others, particularly as the repertoire got more difficult and the standards of performance higher? Very likely, they would fall out on a distribution that is likely at least in part due to underlying aptitude.

We've used this example in varying forms throughout the discussion, and found there to be too many variables to adequately control the experiment. The two greatest variables ignored in this iteration: exposure to music and/or other instruments prior to the experiment, and interest in the task. Suppose one of those children already plays another instrument and can read music fluently. They would naturally appear more "talented" than someone coming in with zero knowledge. Suppose one kid is unnaturally interested and focused. Another kid is not. The focused kid will learn much faster and appear more "talented". Suppose some kid never typed on a computer. Another kid happened to learn how to do it correctly. That skill directly translates to manipulation of the piano keyboard, so that kid will appear more "talented". There are just too many variables to rule them out--but if we somehow could get a real experiment started, this would be a very interesting study, indeed.

Quote:
If everyone who put in the time, effort and discipline to practice could become Pollini or Argerich, why aren’t our concert halls not more crowded with artists of this caliber?

Art is difficult for several reasons. One, it is highly subjective. There are probably hundreds of students in conservatories who can play as well or better than both of those artists, particularly when the artists were the same age. Two, art is, for the most part, slow to accept new members (due to reason number one). People have their 'champions', and nobody could possibly ever be better than them. So, typically, you have to be dead a while before you are finally accepted. Three, the market can't support it. There aren't enough people paying to go to these concerts to have 10,000 top-tier pianists, so those who attract the largest crowds are the ones who get on stage.

Quote:
So one more time, because you seem to miss this –

I didn't miss anything; I simply disagreed. wink


**Edited for grammar. Otherwise, I would sound like an even bigger idiot. grin


Edited by Derulux (04/22/13 01:38 PM)
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

Top
#2068744 - 04/22/13 03:27 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Derulux]
patH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/13
Posts: 511
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: patH
Talent is the ability to turn an innate aptitude into a skill.

I think this is the crux of the debate. I, for one, do not believe we are born able to do much of anything. So, in my case, I would have to disagree with your definition, since I don't think anything is actually "innate".

I disagree. There are "innate", meaning, not learned aptidudes and potentials within each person, and these differ. And we are born with different potentials. You said so yourself, when you said:
Originally Posted By: Derulux
It's more like saying someone who is 7' tall has a better chance of dunking a basketball than someone who is 5' tall.
The difference in size is innate and makes for a different potential for becoming a Basketball player. Therefore, a person who is 1m55 high will have to work much harder to become a great basketball player than a person who is 2m high.
The same is true for track and field. Sophial mentioned Usain Bolt. I remember last year, during the Olympic Games, it was said that because of his limb length, and the proportion of foot and leg length, he had a "natural" disposition for running. And even if another athlete works as hard as Usain Bolt, he will always be outran if he has the built of, say, Warwick Davis.
When you say:
Originally Posted By: Derulux
I've seen below-average people win at the world level because they decided they would not be denied, and worked their tails off 10x harder than anyone else to make sure they won.
You concede that they had to work 10x harder. So their potential was smaller; but they overcame it and turned the potential they had into a skill.

Going back to pianists: Some physical traits that are not learned (like length of fingers and robustness of sinews and muscles) might increase a person's potential to become a pianist. However, we know that there have been pianists with handicaps like bad back (Glenn Gould), or fragile bones (Michel Petrucciani); and they worked hard and found their niche in which they were successful. Maybe pianists with small hands will never be able to play Rachmaninoff; but they might excel in other areas. Or to paraphrase Jeff Goldblum in "Independence Day": If you can't find a way past your physical limitations, find a way around them.
So to answer the OPs question on how to become a virtuoso (maximize one's abilities): Find your potential and explore it. Play to your strengths.
_________________________
Everything is possible, and nothing is sure.
XXXI

Top
#2068763 - 04/22/13 04:03 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: patH]
mermilylumpkin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/08/13
Posts: 121
Quote:
Originally Posted By: Derulux
I've seen below-average people win at the world level because they decided they would not be denied, and worked their tails off 10x harder than anyone else to make sure they won.
You concede that they had to work 10x harder. So their potential was smaller; but they overcame it and turned the potential they had into a skill.


Again, this is more on the pedagogical/neuroscience side but there's some really interesting research on what people believe is responsible for their success and how it impacts achievement. There was a very popular article on the New York Times, which I wish I could find and can't. The upshot was that they did some studies about how parents praise children across various families and cultures. Some of the parents would say to their children after solving a tricky math problem, "Good job! You are so smart!" Other would comment, "You got that one right. I can tell you worked really hard on that!" They experimented with the different types of parent feedback, while ramping up the difficulty of the task. What they found is that children who attributed the success to their intelligence, as a result of the feedback, tended to shut down after the problems began to get really difficult, whereas the ones who were being repeatedly told that they were successful because they were trying hard approached the challenging problems with verve and excitement and curiosity. The hypothesis was that children who attributed their success to intelligence felt like the solutions to the problems was outside of their locus of control and that it would be a negative reflection on their intelligence level if they attempted the difficult problems and were to fail.

Anyway, that's just to say that maybe it's better to believe that you can achieve truly outstanding success if you work as hard as possible, whether there exists a bell curve or not. (I do think there are bell curves, but then, I --personally-- also believe that they are produced by socioeconomics, motivation, family background, attachment and language exposure rather than what we think of as raw intelligence. The IQ test has a pretty storied history if you look at its origins and the creator happened to also be pretty big into eugenics, which makes me think of it as a social construct rather than an objective measure. But that's way off track isn't it? Sorry for the digression )

Top
#2068787 - 04/22/13 04:47 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: patH]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5067
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: patH
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: patH
Talent is the ability to turn an innate aptitude into a skill.

I think this is the crux of the debate. I, for one, do not believe we are born able to do much of anything. So, in my case, I would have to disagree with your definition, since I don't think anything is actually "innate".

I disagree. There are "innate", meaning, not learned aptidudes and potentials within each person, and these differ. And we are born with different potentials. You said so yourself, when you said:
Originally Posted By: Derulux
It's more like saying someone who is 7' tall has a better chance of dunking a basketball than someone who is 5' tall.
The difference in size is innate and makes for a different potential for becoming a Basketball player. Therefore, a person who is 1m55 high will have to work much harder to become a great basketball player than a person who is 2m high.
The same is true for track and field. Sophial mentioned Usain Bolt. I remember last year, during the Olympic Games, it was said that because of his limb length, and the proportion of foot and leg length, he had a "natural" disposition for running. And even if another athlete works as hard as Usain Bolt, he will always be outran if he has the built of, say, Warwick Davis.
When you say:
Originally Posted By: Derulux
I've seen below-average people win at the world level because they decided they would not be denied, and worked their tails off 10x harder than anyone else to make sure they won.
You concede that they had to work 10x harder. So their potential was smaller; but they overcame it and turned the potential they had into a skill.

Going back to pianists: Some physical traits that are not learned (like length of fingers and robustness of sinews and muscles) might increase a person's potential to become a pianist. However, we know that there have been pianists with handicaps like bad back (Glenn Gould), or fragile bones (Michel Petrucciani); and they worked hard and found their niche in which they were successful. Maybe pianists with small hands will never be able to play Rachmaninoff; but they might excel in other areas. Or to paraphrase Jeff Goldblum in "Independence Day": If you can't find a way past your physical limitations, find a way around them.
So to answer the OPs question on how to become a virtuoso (maximize one's abilities): Find your potential and explore it. Play to your strengths.

If not for your recap at the end, I would have disagreed with everything you said, but perhaps not for the obvious reason. smile

There have been several arguments brought up in the thread, and they have sort of co-mingled and coalesced into this complex 'thing' we are now discussing. So, let me pull a few out, identify and address them.

We said earlier that physical attributes could not constitute "talent" because they are merely "there". (This came about during the discussion on "vocal chords".) When I said that we are not born able to do much of anything, I am clearly discussing "skills" as opposed to "height/hand size fifteen years from then". So, your entire physicality argument is really limited to something I didn't actually say, and which we had originally ruled out. wink

Now, if we would like to go back to that discussion, I raised a proposition earlier that, based on this line of thinking, someone born with a Steinway had more "talent" than someone born with a Pleyel. That idea makes no sense to me, so I discarded it (and I think that everyone else did, too). Let us extrapolate that into other endeavors:

Someone who is 7' tall certainly has a propensity for dunking a ball, and perhaps guarding someone shorter, but that says nothing of their eventual skill at playing the game of basketball.

Someone who can reach a 15th has massive hands, but this says nothing about their eventual skill at playing the piano.

Someone who is taller is more likely to see over a crowd, right? What if they're blind? wink

So, you see how I have difficulty saying that a physical attribute could be considered a definition of "talent"? I probably wouldn't put much weight behind "potential" either, using the word that you used, because of the examples above and many others.

Quote:
You concede that they had to work 10x harder. So their potential was smaller; but they overcame it and turned the potential they had into a skill.

This, I did concede, but I would not say their potential was smaller. In physics, potential refers to what a thing 'could' do if its energy were transformed to kinetic. So, a rock sitting on a hill could roll to the bottom. And the measure of kinetic energy in that process is "stored" as potential energy. Well, if someone works 10x harder, but still gets there, then their "potential" was obviously the same. It took more effort to turn the potential energy into kinetic energy, sure, but if they had less potential, they would not have achieved the same results. wink

Originally Posted By: mermilylumpkin
Again, this is more on the pedagogical/neuroscience side but there's some really interesting research on what people believe is responsible for their success and how it impacts achievement. There was a very popular article on the New York Times, which I wish I could find and can't.

Based on your post, I believe this is the article you mean: http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/

If so, then I read it, too. wink It was a person-vs-process (praise) article based on Carol Dweck's research on motivation, specifically on why people succeed and how to foster success.
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

Top
#2068814 - 04/22/13 05:34 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
patH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/13
Posts: 511
Loc: Germany
I guess the problem in our discussion is with the definitions of talent, potential or aptitude.
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Well, if someone works 10x harder, but still gets there, then their "potential" was obviously the same. It took more effort to turn the potential energy into kinetic energy, sure, but if they had less potential, they would not have achieved the same results.
Maybe the potential was the same; but if one person needs less effort to achieve the result, then the "innate aptitude" or whatever we want to call it is higher.

But at least we agree that a good way to achieve success is to work hard and play to your strengths.
_________________________
Everything is possible, and nothing is sure.
XXXI

Top
#2068885 - 04/22/13 08:40 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: patH]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7424
Originally Posted By: patH
I guess the problem in our discussion is with the definitions of talent, potential or aptitude.
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Well, if someone works 10x harder, but still gets there, then their "potential" was obviously the same. It took more effort to turn the potential energy into kinetic energy, sure, but if they had less potential, they would not have achieved the same results.
Maybe the potential was the same; but if one person needs less effort to achieve the result, then the "innate aptitude" or whatever we want to call it is higher.

But at least we agree that a good way to achieve success is to work hard and play to your strengths.


It is deceptive to say the potential is the same if the end result is the same, regardless of effort used to get there, because the amount of effort required affects the overall capacity of the person. For example, the less effort required, the more music the pianist can absorb, and that is often one characteristic of very talented young pianists - they can plow through a lot of music very quickly. And the more music they can absorb, the more cumulative knowledge about the art they will acquire.

I have to say that it strikes me as funny that the talent-deniers seem to believe in an undefined and complex mix of factors that result in a person who has what the rest of us call "talent", and the evidence for that rare mix is just as unquantified as is the evidence for the existence of talent. Exactly why the genetic makeup of a person (i.e., their innate characteristics) must be excluded from that mix is not clear to me.

Top
#2068913 - 04/22/13 09:24 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: patH]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5067
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: patH
I guess the problem in our discussion is with the definitions of talent, potential or aptitude.
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Well, if someone works 10x harder, but still gets there, then their "potential" was obviously the same. It took more effort to turn the potential energy into kinetic energy, sure, but if they had less potential, they would not have achieved the same results.
Maybe the potential was the same; but if one person needs less effort to achieve the result, then the "innate aptitude" or whatever we want to call it is higher.

But at least we agree that a good way to achieve success is to work hard and play to your strengths.

I'm not sure if we take issue with the definition of those things, or the reason people have them. (Actually, as I type that, I realize you're right: it probably is a definition issue.)

On one side, it seems people believe that some individuals are born with this "gift" that allows them to succeed at whatever they do (in this case, piano).

On the other side, it seems people believe that their development and growth has led them to the place they are at, and if this development was fostered in such a way that it leads to facilitated pianistic growth, then it is a product of their life's experience rather than an innate gift.

I fall into the latter category (which, I think, is evident by my posts). It's not that I don't recognize people are born with slightly different genes; it's more so that I recognize that people are able to get where they want to go regardless of genetic makeup. (And that, to me, is the only place where "talent" might be proved to exist.)

I think the last discussion about "potential" was a great subset of the thread: it allowed me to express some of my thoughts about "potential" in a way that I had not been able to previously express.

So, now that we might agree the "potential" is the same, now we still must address the differences that cause some people to learn faster than others.

To me, it seems that the reason people learn faster is because they learned how to learn before/better than someone who learns at a slower pace. (Kind of like the idea of least resistance--those who learn more quickly have found that path of least resistance, while those who learn slower are on a parallel, albeit, resistive path.) Is there any potential for agreement on this idea? smile

Originally Posted By: wr
It is deceptive to say the potential is the same if the end result is the same, regardless of effort used to get there, because the amount of effort required affects the overall capacity of the person. For example, the less effort required, the more music the pianist can absorb, and that is often one characteristic of very talented young pianists - they can plow through a lot of music very quickly. And the more music they can absorb, the more cumulative knowledge about the art they will acquire.

I think this is a very important idea to clear up. Thank you for bringing it to light. I highlighted part of your quote in bold, and I would ask of this conclusion: does it? Or does it simply affect how much time it takes to reach the same capacity? I use as evidence the part highlighted in italics.

There is, of course, no denying the part that is underlined. I think we can all agree on that. My above comments merely address a timing issue, and not a quantitative one. I just wanted to point that out. smile

Quote:
Exactly why the genetic makeup of a person (i.e., their innate characteristics) must be excluded from that mix is not clear to me.

We did not entirely exclude it. What we said was that, if your genetic makeup prevents you from being able to reach the potential of a concert pianist, that you have a handicap akin to missing a hand. The idea there was to prevent exclusion based on physical characteristics, since we already determined that "talent" does not reside within the realm of those "physical characteristics".

If you disagree with this conclusion, I (for one) would be very interested in hearing your arguments. smile
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

Top
#2068974 - 04/22/13 11:37 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3405
Loc: US
Derulux,
You are "determining" conclusions here based on your own presuppositions (ie. that talent is independent of any physical characteristics or genetic endowments other than a disability so severe as to make the performance impossible or close to it) and then assuming that the issue is settled. Your argument is circular: by excluding everything other than learned or acquired skill as a factor in performance, you then argue that performance can only be based on acquired skill! It's a tautology. Sorry, I don't buy it.

I presented my arguments already. I'm not convinced by yours and I don't expect you are by mine either. We'll have to agree to disagree.



Edited by sophial (04/22/13 11:48 PM)

Top
#2069001 - 04/23/13 12:19 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: sophial]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5067
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: sophial
Derulux,
You are "determining" conclusions here based on your own presuppositions (ie. that talent is independent of any physical characteristics or genetic endowments other than a disability so severe as to make the performance impossible or close to it) and then assuming that the issue is settled. Your argument is circular: by excluding everything other than learned or acquired skill as a factor in performance, you then argue that performance can only be based on acquired skill! It's a tautology. Sorry, I don't buy it.

I presented my arguments already. I'm not convinced by yours and I don't expect you are by mine either. We'll have to agree to disagree.


The conclusions I draw are based on conversation. Since no one has refuted the point, or in other cases, accepted the premises, I thought the matter settled. By all means, feel free to provide evidence to the contrary. I'm as happy to entertain logical thoughts as scientific evidence. What I'm afraid I won't entertain is emotion-driven belief. There's no argument against it. "It's what I believe, and that's that." I'm perfectly okay with someone believing in what they believe, but I'm equally okay disagreeing with them when I don't believe the same thing. smile
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

Top
#2069092 - 04/23/13 03:00 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
King Cole Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/25/12
Posts: 33
Loc: Louisiana
Wow this thing is still going on. Right when I was going to start another thread on an interesting topic I've been thinking about... Derelux seems to be taking on all comers. I would say he won the "talent" debate. No one certainly was able to beat my points especially Hakki, Polyphonist and the boys. Indeed better men have tried and failed but this person puts the nail in the coffin... Can we all be Mozarts?
_________________________
"What is genius? To aspire to a lofty aim and to will the means to that aim" -Nietzsche

Top
#2069096 - 04/23/13 03:16 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4152
Originally Posted By: King Cole
Wow this thing is still going on. Right when I was going to start another thread on an interesting topic I've been thinking about... Derelux seems to be taking on all comers. I would say he won the "talent" debate. No one certainly was able to beat my points especially Hakki, Polyphonist and the boys. Indeed better men have tried and failed but this person puts the nail in the coffin... Can we all be Mozarts?


lol
_________________________
To each his own.

Top
#2069106 - 04/23/13 04:06 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5067
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: King Cole
Wow this thing is still going on. Right when I was going to start another thread on an interesting topic I've been thinking about... Derelux seems to be taking on all comers. I would say he won the "talent" debate. No one certainly was able to beat my points especially Hakki, Polyphonist and the boys. Indeed better men have tried and failed but this person puts the nail in the coffin... Can we all be Mozarts?

LOL I doubt that very much, but I'm certainly up for the discussion. smile

Nice article. I absolutely love this line: "...the intuitive teaching methods that became almost universally accepted hindered technical development...."

Couldn't agree more.
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

Top
#2069162 - 04/23/13 07:30 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Derulux]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7424
Originally Posted By: Derulux

Originally Posted By: wr
It is deceptive to say the potential is the same if the end result is the same, regardless of effort used to get there, because the amount of effort required affects the overall capacity of the person. For example, the less effort required, the more music the pianist can absorb, and that is often one characteristic of very talented young pianists - they can plow through a lot of music very quickly. And the more music they can absorb, the more cumulative knowledge about the art they will acquire.

I think this is a very important idea to clear up. Thank you for bringing it to light. I highlighted part of your quote in bold, and I would ask of this conclusion: does it? Or does it simply affect how much time it takes to reach the same capacity? I use as evidence the part highlighted in italics.

There is, of course, no denying the part that is underlined. I think we can all agree on that. My above comments merely address a timing issue, and not a quantitative one. I just wanted to point that out. smile



I really shouldn't have to explain this...

If we were all immortal, it wouldn't make any difference, because time limits would be irrelevant. But since we aren't, it does.

And taking it a bit further, as a subset of our lifespan, the years in which we are young are also limited, and those are the years in which we can learn things at very rapid rates relative to how fast we learn later in life. So the amount of time it takes to learn matters the most when we are learning the most, when we are young.

If it takes pianist A two years to learn a particular Beethoven sonata starting when they are twelve, and it takes pianist B two weeks to learn the same sonata at the same age, the potential capacity of pianist B can be extrapolated to be much greater than that of pianist A. Neither pianist has an eternity in which to accomplish whatever they are going to accomplish.

Quote:
Quote:
Exactly why the genetic makeup of a person (i.e., their innate characteristics) must be excluded from that mix is not clear to me.

We did not entirely exclude it. What we said was that, if your genetic makeup prevents you from being able to reach the potential of a concert pianist, that you have a handicap akin to missing a hand. The idea there was to prevent exclusion based on physical characteristics, since we already determined that "talent" does not reside within the realm of those "physical characteristics".

If you disagree with this conclusion, I (for one) would be very interested in hearing your arguments. smile

"We"?

At any rate, I don't remember anything like what you describe, and I am not going to reread the entire thread trying figure out what it is you might be alluding to. Whatever it is, it seems to be couched in purely negative terms, as if there cannot be any genetic advantages, but only disadvantages.

Since I don't know what you are talking about, I can only guess about its nature, but based on that guess, I will point out that genetic influence can be quite subtle. The field is still in its infancy, as far as what genome sequencing reveals. I had mine sequenced (just the SNPs, actually), and was surprised that studies revealed various things about me that I never would have previously thought of as being "physical" at all.

Top
#2069336 - 04/23/13 12:51 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5067
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: wr
I really shouldn't have to explain this...

If we were all immortal, it wouldn't make any difference, because time limits would be irrelevant. But since we aren't, it does.

And taking it a bit further, as a subset of our lifespan, the years in which we are young are also limited, and those are the years in which we can learn things at very rapid rates relative to how fast we learn later in life. So the amount of time it takes to learn matters the most when we are learning the most, when we are young.

If it takes pianist A two years to learn a particular Beethoven sonata starting when they are twelve, and it takes pianist B two weeks to learn the same sonata at the same age, the potential capacity of pianist B can be extrapolated to be much greater than that of pianist A. Neither pianist has an eternity in which to accomplish whatever they are going to accomplish.

You are taking into account things which have been proven to be wrong. Adults learn very differently from children (for the most part), but they certainly don't learn slower. Here's one great article on the cognitive differences between adults and children:

http://www.exploreadultlearning.co.uk/cognitive-differences-adults-children-learning.html

Here is another from FSU: http://www.fsu.edu/~adult-ed/jenny/learning.html. Read, especially, the paragraph on "Intelligence and Aging." This sentence in particular: "It has been difficult for educators and researchers alike to give up the stereotype that young equals sharp and older means dull."

The biggest problem for adult learners is this one: "The greatest problems with memory for older learners occur with meaningless learning, complex learning, and the learning of new things that require reassessment of old learning. (1991)"

For most adults, they've either learned incorrect piano technique, improper practice routines, or both. Going back and fixing it as an adult requires a reassessment of learning, which is extraordinarily difficult the older we get. However, the ability to learn is still there in spades--unless, of course, you're taking the hypothetical situation of an adult who has never heard music. In that case, you do have a very strong argument. But I don't know a single adult who has never heard music.

Here's an article from eHow about the differences between pedagogy and andragogy: http://www.ehow.com/about_6368845_children-vs_-adult-learning.html. I think this is critical to your assumption that children learn faster. In the realm of teaching piano, most instructors only know one way: pedagogy. The teacher says, and the student does. But for adults, this approach doesn't work. Perhaps that is why so many believe the old paradigm to be true--when, in fact, it is the teacher's failures at understanding adult learning that cause the problem. wink

Quote:
At any rate, I don't remember anything like what you describe, and I am not going to reread the entire thread trying figure out what it is you might be alluding to. Whatever it is, it seems to be couched in purely negative terms, as if there cannot be any genetic advantages, but only disadvantages.

You don't have to. I did provide an executive summary immediately subsequent to the sentence you must have read.

Quote:
Since I don't know what you are talking about

This much, my friend, is quite obvious. And what I mean to say by that, is that it is clear you read for the sake of refuting, rather than for the sake of understanding. wink

Quote:
The field is still in its infancy, as far as what genome sequencing reveals. I had mine sequenced (just the SNPs, actually)

I would actually like to do this when I can afford it. I am very interested in what the results would reveal. There was a great article I read about two years ago on the subject of genetic disorders and the reliability of genetic testing that turned me on to getting "tested". It was a hard copy article I don't have anymore, and I can't remember the name of the author. If I do remember, and you're interested, I'll shoot it over. (Might have been Reader's Digest, but I'm leaning towards one of the scientific journals I read regularly.)

There are many scientists now saying we'll have the entire genome mapped in the next 15-20 years. Wonder what we'll do then...
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

Top
#2069337 - 04/23/13 12:58 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Derulux]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19292
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Derulux
You are taking into account things which have been proven to be wrong. Adults learn very differently from children (for the most part), but they certainly don't learn slower....

Adults most definitely learn certain kinds of things slower and/or much less well and/or almost not at all.

Top
Page 9 of 16 < 1 2 ... 7 8 9 10 11 ... 15 16 >

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
148 registered (accordeur, Atrys, Almaviva, Alex Hernandez, Adam Coleman, 49 invisible), 1608 Guests and 36 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
74248 Members
42 Forums
153580 Topics
2250854 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
This day, last year...
by TwoSnowflakes
Today at 01:17 PM
the government and tuning.
by kc_lee
Today at 12:33 PM
Midi controller with a good keybed under 1000$
by Ov3rload
Today at 11:55 AM
Bsendorfer vs Steingraeber
by Keith D Kerman
Today at 11:51 AM
Keyboard stand
by david_ka
Today at 09:42 AM
(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