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#2070238 - 04/24/13 09:38 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5352
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: wr
I didn't say that adults can't learn, or that they are less intelligent than kids. Just that in terms of learning music, they are slower when old than when young. Ask any classical pianist who was learning advanced music as a teen, and who is now over 60 and is still learning the music of the same level of difficulty, for a comparison.

I think I would first ask them if they're still practicing the same way they did in their teens. Chances are, the answer is yes. To see real results, one much change the process.

Quote:
Well, for one thing, depending on location, it may mean that an entirely different education track opens up.

Ah, got it. When you said "ramifications," I thought you were implying a negative. Thanks for clarifying.

Quote:
Don't be amazed - there's an option not to view people's sigs that can be set in the forum preferences. I've never seen yours.

Seriously? haha I definitely didn't know that!

Quote:
I think that one aspect of musical talent is demonstrated by the capacity one has for the learning and understanding of music. Because our lifetimes are finite, there's a built-in limitation to that capacity. That limitation doesn't limit talent, but it does limit one way in which it is manifested.

Now, this is an interesting idea. I like it, but I'm still trying to work through what it means. When you say "...talent is demonstrated by the capacity one has for the learning and understanding of music," would you also say something like this: Horowitz had a greater capacity to learn and understand music later in his career than when he was a child?
_________________________
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.

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#2070240 - 04/24/13 09:45 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Derulux]
bennevis Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5429
Originally Posted By: Derulux

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.



I'm surprised that if you're an elite sportsman, you believe that great sportspeople are mainly made, not born. The VO2 max that anyone can achieve, given optimum training, is largely genetically determined (assuming no medical help like EPO/blood doping etc). Which is why sportspeople can transfer so easily from one sports to another and achieve elite levels in more than one. In the London Olympics, there were two British athletes who previously competed at the Olympics at totally different sports. Not to mention an elite marathon runner who came out of nowhere, who started training at well after age 30. If you want to be a great sportsperson, choose your parents wisely.....(which is not the same as 'winning', which of course also requires single-minded dedication to training and avoidance of injuries etc).

High achievement in classical music is also transferable between different instruments (e.g. Julia Fischer). The aptitude (or talent) for playing music is also largely genetically determined. The vast majority of pianists will never achieve virtuoso level no matter how much they practise, or how well they're trained/taught.
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2070278 - 04/24/13 10:45 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19593
Loc: New York City
I can't think of a single great pianist where the comments or biography about him said he worked harder, smarter, or longer than the other professional pianists of his time.

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#2070282 - 04/24/13 10:46 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19593
Loc: New York City
I can't think of a single great pianist where the comments or biography about him said he worked harder, smarter, or longer than the other professional pianists of his time.

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#2070298 - 04/24/13 11:01 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: bennevis]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5352
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: Derulux

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.



I'm surprised that if you're an elite sportsman, you believe that great sportspeople are mainly made, not born. The VO2 max that anyone can achieve, given optimum training, is largely genetically determined (assuming no medical help like EPO/blood doping etc). Which is why sportspeople can transfer so easily from one sports to another and achieve elite levels in more than one. In the London Olympics, there were two British athletes who previously competed at the Olympics at totally different sports. Not to mention an elite marathon runner who came out of nowhere, who started training at well after age 30. If you want to be a great sportsperson, choose your parents wisely.....(which is not the same as 'winning', which of course also requires single-minded dedication to training and avoidance of injuries etc).

High achievement in classical music is also transferable between different instruments (e.g. Julia Fischer). The aptitude (or talent) for playing music is also largely genetically determined. The vast majority of pianists will never achieve virtuoso level no matter how much they practise, or how well they're trained/taught.

That's certainly true about VO2 max. However, just because you can suck wind the best doesn't mean you'll be the best at your sport. It certainly helps, yes, but it doesn't determine the winner. Same for piano--having big hands, or being able to move your fingers faster than someone else, may help, but it doesn't determine your level of musicianship. How you train determines that, and that training starts the second you take your first breath (regardless of what the eventual endeavor is).

For example-- someone who eats 5000 calories a day from birth until 5 years old, and weighs 175 pounds, will not be as good a marathon runner as a 5 year-old who ate right and trained right for those five years. Over time, these things can equalize, but the more time you spend doing the wrong thing, the longer it takes to get to the result you want.

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I can't think of a single great pianist where the comments or biography about him said he worked harder, smarter, or longer than the other professional pianists of his time.

That's because of marketing (and subconscious human desire). The community has this unnatural adherence to the belief that one absolutely has to be a "child prodigy", that everything has to be "intuitive", or that everything has to come "easy" if one is to be great in the endeavor. Reality, however, is very detached from that belief.
_________________________
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.

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#2072960 - 04/28/13 05:09 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2472
Loc: France
I was just watching one of the Star Wars movies with my kids, it made me think of this thread! You've got the Jedi, I think it's Liam Neeson, who happens upon little Annikin in a used spaceship lot. He gets out his Force-O-Meter, which goes off the scales. The master Jedi gets Annikin out of slavery and off they go to some planet to apply to the conservatory ... I mean, to Jedi academy.

I agree generally with Derelux's point of view, although not with every point that he has made in this thread.

I think that playing a musical instrument even at a virtuosic level is a democratic quality, it is in the reach of everyone with normal physical and intellectual capacities. Not all things are the same in life, the apparently rare physical (genetic) potential to run 100 meters in under 10 seconds or to press 500 pounds is not comparable to music making which is basically a form of communication between human beings rather than an individual physical challenge. Yitzak Perlman couldn't haven't run as fast as Usian Bolt, but Usain Bolt could have been a virtuoso violinist.

Playing an instrument is more like love, physical sexual love, which is something that everyone can do marvelously when they are moved. And as with love there are a million things that weigh on a person and even turn this most elementary human activity into something apparently unapproachable. And similarly someone who seems completely unable and "untalented" can in another situation be brilliant.

I have a couple of friends, the wife came upon emails of her husband's mistress (of course she didn't know beforehand that her husband was "playing around") and she was astonished to learn that her boring and passive husband was capable of passion!

I believe that genious of all forms is something that is acquired. Einstein wasn't born a genious, he became one by hoisting himself to the level of certain problems that were posed. In any field not all problems demand such an accomplishment; once certain problems are resolved all other activity is necessarily of a lesser category and everyone else is condemned to appear less gifted intellectually.

If one day someone discovers a piano gene it will nonetheless be the case (as with all things genetic) that it is only of statistical relevance, that is to say that most people with this genetic trait will not be exceptional pianists, which is rather obvious, but also that most exceptional pianists will not have this gene. It will remain useless for the piano Jedi to get out their Force-O-Meters in hopes of selecting the best candidates to be the next ____________ ( fill in the blanc as you wish )!

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#2073202 - 04/28/13 11:16 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: landorrano]
cefinow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/10
Posts: 365
Loc: Western NC (US)
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Yitzak Perlman couldn't haven't run as fast as Usian Bolt, but Usain Bolt could have been a virtuoso violinist.


I'm sorry, but... Perlman is not replaceable by any random person. You don't work your way up to a gift like that. It just exists. The hard work follows after, but it's the work of cutting and polishing the diamond.

Whatever talent you have, you get to cut and polish it, but not everybody gets a diamond to work with.

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#2073500 - 04/29/13 02:06 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: cefinow]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5352
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: cefinow
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Yitzak Perlman couldn't haven't run as fast as Usian Bolt, but Usain Bolt could have been a virtuoso violinist.


I'm sorry, but... Perlman is not replaceable by any random person. You don't work your way up to a gift like that. It just exists. The hard work follows after, but it's the work of cutting and polishing the diamond.

Whatever talent you have, you get to cut and polish it, but not everybody gets a diamond to work with.

A gift like what, exactly? Can you quantify it? If you can't (and since it is art and not science, you probably can't wink ), then it is absolutely possible for someone else to be able to accomplish the same things. In such a subjective field, there is no "right" or "wrong". That's one of the beauties of art.

It is, however, also one of the major downfalls when people start trying to have "intellectual" conversations about art. The stuff was meant to be enjoyed, not intellectualized. So, those who seek to find "reasons" usually end up with "feelings" that they actually believe are real reasons, and that is a dangerous and slippery slope.
_________________________
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.

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#2073511 - 04/29/13 02:28 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Derulux]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4892
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Derulux


A gift like what, exactly? Can you quantify it? If you can't (and since it is art and not science, you probably can't wink ), then it is absolutely possible for someone else to be able to accomplish the same things. In such a subjective field, there is no "right" or "wrong". That's one of the beauties of art.


Oh please. You can't give a shred of evidence for your claims. Your "if I can't see it, it doesn't exist" mentality conflicts with your own views. Go ahead, list off every single "variable" it took, in just the right way and at just the right time to make Mozart who he was and not just another musician. I want a detailed report of EXACTLY every variable, or else your views are hypocritical. If you could give me this kind of information, we would be able to apply his situation to anyone else and make them a Mozart.

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#2073512 - 04/29/13 02:28 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Derulux]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19845
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Derulux
A gift like what, exactly? Can you quantify it? If you can't (and since it is art and not science, you probably can't wink ), then it is absolutely possible for someone else to be able to accomplish the same things....

I've been only glancing at this thread since it got into what it has gotten into grin .....but this thing you just said is quite something.

Derulux, you've gotten lost in yourself. smile

Something doesn't have to be "quantifiable" for us to know that it is so. And I'm sure you know that. You've been making up supposed bits of logic as you've gone along, and this tops it.

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#2073654 - 04/29/13 05:20 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Derulux]
cefinow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/10
Posts: 365
Loc: Western NC (US)
Originally Posted By: Derulux
A gift like what, exactly? Can you quantify it?


Yes, yes, Derulux, I can; just to satisfy your desire for proof. I was looking into some research about the nexus doni neurons in the brain (in layman's terms, "gift center") and researchers have been able to photograph it while activated. Accompanying it is a brief audio description of the mechanism of action. Here. Note that this anatomical feature occurs only in the brains of truly, innately gifted individuals.

Uh-oh... look at the time, I should be practicing...

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#2073661 - 04/29/13 05:30 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Mark_C]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5352
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Derulux
A gift like what, exactly? Can you quantify it? If you can't (and since it is art and not science, you probably can't wink ), then it is absolutely possible for someone else to be able to accomplish the same things....

I've been only glancing at this thread since it got into what it has gotten into grin .....but this thing you just said is quite something.

Derulux, you've gotten lost in yourself. smile

Something doesn't have to be "quantifiable" for us to know that it is so. And I'm sure you know that. You've been making up supposed bits of logic as you've gone along, and this tops it.

Yep, there is always a significant chance of that. smile

My main point here is that art is qualitative, not quantitative--as well it should be. Yet, people get into discussions about the quantitative nature of art, and that position not only isn't tenable, but I think it detracts significantly from the art itself.

This has strayed somewhat from the "talent" discussion earlier, and though we've had the discussion many times before, I thought it strong enough to discuss (in part) again, while keeping it somewhat separate from the "talent" issue.

Originally Posted By: cefinow
Originally Posted By: Derulux
A gift like what, exactly? Can you quantify it?


Yes, yes, Derulux, I can; just to satisfy your desire for proof. I was looking into some research about the nexus doni neurons in the brain (in layman's terms, "gift center") and researchers have been able to photograph it while activated. Accompanying it is a brief audio description of the mechanism of action. Here. Note that this anatomical feature occurs only in the brains of truly, innately gifted individuals.

Uh-oh... look at the time, I should be practicing...

hahahahahahahaha well played, sir. laugh
_________________________
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.

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#2073700 - 04/29/13 06:28 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: cefinow]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2472
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: cefinow
the nexus doni neurons in the brain


Nexus doni! Great stuff! Neurons ... and in the brain at that! This makes the whole thread worthwhile! Even gives a motivation to keep it going ...

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#2073759 - 04/29/13 08:06 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: landorrano]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4892
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: cefinow
the nexus doni neurons in the brain


Nexus doni! Great stuff! Neurons ... and in the brain at that! This makes the whole thread worthwhile! Even gives a motivation to keep it going ...


I have been saying this the whole time.

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#2074959 - 05/01/13 11:24 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Derulux]
Old Man Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/12
Posts: 778
Loc: Michigan, USA
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: Old Man
One cannot become a prodigy. Either you are or you aren't.

What makes you a prodigy? Is there a time-limit on this?

Yes. I think the human gestation period is approximately 9 months - give or take.

Originally Posted By: Derulux
I agree that that is the presumption about prodigies. Would you consider it factual? In terms of the mantle of "greatness", I think that is more marketing/PR than actual ability. I've never put much stock in it, largely because it requires the consensus (read: "groupthink") of many people. I suppose one could equate "greatness" with "famous" (not to be confused with "infamous"). It is difficult to acquire the mantle without the fame, though a better pianist one might be. (IMO)

So Horowitz, Rubinstein, Ax, Perahia, Gould, Sokolov, Zimerman, etc. are simply products of "groupthink", or expert marketing? They're merely "famous"?? Surely you jest.

Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: JoelW
(Talent exists) In the brain...

I can work with this. You must believe, then, that it is genetic? Otherwise, it would be learned, and talent is, by definition, "innate", not "learned".

If that is so, why aren't the great virtuosos the product of great virtuosos? That is, why wasn't Horowitz's mother/father a great virtuoso? Or Rachmaninoff? Or Kissin? Or Argerich? Or, well, virtually every single virtuoso out there. Pick any field--virtually none of the "prodigies" are the product of "prodigies". If it was all about the ingredients, there should be at least a significant percentage of examples.. no?

I can't believe you wrote this. Can you not distinguish between "innate", "naturally gifted", "genetic" from "inherited"? We don't necessarily "inherit" the talents of our parents, and we may well be endowed with gifts our parents don't have. Many parents with little or no education have produced geniuses, and many brilliant parents have produced children who have only average intelligence, or are even developmentally disabled.

I'm a prime example. My oldest son graduated from U. of Chicago in physics, and was the first (maybe only) undergrad to be allowed to spend a year at CERN. He wrote software for "collectors", which measure debris from particle bombardments, and he graduated in 3 years. Now, let's look at mom and dad. Dad could maybe pull a B or B+ in math and science if he put in an inordinate number of hours studying, and mom barely got through high school because of her struggles with math (yet she aced all the "right brain" subjects").

So how would you explain my situation? Are mom and dad just lazy asses? My son studied very little, from the time he was 5 until he went off to college. He didn't have to, because he had a natural gift for math and science. And if you think he loved math and science, he didn't. He majored in physics because it was something he was good at, and he thought he'd try it out. But as soon as he graduated, he immediately went into software development (his true love), where he remains to this day. He couldn't care less about math and science.

This personal example would seem to contradict nearly everything you've said. A kid with only above-average parents sails through math and science his entire life, with minimal study time, and minimal interest in the subject matter. Where exactly does all this hard work and ambition and nurturing fit into this equation?

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#2074988 - 05/01/13 12:02 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Old Man]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4892
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Old Man
This personal example would seem to contradict nearly everything you've said.


As would my personal example had I gave it. I won't go there though.

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#2075048 - 05/01/13 02:09 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Derulux]
Steve Chandler Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2780
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: cefinow
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Yitzak Perlman couldn't haven't run as fast as Usian Bolt, but Usain Bolt could have been a virtuoso violinist.


I'm sorry, but... Perlman is not replaceable by any random person. You don't work your way up to a gift like that. It just exists. The hard work follows after, but it's the work of cutting and polishing the diamond.

Whatever talent you have, you get to cut and polish it, but not everybody gets a diamond to work with.

A gift like what, exactly? Can you quantify it? If you can't (and since it is art and not science, you probably can't wink ), then it is absolutely possible for someone else to be able to accomplish the same things. In such a subjective field, there is no "right" or "wrong". That's one of the beauties of art.

There are any types of intelligence and each may impact one's artistic abilities. For example a very small number of people have memories that allow them to remember every day of their lives. While there are tricks anyone can learn and use to improve their memory the fact remains that the number of people who can remember every day of their lives is very small and most of them came by the ability without learning any memory tricks. Certainly you'd agree that having a great memory allows one to be a better pianist (all other factors being equal with a great pianist).

Other types of intelligence that impact piano playing would be ear/hearing ability (doesn't everyone know at least one person who's tone deaf?), fine motor skills (aren't some people just naturally more coordinated than others?). I'm sure there are many more aspects of intelligence that bear upon pianism and/or musicianship in general, this addresses the question at only a macro level. I can't imagine that you think everyone starts with the same intellectual abilities, the evidence to the contrary is everywhere. I would say that most people have superior ability in some aspects of intelligence

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#2075165 - 05/01/13 05:21 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: JoelW]
Old Man Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/12
Posts: 778
Loc: Michigan, USA
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: Old Man
This personal example would seem to contradict nearly everything you've said.


As would my personal example had I gave it. I won't go there though.

That's because you're smarter than I am. grin Definitely TMI, but sometimes firsthand knowledge can be more convincing. Although I doubt that'll be true in this case.

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#2075233 - 05/01/13 07:37 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Old Man]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19845
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Old Man
....firsthand knowledge can be more convincing. Although I doubt that'll be true in this case.

I'm convinced of this. grin

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#2075237 - 05/01/13 07:44 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
hujidong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 64
Loc: Hawaii
But if you dig deep enough you'll find coal, and if you polish it well enough you can make diamonds! It's all just guesses anyways.


Edited by hujidong (05/01/13 07:46 PM)

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#2075253 - 05/01/13 08:03 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Mark_C]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4892
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Old Man
....firsthand knowledge can be more convincing. Although I doubt that'll be true in this case.

I'm convinced of this. grin


I'm convinced that even the most convincing neuroscientist in the world couldn't convince Derulux. whistle


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#2075265 - 05/01/13 08:32 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: JoelW]
Old Man Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/12
Posts: 778
Loc: Michigan, USA
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Old Man
....firsthand knowledge can be more convincing. Although I doubt that'll be true in this case.

I'm convinced of this. grin


I'm convinced that even the most convincing neuroscientist in the world couldn't convince Derulux. whistle

Joel, you are correct. But I can forgive him, because he's one of the most thoughtful and well-reasoned (most of the time) people in this forum.

And then there's that other thing . . .

Click to reveal..
He's a martial arts expert, and can kick my ass.

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#2075266 - 05/01/13 08:34 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Old Man]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4892
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Old Man
He's a martial arts expert, and can kick my ass.


Really? That's awesome.

Which martial art do you know, Derulux?

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#2075291 - 05/01/13 09:56 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: JoelW]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19845
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: JoelW
I'm convinced that even the most convincing neuroscientist in the world couldn't convince Derulux. whistle

We know that for a fact, because said person tried. ha

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#2077882 - 05/05/13 08:47 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5352
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Old Man
Originally Posted By: Derulux
[quote=Old Man]
One cannot become a prodigy. Either you are or you aren't.

What makes you a prodigy? Is there a time-limit on this?


Yes. I think the human gestation period is approximately 9 months - give or take.

So, you are saying that, either you are a prodigy at birth or you are not? Unless I misunderstand you, I'm not even sure Kissin made the cutoff on that one.. wink

Originally Posted By: Old Man
So Horowitz, Rubinstein, Ax, Perahia, Gould, Sokolov, Zimerman, etc. are simply products of "groupthink", or expert marketing? They're merely "famous"?? Surely you jest.

Not at all; I simply think it folly to believe that only those super-famous people are good at what they do--or are even the "best" at what they do. They are perceived as the best because they are the most well-known. And I'm not going to say they aren't darn good. They are. But there may be a complete unknown out there who's better.

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I can't believe you wrote this. Can you not distinguish between "innate", "naturally gifted", "genetic" from "inherited"? We don't necessarily "inherit" the talents of our parents, and we may well be endowed with gifts our parents don't have. Many parents with little or no education have produced geniuses, and many brilliant parents have produced children who have only average intelligence, or are even developmentally disabled.

The definition provided was, "Talent exists in the brain." This, to me, indicates genetics. But, let's look at your example.

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I'm a prime example. My oldest son graduated from U. of Chicago in physics, and was the first (maybe only) undergrad to be allowed to spend a year at CERN. He wrote software for "collectors", which measure debris from particle bombardments, and he graduated in 3 years. Now, let's look at mom and dad. Dad could maybe pull a B or B+ in math and science if he put in an inordinate number of hours studying, and mom barely got through high school because of her struggles with math (yet she aced all the "right brain" subjects").

He's not the only one. I can name two others, one of which was my own cousin. He may, however, have been the first. That, I could not say. Incidentally, CERN also offers a summer research program for undergrads, but I don't include that because it doesn't sound like the same thing you're talking about. I'm assuming your son worked on the Higgs project? If so, that's very cool work, indeed. smile

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So how would you explain my situation? Are mom and dad just lazy asses?

Okay, this made me laugh. I suppose you're expecting me to say, "There's always that chance...?" laugh

Quote:
This personal example would seem to contradict nearly everything you've said. A kid with only above-average parents sails through math and science his entire life, with minimal study time, and minimal interest in the subject matter. Where exactly does all this hard work and ambition and nurturing fit into this equation?

I'm not sure that it does contradict anything I've said. (It may; I definitely have to concede that. I'm just not sure, so I'm continuing to discuss. smile ) I didn't study longer than an hour for any exam I ever took, college physics finals included. I suppose in that respect, I know exactly what your son experienced--or at least something very similar. But I did take a strong interest in "learning" from a very young age. So, whether it was an endeavor I particularly enjoyed or not, I tended to learn it. And much like anything else--the more you know, the stronger your foundation, the easier you learn future things. For me, I can say that I learned things faster as I got older because I had already learned the other things when I was younger, so that learning compounded. Perhaps a part of his interest was in an area that facilitated the particular learning which you have described -- software development is tied very closely to the subjects in which he excelled (in terms of which parts of the brain we use for those endeavors).

I think that this would be an interesting study to conduct, one in which I would even like to participate (though I think I might be slightly past the age at which I would be able to participate). smile

Originally Posted By: Steve Chandler
There are any types of intelligence and each may impact one's artistic abilities. For example a very small number of people have memories that allow them to remember every day of their lives. While there are tricks anyone can learn and use to improve their memory the fact remains that the number of people who can remember every day of their lives is very small and most of them came by the ability without learning any memory tricks. Certainly you'd agree that having a great memory allows one to be a better pianist (all other factors being equal with a great pianist).

Steve, thanks for joining -- and great post! I've heard of similar cases with synesthesia. There was a gentleman not long ago who was able to repeat pi out to 25,000 digits after hearing it only once. Now, I consider myself especially gifted for never having forgotten an anniversary, but that's a lot of digits even for me. wink

Quote:
Other types of intelligence that impact piano playing would be ear/hearing ability (doesn't everyone know at least one person who's tone deaf?), fine motor skills (aren't some people just naturally more coordinated than others?). I'm sure there are many more aspects of intelligence that bear upon pianism and/or musicianship in general, this addresses the question at only a macro level. I can't imagine that you think everyone starts with the same intellectual abilities, the evidence to the contrary is everywhere. I would say that most people have superior ability in some aspects of intelligence

It seems what I'm saying is evolving as each person adds a great chunk to the thread -- which is, perhaps, why I like the discussion so much. I would probably have to say that there is a genetic factor involved, since I believe in the bio-psycho-social model of development. However, I do believe the genetic factors, for the majority of people, to be minimal, and couldn't possibly encompass the entire realm of "talent". (Based on most responses, I would say most people would disagree with that idea.) Secretariat, for example, won the Triple Crown for many reasons, one of which being that he had an abnormally large heart that pumped more blood through his body than a normal horse. But others had won the Triple Crown before, and as far as I know, all the previous records have been broken. So, it may have helped Secretariat win, but didn't help the others. Shouldn't that indicate that it wasn't necessarily a significant factor?

Originally Posted By: Old Man
Definitely TMI, but sometimes firsthand knowledge can be more convincing. Although I doubt that'll be true in this case.

I'm not saying it isn't intriguing evidence of something. But I think we'd have to study it longer to determine what factors were involved. Your argument suggests that, because you couldn't identify the variables involved, the answer was "talent". I am most assuredly not saying I can identify all of the variables. All I am saying is that I would want to rule all of them out before considering "talent". wink

Originally Posted By: hujidong
But if you dig deep enough you'll find coal, and if you polish it well enough you can make diamonds! It's all just guesses anyways.

I think the best argument against this so far has been: if you don't start with coal, you can't get a diamond. wink

Of course, we can now synthetically produce diamonds, but I'm not sure where that falls in piano playing. Perhaps, because we've now identified what technical elements are involved in playing, the "natural" or "innate" abilities of the learner are minimized?

Originally Posted By: JoelW
I'm convinced that even the most convincing neuroscientist in the world couldn't convince Derulux.

I'm convinced the most convincing neuroscientist in the world wouldn't try, and would enjoy exploring the scientific method with me -- unless, of course, they already knew the answer. In which case I'd probably bore them. smile


Old Man- thank you for the kind words. I do my best to avoid sounding trite, though I know I sometimes like to explore ideas that run contrary to convention or popular theory.

JoelW- Quite a few, actually. I've got 25 years of experience in the martial arts, and for the sake of brevity, I've learned something like 17 styles to date. Mostly Korean and Japanese. I've yet to conquer the Chinese arts-- which I would really like to do. They have always interested me. Are you familiar with any?

Originally Posted By: Mark C
We know that for a fact, because said person tried.

Mark, you're a neuro-nut? I had no idea! That's pretty cool, if true.. 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.

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#2077929 - 05/05/13 09:58 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
JoelW Offline
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Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4892
Loc: USA
^ That might be the longest post on this entire site.

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#2077932 - 05/05/13 10:06 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5352
Loc: Philadelphia
Aye, I did my best to cut it down. Apologies. I think I even lost track of what I was saying half way through. laugh
_________________________
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.

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#2077940 - 05/05/13 10:18 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
Schubertslieder Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/13
Posts: 373
Loc: Michigan, USA
It was not long enough in my opinion. grin
_________________________
Charles Peck (American)--Metropolitan
Debussy--various pieces
Grieg--various pieces

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#2078312 - 05/06/13 01:10 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Derulux]
Old Man Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/12
Posts: 778
Loc: Michigan, USA
Ha, ha, I thought this thread was pronounced dead. Then Dr. Derulux returns to resuscitate it. crazy

Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: Old Man
Yes. I think the human gestation period is approximately 9 months - give or take.
So, you are saying that, either you are a prodigy at birth or you are not? Unless I misunderstand you, I'm not even sure Kissin made the cutoff on that one.. wink

Yes. The assets are in place at birth. That's the definition of a prodigy. Obviously the assets must be deployed at some point (i.e. exposure to a piano, lessons, positive reinforcement from parents, etc.), but once deployed, the gift will quickly become apparent and the child will progress far more rapidly than a normal child.

Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: Old Man
So Horowitz, Rubinstein, Ax, Perahia, Gould, Sokolov, Zimerman, etc. are simply products of "groupthink", or expert marketing? They're merely "famous"?? Surely you jest.
Not at all; I simply think it folly to believe that only those super-famous people are good at what they do--or are even the "best" at what they do. They are perceived as the best because they are the most well-known. And I'm not going to say they aren't darn good. They are. But there may be a complete unknown out there who's better.

I agree with you. In fact, there may be thousands who are as good or better, but haven't risen to the fore, and may never rise to the fore. I thought you were saying the famous ones were only famous, and were somehow undeserving. My misunderstanding.

Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: Old Man
I'm a prime example. My oldest son graduated from U. of Chicago in physics, and was the first (maybe only) undergrad to be allowed to spend a year at CERN.
He's not the only one. I can name two others, one of which was my own cousin. He may, however, have been the first. That, I could not say. Incidentally, CERN also offers a summer research program for undergrads, but I don't include that because it doesn't sound like the same thing you're talking about. I'm assuming your son worked on the Higgs project? If so, that's very cool work, indeed. smile

Don't know about the Higgs project. This all happened in 1992. All I know is that UC told him that only grad students were allowed to go to CERN (a UC rule, not a CERN rule), but they wanted to make an exception in his case, and asked him if he was interested. Apparently he had uncovered various programming errors in some of the software written by his physicist professors. They were so grateful for rescuing their calculations that they wanted him doing the same thing at CERN. So I don't think they recruited him to work on the Higgs boson. They wanted his programming skills, so that they could focus on Higgs. Regardless, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that he never regretted accepting. (Plus, it helped him decide that he really didn't want a career in physics!) grin

Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: Old Man
This personal example would seem to contradict nearly everything you've said. A kid with only above-average parents sails through math and science his entire life, with minimal study time, and minimal interest in the subject matter. Where exactly does all this hard work and ambition and nurturing fit into this equation?

I'm not sure that it does contradict anything I've said. (It may; I definitely have to concede that. I'm just not sure, so I'm continuing to discuss. smile ) I didn't study longer than an hour for any exam I ever took, college physics finals included. I suppose in that respect, I know exactly what your son experienced--or at least something very similar. But I did take a strong interest in "learning" from a very young age. So, whether it was an endeavor I particularly enjoyed or not, I tended to learn it. And much like anything else--the more you know, the stronger your foundation, the easier you learn future things. For me, I can say that I learned things faster as I got older because I had already learned the other things when I was younger, so that learning compounded. Perhaps a part of his interest was in an area that facilitated the particular learning which you have described -- software development is tied very closely to the subjects in which he excelled (in terms of which parts of the brain we use for those endeavors).

I think that this would be an interesting study to conduct, one in which I would even like to participate (though I think I might be slightly past the age at which I would be able to participate). smile

Aha! I didn't need to provide any personal example of my own, because you yourself are an example! "I didn't study longer than an hour for any exam I ever took, college physics finals included." Can't you see that you too are "gifted"? Most of us struggle with these subjects, and for many, it wouldn't matter if we studied for hours, days, weeks, or months. We might improve, but we will never be a physicist, a mathematician, etc., no matter how hard we work at it. It's not in our DNA.

I think the problem, Derulux, is that those who have a gift, whether in science, math, or music, have no idea they have a gift. It comes as naturally to them as walking, talking, or even breathing, so they don't see themselves as special, and figure it's all because they "worked so hard" at it. By your own admission you excelled at math and science without breaking a sweat.

At least now I think I better understand why you struggle with this concept of innate, natural born ability. Because of the relative ease with which you absorb math and science, you've wrongly attributed your facility to "hard work, ambition, etc.", and you're extrapolating that anyone could do the same.

But you'd be flat out wrong. We are not all born "Etch-A-Sketches", waiting to be scribbled on. A few lucky ones are actually born i-Pads! laugh

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#2078317 - 05/06/13 01:18 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Old Man]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3667
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Very well said, Old Man. thumb

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