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#2065143 - 04/15/13 07:34 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: ChopinAddict]
JoelW Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4158
Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
It is a very old debate called nature vs. nurture.


But it's not an either or. It's both.
_________________________
To each his own.

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#2065144 - 04/15/13 07:36 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: JoelW]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6077
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
It is a very old debate called nature vs. nurture.


But it's not an either or. It's both.


I certainly agree!
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#2065152 - 04/15/13 08:00 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: ChopinAddict]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7427
Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
It is a very old debate called nature vs. nurture.


Well, yes, but what we have here is someone asking for evidence that the "nature" part even exists!!

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#2065163 - 04/15/13 08:25 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19099
Loc: New York City
When Yehudi Menuhin played some concerts at a very young age no one made comments like "he must have practiced a lot or his parents enocuraged him or he had fantastic teachers". They said things like "An angel came down from heaven".

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#2065164 - 04/15/13 08:26 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19099
Loc: New York City
Double post deleted


Edited by pianoloverus (04/15/13 09:40 PM)

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#2065171 - 04/15/13 08:52 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: JoelW]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5067
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Derulux,

The variables you speak of are not sufficient by themselves for the making of a Mozart.

I have spoken of maybe five or six of five thousand or more variables. Every single moment of every day, a new variable may be added. And since Mozart died over 200 years ago, it is impossible to say for certain which variables impacted his life. I'm all for discussing the topic, but this is borderline ridiculous. wink


Your stance is what's ridiculous, to be blunt.

I don't mind bluntness. smile

My question, which has yet to be adequately explained, is why? No one who believes in "talent" has been able to provide any examples of concrete proof of the existence of "talent". Why, then, is my stance the one that seems ridiculous? wink


I mentioned the human brain many posts back, to which you replied with something along the lines of "I think all of our brains are basically wired the same". That's like saying our genetic makeups are all the same. The brain is an incredibly complex thing with room for a lot of variation. Different personalities, different tastes, different interests, different TALENTS... for you to just write it off as nothing important is just willful ignorance.

We aren't all the same. Get used to that fact. Talent does exist and it lies in the wiring of the individual's brain. Everything about anyone lies in their brain.

Yeah, I remember that. I'm not sure I'm the one who responded with that remark. We are basically the same as chimpanzees, too, with very few differences--yet those differences are critical.

If we want to side-track into a discussion of brain chemistry, intelligence, etc, I'm okay doing that. But let's start another thread for it. I think trying to discuss "talent" alongside those other topics might be difficult to follow.

Unless you are considering "talent" to mean "intelligence" or "brain chemistry", in which case I think you may have much more solid ground on which to stand. I'd probably even support that proposition, depending on the angle you took.

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Derulux
My question, which has yet to be adequately explained, is why? No one who believes in "talent" has been able to provide any examples of concrete proof of the existence of "talent". Why, then, is my stance the one that seems ridiculous? wink
I don't think your stance is ridiculous but the way talent is usually considered makes it almost impossible to provide concrete proof for it. OTOH I think so many people believe in that talent(as in "born with it")exists because the greatest pianists play so well at such a young age that even if they had every other advantage of the type you've mentioned it would not be enough to explain their greatness.

I didn't suppose you thought that. I think our conversation has been pretty academic and enlightening, at least for me.

I think these "greats" have a unique combination of intelligence, approach, and determination that gets them where they want to go. I don't classify this as some "innate" thing they've had since birth, but rather something they learn and develop as they grow. One possible exception is genetics--which I partially conceded to Joel--but I'm not sure I would necessarily classify genetics as "talent". Is this a meaningful direction to explore? If so, I'd be happy to do so..

Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Derulux


My question, which has yet to be adequately explained, is why? No one who believes in "talent" has been able to provide any examples of concrete proof of the existence of "talent". Why, then, is my stance the one that seems ridiculous? wink



It is somewhat like asking for concrete evidence of "love" or "beauty". There may be none, but yet, many people mysteriously act as if those things exist.

Whether or not there is concrete "scientific" evidence for a concept that is intangible but which is still evident to a reasonably observant person who sees it (especially if it is a person who is trained in the area in which it appears) is probably not critical to its existence.

And too, if one could provide evidence that talent exists, what would that evidence look like? In previous threads here regarding talent, IIRC, some writings and studies on the subject that were cited seemed more controversial than satisfactory.

I'm glad you brought up love. Hasn't that been proven to be a base chemical reaction in the brain? I think there was one (hopefully facetious) study that linked "love" to "attachment disorder". I'll have to find it.. not for the sake of a serious discussion, but for humor.

On a more serious note, I wish I could say what that evidence would look like. As yet, I've seen nothing that could qualify, so I can't even say "we're on the right track here." Maybe the genetics discussion is heading in the right direction? I'm not sure..?

Originally Posted By: Old Man
I'm very late to this party, but as another one of your many admirers, Derulux, I'm astounded by your statements.

Thank you. Yes, I know--sometimes I say some pretty unpopular things for the sake of academic discourse. wink

Quote:
All of the other things you've mentioned are important, but without innate musical talent, these thousands of variables will never produce a great pianist, or even a very good pianist.

You seem to demand some sort of proof of its existence, but talent falls into the category of "I know it when I see it", and doesn't easily lend itself to measurement or simple proofs. But I think correlation works pretty well. How many of the world's great pianists were not prodigies? Can you point to an example of someone who struggled for 10, 15, 20 years, and through sheer determination, and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, finally reached the pinnacle of their art? A prodigy is one who displays exceptional ability or talent at a very young age, talent that is so extraordinary as to be unexplainable by the factors you have cited. What four, five, or six-year old child could possibly practice the 4-8 hours a day that even many of the greatest pianists spend practicing? You'd be lucky to get 30-60 minutes from one so young. Yet such young pianists do exist, are quickly recognized as prodigies, and progress at a rate far beyond their peers, regardless of their practice regimen.

So how would you explain such prodigies? Do you really believe it's all environmental? If you do, I must strongly disagree.

I think you bring up some very good points here, but I'm not sure that they help you. When we consider "great" pianists, we are also technically considering "popular" pianists (in that they are well-known). For one to reach the performance stage and gain that popularity, one has a MUCH better chance by starting at a young age-- from a sheer marketing perspective. So, I'm not sure that even that could be considered an isolated incidence.

I'm a little short on time with this response--I would like to get into more details with you. But I quite literally have to run out the door. I'll return later. smile

Update:

Thanks for the patience, and sorry I had to run out mid-reply. I like very much the, "I know it when I see it," idea because it implies that there is an actual reason, but that we don't consciously recognize what that reason is. This is the first step towards realizing that there is something special going on. Unfortunately, I think most people stop there, call it "talent", and then call it a day. But we can dig so much deeper--we can discover exactly what it is we "see". Perhaps, if it were to seem interesting enough, we could start a thread to analyze the skills and background of some famous pianists and see if we can't find some common denominators? I should think this might be an intriguing academic study for those interested.

Quote:
Can you point to an example of someone who struggled for 10, 15, 20 years, and through sheer determination, and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, finally reached the pinnacle of their art?

I would argue most famous pianists fall into this category. How old was Yuja Wang the first time she touched the keys? I think we can say she is just now coming into the pinnacle of her art, and broaching the horizon of broader fame. Of course, her musicality will evolve and change as a result of her experiences and maturity. But she's certainly well on her way. According to the bio I have on her, she started at six. She's now 26. That means, she's worked her tail off, and persevered for 20 long years to get where she is today.

I think what we see is a very young, 26 year old "prodigy" pianist, who is just so "talented", the industry couldn't deny her. But what I tend to see is someone who started on the right track at six, worked her tail off for twenty long years, made the right industry connections, had a little luck, and broke onto the music scene after a long road of sheer perseverance and determination.

We have some darn good players in this forum. They may never be as famous as some of the biggest names, but that doesn't mean they aren't every bit as good a pianist. And while I don't want to speak for any of them, I'm sure many of them would agree they have their own struggles at the keys.

Quote:
So how would you explain such prodigies? Do you really believe it's all environmental? If you do, I must strongly disagree.

I believe very strongly in the bio-psycho-social model. I've presented already that I believe we are not discussing failures in the bio model, because I qualify that under "missing a hand," or some other kind of handicap that prevents one from playing "normally" or without "undue difficulty".

That leaves us with psycho-social factors in determining how these "prodigies" come about. I believe (very basically) that these children enjoy what they are doing so much, that for the most part, they do not want to do anything else. Their family/friends environments enforce a strict and correct practice regimen that develops their enthusiasm into solid results. And they have such a desire for success that they will accept nothing less. They learn how to learn at a very young age, and adhere to that winning formula throughout their careers.


Edited by Derulux (04/16/13 01:07 AM)
_________________________
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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#2065342 - 04/16/13 03:37 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Derulux]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

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

I'm glad you brought up love. Hasn't that been proven to be a base chemical reaction in the brain? I think there was one (hopefully facetious) study that linked "love" to "attachment disorder". I'll have to find it.. not for the sake of a serious discussion, but for humor.

On a more serious note, I wish I could say what that evidence would look like. As yet, I've seen nothing that could qualify, so I can't even say "we're on the right track here." Maybe the genetics discussion is heading in the right direction? I'm not sure..?



There are all kinds of theories and research about love and brain chemistry, some more conclusive than others, and none quite covering all types of love. For example, I don't think anyone so far has tried to figure out the brain chemistry involved when I say I love the C# major P&F from WTC I.

But anyway, AFAIK, none of the researchers have claimed that their work is evidence that love, heretofore only a myth, actually exists.

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#2065348 - 04/16/13 04:38 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
King Cole Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/25/12
Posts: 33
Loc: Louisiana
Well I have more talent than JoelW and Polyphonist put together.

The notion of talent isn't useless because it does or does not exist. Its useless or as Hakki puts its "not meaningful" because what is the usefulness in telling a student they need talent? You guys can't possibly be teachers because my goodness don't let a beginner struggle in front of your eyes because you'd promptly kick them out the door and hang a sign on your door saying "Talent Only" making them feel like a defective member of the species. Lack of talent shouldn't discourage a human being from working hard to become an excellent musician but saying it's necessary for success can prevent people from working hard and its psychologically destructive. Every time a student hits a road block they'll think about how untalented they are.

Who cares if talent exists? All you can do is all you can do but all you can do is good enough. You don't tell someone they are NOT talented because that can be discouraging and you don't tell someone they ARE talented because that might make them refrain from working hard. The thought of talent shouldn't take away your dreams. It makes me sick when I hear people tell other people what they can and can not do. My teacher was told he didn't have the hands of a pianist and years later he becomes a Bosendorfer artist traveling all around the world.

Read Malcolm Gladwell's book on Outliers it'll shed some light on TALENTED PEOPLE

I'm really done with this thread because I've learned one thing: Don't ask for advice here at piano world (and especially encouragement) because if you even have to ask for advice you probably don't have the talent: "And don't worry we are telling you what you need to hear and truth hurts but us noble righteous holders of the truth are here to help. You want to do what? Did you start when you were 4 years old? Oh you didn't, well I'm sorry you have no chance. You can be a mediocre pianist however. Maybe you can work to play at a sleazy strip club if you really push it."
_________________________
"What is genius? To aspire to a lofty aim and to will the means to that aim" -Nietzsche

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#2065359 - 04/16/13 05:57 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7427
Originally Posted By: King Cole

Read Malcolm Gladwell's book on Outliers it'll shed some light on TALENTED PEOPLE



We already ripped Gladwell to shreds here some time ago - check the archives. And it's not just us snooty types here at PW - even the researchers whose work Gladwell used for his ideas have said he misrepresented their work.

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#2065408 - 04/16/13 09:06 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
JoelW Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4158
Originally Posted By: King Cole
Well I have more talent than JoelW and Polyphonist put together.


Just because Polyphonist and I disagree with your view doesn't warrant such a comment. I'd bet dollars to donuts I could outplay you with one hand. smile

Quote:
Who cares if talent exists? All you can do is all you can do but all you can do is good enough. You don't tell someone they are NOT talented because that can be discouraging and you don't tell someone they ARE talented because that might make them refrain from working hard.



I have met some people in my life, even in my own extended family, who lack absolutely any talent, yet they have a strong desire. It's very difficult to watch them attempt to follow even a 4/4 beat, getting transitions correct, following simple queues, etc. People like this don't have a chance at ever becoming competent musicians at any level. Simply lying to them isn't going to help them at all. If someone has no talent, it's best to tell them in the nicest way possible. I'd also like to say that telling a talented person that they're talented won't affect their work ethic IF they are truly passionate, because they will be self-driven. People who are truly passionate don't need an outside source to make them work, IMO.

Quote:
My teacher was told he didn't have the hands of a pianist and years later he becomes a Bosendorfer artist traveling all around the world.


This is rather appalling. People do say stupid things like this. One of my friends many years back had a piano teacher who told him his hands were too chubby to ever be a pianist. Try telling that to Art Tatum! It has nothing to do with talent and should never be said. I'm glad your teacher is successful.

Quote:
I'm really done with this thread because I've learned one thing: Don't ask for advice here at piano world (and especially encouragement) because if you even have to ask for advice you probably don't have the talent.


I'm sorry you feel this way, really. But believe me, no one is trying to discourage you here. We were just simply discussing whether talent exists. We weren't trying to tell you that you had none! I know PianoWorld can feel a bit hostile at times, but don't let this scare you off.

_________________________
To each his own.

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#2065433 - 04/16/13 10:08 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Derulux]
Old Man Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/12
Posts: 730
Loc: Michigan, USA
Originally Posted By: Derulux
I would argue most famous pianists fall into this category. How old was Yuja Wang the first time she touched the keys? I think we can say she is just now coming into the pinnacle of her art, and broaching the horizon of broader fame. Of course, her musicality will evolve and change as a result of her experiences and maturity. But she's certainly well on her way. According to the bio I have on her, she started at six. She's now 26. That means, she's worked her tail off, and persevered for 20 long years to get where she is today.

I think what we see is a very young, 26 year old "prodigy" pianist, who is just so "talented", the industry couldn't deny her. But what I tend to see is someone who started on the right track at six, worked her tail off for twenty long years, made the right industry connections, had a little luck, and broke onto the music scene after a long road of sheer perseverance and determination.

Well, of course she's worked her tail off for 26 years. But that's like saying Horowitz worked his tail off for 86 years, and Rubinstein for 95 years. The "working one's tail off" business is a given. But it will never turn someone with only average talent into a great pianist.

I shouldn't have used the word "pinnacle", because no one reaches the pinnacle of their art in a few years. But many pianists have made their public debut at a very early age, an age so young that no combination of parenting, pedagogy, perseverance, or determination can explain it. Here are a few examples of some famous debuts:

Martha Argerich - Age 4. Orchestral debut at age 8
Claudio Arrau - Age 5. Could read notes before letters.
Daniel Barenboim - Age 7.
Glenn Gould - Age 4. Passed conservatory final exam with highest marks ever at age 12. Attained "professional standing as a pianist".
Horacio Gutierrez - Orchestral debut at age 11.
Helen Huang - Debuted with Philadelphia Orchestra at age 8.

Sorry, but "sheer perseverance and determination" will never have you playing a concerto before you reach puberty. I don't care whether we call it "talent" or not. Call it anything you wish, but whatever it is, it's innate, it's special, and it cannot be learned. These children are quickly recognized, because you simply have to give them a piano, and a little guidance, and they take off like rockets. Do they work hard? Of course. But their natural in-born ability allows them to progress at a rate that is exponentially faster than their peers. They don't have to be whipped into practicing because piano playing becomes as easy and natural to them as learning to read, or learning to ride a bicycle, so they can't get enough of it. It's in their wiring, plain and simple. Can I prove it? No. I would just say it's empirically evident. grin

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#2065524 - 04/16/13 12:32 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: wr]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5067
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Derulux

I'm glad you brought up love. Hasn't that been proven to be a base chemical reaction in the brain? I think there was one (hopefully facetious) study that linked "love" to "attachment disorder". I'll have to find it.. not for the sake of a serious discussion, but for humor.

On a more serious note, I wish I could say what that evidence would look like. As yet, I've seen nothing that could qualify, so I can't even say "we're on the right track here." Maybe the genetics discussion is heading in the right direction? I'm not sure..?



There are all kinds of theories and research about love and brain chemistry, some more conclusive than others, and none quite covering all types of love. For example, I don't think anyone so far has tried to figure out the brain chemistry involved when I say I love the C# major P&F from WTC I.

But anyway, AFAIK, none of the researchers have claimed that their work is evidence that love, heretofore only a myth, actually exists.

I am not sure I could ever love Bach enough to claim that of a P&F. laugh (Oddly, I am drawn more to his works for instruments other than the piano.) But this would be a heck of a study, to find out why you love Bach so much. Yes? I agree with everything you said except that. grin

Originally Posted By: King Cole
Maybe you can work to play at a sleazy strip club if you really push it.

I would never recommend doing this. All your tips will be $1, and God only knows what condition they will be in.. grin

Originally Posted By: JoelW
I have met some people in my life, even in my own extended family, who lack absolutely any talent, yet they have a strong desire. It's very difficult to watch them attempt to follow even a 4/4 beat, getting transitions correct, following simple queues, etc. People like this don't have a chance at ever becoming competent musicians at any level. Simply lying to them isn't going to help them at all. If someone has no talent, it's best to tell them in the nicest way possible.

I disagree with this (naturally--haha). I think their learning curve is certainly steeper, because they either weren't exposed to, or didn't learn, the mechanics of music prior to their expression of desire. But that doesn't mean they can't do it. We can teach monkeys to clap to beats; we can teach humans. Those who have already learned it are certainly ahead of the curve, but I don't think that indicates "talent" or "ability". I think it simply indicates the latter group hasn't even started down the path yet.

Quote:
It has nothing to do with talent...

I'm taking this out of context on purpose. Thank you. grin

Originally Posted By: Old Man
They don't have to be whipped into practicing...

I think you should have started and ended your argument here. It encompasses quite a few things I have been saying since the start. A self-motivated learner, who understands how to learn, who has significant exposure to the music they are learning, and who enjoys what it is they are doing, will certainly outperform a student who is whipped into it. "Talent"? Nah. They simply didn't have to try to discern the beat of the music from the crack of the whip. wink

Quote:
The "working one's tail off" business is a given. But it will never turn someone with only average talent into a great pianist.

I know, I took your quotes out of order. Sue me. grin You're absolutely right with this statement, of course. There are other mitigating factors. Discipline is one of them. I wonder if those children you mentioned (who are all fabulous adult pianists today) played video games, sports, or were otherwise "distracted". I wonder if they had the discipline to learn the piece exactly the way they needed to, and not to try to play it too fast too quickly, or to settle for a single mistake in their playing. I wonder if they were surrounded by classical music, immersed in it, drowned in it, so that they had to learn to breathe it if they wanted to survive. I wonder, of course, because I do not know. But I would say it's evident there were other factors involved besides the "unknowable" and "unmeasurable". wink
_________________________
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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#2065541 - 04/16/13 12:48 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Derulux]
slipperykeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/03/12
Posts: 341
Loc: Dorset, England
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: slipperykeys
Originally Posted By: rocket88

Leaving the the talent/piano thing aside, apply "talent" to singing.

The concept that talent does not exist, and that one can achieve much improvement (or greatness) simply by working correctly and hard falls apart with singing.

You are either born with the pipes, or you aren't.

I don't have the pipes. But for decades I have faithfully worked hard to improve my singing, with 3 different teachers, and all it has done is make me a better lousy singer. laugh

I now have breath control, know how to shape the vowels, to pace the lyrics, etc, and, because of my other musical training, I know rhythms, repertoire, etc, but because I was not born with the pipes, I will never ever achieve the level of a gifted talented singer.


There is a distinction between ability and talent.

For example, the most talented pianist in the world cannot play a piano if he doesn't have one.


Good example.. if you were comparing it to a person lacking a larynx.

Sorry, but this is not an argument in favor of "talent". It has nothing to do with the premise of what "talent" is (according to those who have posted in favor of its existence), and we had agreed (at the onset) to leave physicality out of the discussion of "talent". It's like saying someone with a Ferrari F1 premiere race car is a better driver than someone with a street-sold 1984 Hyundai because they can complete the road course faster.

Originally Posted By: slipperykeys
Originally Posted By: King Cole
Some of your arguments that talent is the deciding factor in all of this are absolutely fascinating. Talent has yet to been quantified, we don't even know the correlatives to talent. Does it mean that you'll reach a point and never make significant improvement? Does it mean that you'll learn things quicker?? Puleeeze!

"For talent itself, in its most general sense-that exhibition of a strong bias toward some particular pursuit, may be defined, from its results, as simply: ability to learn with ease.

Tobias Matthay, "First Principles of PIANOFORTE PLAYING"

http://archive.org/details/firstprincipleso00mattiala

Click, PDF under, "View the book" and save to download a copy, the talent bit is on page 37.

Of course, being an English snobe (that's like a snob, but posher) I have a hard copy!

So, what you're saying is that, because someone developed the knowledge/ability of how to learn, they are more "talented" than someone who has not developed the knowledge/ability of how to learn? Still sounds to me like a lack of understanding in describing why someone "without talent" can't learn as well as someone "with talent". Which still indicates to me that no one has provided an accurate description of exactly what "talent" is. And, of course, there has been no evidence provided of its existence (that hasn't been easily refuted).


Oh,dear.... Please read CAREFULLY, I am saying nothing more than I am a snobe with my own copy, sorry and all that, it is there, in the text, if you see and understand, I did try to make that easy to spot.

"because someone developed the knowledge/ability of how to learn, they are more "talented" than someone who has not developed the knowledge/ability of how to learn?"

No! HE really isn't saying that at all, you simply haven't understood, I'll try to give you a clue, where does "developed" come into it?.
I refute your last sentence as I actually understand what Matthay is saying.

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#2065571 - 04/16/13 01:31 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: slipperykeys]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5067
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: slipperykeys
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: slipperykeys
Originally Posted By: rocket88

Leaving the the talent/piano thing aside, apply "talent" to singing.

The concept that talent does not exist, and that one can achieve much improvement (or greatness) simply by working correctly and hard falls apart with singing.

You are either born with the pipes, or you aren't.

I don't have the pipes. But for decades I have faithfully worked hard to improve my singing, with 3 different teachers, and all it has done is make me a better lousy singer. laugh

I now have breath control, know how to shape the vowels, to pace the lyrics, etc, and, because of my other musical training, I know rhythms, repertoire, etc, but because I was not born with the pipes, I will never ever achieve the level of a gifted talented singer.


There is a distinction between ability and talent.

For example, the most talented pianist in the world cannot play a piano if he doesn't have one.


Good example.. if you were comparing it to a person lacking a larynx.

Sorry, but this is not an argument in favor of "talent". It has nothing to do with the premise of what "talent" is (according to those who have posted in favor of its existence), and we had agreed (at the onset) to leave physicality out of the discussion of "talent". It's like saying someone with a Ferrari F1 premiere race car is a better driver than someone with a street-sold 1984 Hyundai because they can complete the road course faster.

Originally Posted By: slipperykeys
Originally Posted By: King Cole
Some of your arguments that talent is the deciding factor in all of this are absolutely fascinating. Talent has yet to been quantified, we don't even know the correlatives to talent. Does it mean that you'll reach a point and never make significant improvement? Does it mean that you'll learn things quicker?? Puleeeze!

"For talent itself, in its most general sense-that exhibition of a strong bias toward some particular pursuit, may be defined, from its results, as simply: ability to learn with ease.

Tobias Matthay, "First Principles of PIANOFORTE PLAYING"

http://archive.org/details/firstprincipleso00mattiala

Click, PDF under, "View the book" and save to download a copy, the talent bit is on page 37.

Of course, being an English snobe (that's like a snob, but posher) I have a hard copy!

So, what you're saying is that, because someone developed the knowledge/ability of how to learn, they are more "talented" than someone who has not developed the knowledge/ability of how to learn? Still sounds to me like a lack of understanding in describing why someone "without talent" can't learn as well as someone "with talent". Which still indicates to me that no one has provided an accurate description of exactly what "talent" is. And, of course, there has been no evidence provided of its existence (that hasn't been easily refuted).


Oh,dear.... Please read CAREFULLY, I am saying nothing more than I am a snobe with my own copy, sorry and all that, it is there, in the text, if you see and understand, I did try to make that easy to spot.

"because someone developed the knowledge/ability of how to learn, they are more "talented" than someone who has not developed the knowledge/ability of how to learn?"

No! HE really isn't saying that at all, you simply haven't understood, I'll try to give you a clue, where does "developed" come into it?.
I refute your last sentence as I actually understand what Matthay is saying.




I do very much like the word "snobe". I may adopt it for, as you say, its "poshness". laugh

I believe I know where you're going with your "developed clue", and I still disagree, but I shall take my argument up with Matthay, then, since it is he who said it and not you. 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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#2065617 - 04/16/13 03:51 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: JoelW]
mermilylumpkin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/08/13
Posts: 121
Originally Posted By: JoelW

I have met some people in my life, even in my own extended family, who lack absolutely any talent, yet they have a strong desire. It's very difficult to watch them attempt to follow even a 4/4 beat, getting transitions correct, following simple queues, etc. People like this don't have a chance at ever becoming competent musicians at any level. Simply lying to them isn't going to help them at all. If someone has no talent, it's best to tell them in the nicest way possible


Why is that so difficult to watch? It seems a tiny bit funny to try to imagine "the nicest way possible" is to tell someone they have no talent and should stop trying? If you're going to devote serious time to this thread, can you at least type up a transcript of what that conversation might look like because I sort of have to know.

It just comes across as slightly socially awkward to put someone in their place by telling them to stop working so hard because they will never be competent at what they are trying to achieve. Regardless of whether you're the final authority on whether they can or not (and who knows, maybe JoelW of The Internet really is the final authority.)

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#2065621 - 04/16/13 03:57 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Old Man]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2443
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Old Man

Sorry, but "sheer perseverance and determination" will never have you playing a concerto before you reach puberty.


Good evening. Once again, I don't believe that anyone is saying that "sheer perserverance and determination" will make a prodigy or a virtuoso of any kid.

Originally Posted By: Old Man

Martha Argerich - Age 4. Orchestral debut at age 8
Claudio Arrau - Age 5. Could read notes before letters.
Daniel Barenboim - Age 7.
Glenn Gould - Age 4. Passed conservatory final exam with highest marks ever at age 12. Attained "professional standing as a pianist".
Horacio Gutierrez - Orchestral debut at age 11.
Helen Huang - Debuted with Philadelphia Orchestra at age 8.


It seems that every one of these pianists comes from a musical family. (Excepted Helen Huang, maybe, for nothing is written in this regard in the biographies on the web.) Several of them were taught by their parents. Glenn Gould, according to wikipedia, "Before his birth, his mother planned for him to become a successful musician, and thus exposed him to music during her pregnancy".

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#2065648 - 04/16/13 05:29 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
Bosendorff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/11/12
Posts: 213
Originally Posted By: King Cole
I must apologize, as I have not made myself clear. I am not talking about being able to whistle or clap. I am talking about being able to make music. There IS a difference. Many people can play the piano. Not that many make music when doing it. The difference is clearly heard by the listener.


1) Find a good teacher (you already have I think, so that's good !).
2) Practice with metronome. Because it's important to be precise rhythmically. And also without metronome. Because it's as important to do without and also to perfect rubato playing.
3) Read manuscripts slowly, and after a while read "beyond what is written". Takes a while. And it takes even longer to be able to sight read, so start at your level, even if it's beginner. Sight reading is often the most difficult aspect because it doesn't bring gratification quickly. But don't worry, all those things are a lifetime process.
4) Practice, practice and practice the aspects of music that can be studied and improved by most people : technique, use of forearm/arm weight, precision, repetitive exercises, etc.
5) Practice also the aspects that are much more difficult to teach as they are linked at least partly to innate abilities like : sense of rhythm, expressivity (both rhythmic and dynamic), improvisation, etc. If those abilities are not innate, they can always be "learned" in other ways - but will have limited results for a long time compared to someone who has them in an innate fashion.
6) Never think you don't need to improve and/or that you are a virtuoso. This might be the most important one.
7) Play, play and play. And don't forget to have fun while you do.

Of course, there are also many other things... Just thought to write a few important ones.

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#2065683 - 04/16/13 06:49 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: landorrano]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7427
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: Old Man

Sorry, but "sheer perseverance and determination" will never have you playing a concerto before you reach puberty.


Good evening. Once again, I don't believe that anyone is saying that "sheer perserverance and determination" will make a prodigy or a virtuoso of any kid.

Originally Posted By: Old Man

Martha Argerich - Age 4. Orchestral debut at age 8
Claudio Arrau - Age 5. Could read notes before letters.
Daniel Barenboim - Age 7.
Glenn Gould - Age 4. Passed conservatory final exam with highest marks ever at age 12. Attained "professional standing as a pianist".
Horacio Gutierrez - Orchestral debut at age 11.
Helen Huang - Debuted with Philadelphia Orchestra at age 8.


It seems that every one of these pianists comes from a musical family. (Excepted Helen Huang, maybe, for nothing is written in this regard in the biographies on the web.) Several of them were taught by their parents. Glenn Gould, according to wikipedia, "Before his birth, his mother planned for him to become a successful musician, and thus exposed him to music during her pregnancy".



Well, it only makes sense that musical talent is more likely to appear in a musical family, and it can be for reasons other than nurture. One reason may be that it largely determined by DNA. But the other, more obvious one is that a musical family is where the talent may be recognized, and most importantly, have the means of expression that is required. It's hard to discover if a child has a talent for playing the piano if there's no piano around.

The quote about Gould ties in with something I was thinking about - do things that happen in the womb count as innate or nurture? In a way, it might seem obvious to be nurture, but I think that in terms of talking about talent in the usual sense, I would consider it innate, because whatever influence of that kind is there, it is part of the person at birth.

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#2065698 - 04/16/13 07:36 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: JoelW]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5834
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: JoelW
I have met some people in my life, even in my own extended family, who lack absolutely any talent, yet they have a strong desire. It's very difficult to watch them attempt to follow even a 4/4 beat, getting transitions correct, following simple queues, etc. People like this don't have a chance at ever becoming competent musicians at any level.
Well I hope you're not thinking of becoming a teacher (at any level).
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#2065702 - 04/16/13 07:49 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: currawong]
JoelW Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4158
Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: JoelW
I have met some people in my life, even in my own extended family, who lack absolutely any talent, yet they have a strong desire. It's very difficult to watch them attempt to follow even a 4/4 beat, getting transitions correct, following simple queues, etc. People like this don't have a chance at ever becoming competent musicians at any level.
Well I hope you're not thinking of becoming a teacher (at any level).


Since when do teachers have to lie? If a student has very little to no talent and isn't progressing whatsoever, why waste their time and money if I know full-well what's going on?

I hold this view mainly for parents who are pushing their kids to play piano.

I do however believe that if someone is truly passionate and has a desire to work hard, even if they have very little potential, it is right to let them pursue their interest. If I were a teacher and someone came to me desperate to learn, I wouldn't ever deny them that chance.


Edited by JoelW (04/16/13 08:02 PM)
_________________________
To each his own.

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#2065704 - 04/16/13 07:57 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: JoelW]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5834
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: JoelW
I have met some people in my life, even in my own extended family, who lack absolutely any talent, yet they have a strong desire. It's very difficult to watch them attempt to follow even a 4/4 beat, getting transitions correct, following simple queues, etc. People like this don't have a chance at ever becoming competent musicians at any level.
Well I hope you're not thinking of becoming a teacher (at any level).
Since when do teachers have to lie? If a student has very little to no talent and isn't progressing whatsoever, why waste their time and money if I know full-well what's going on?
Teachers don't have to lie - what they do have to do is find the potential in every student, and believe me, after 45 years of music teaching, I don't think I've come across a single student who had no potential, and I certainly wouldn't have the arrogance to decide that on superficial impressions. (I'm not talking about students who have a burning desire to become the next Richter - but then I dare say the person you mentioned who couldn't keep a beat didn't have this ambition either. smile )
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#2065708 - 04/16/13 08:07 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: currawong]
JoelW Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4158
Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: JoelW
I have met some people in my life, even in my own extended family, who lack absolutely any talent, yet they have a strong desire. It's very difficult to watch them attempt to follow even a 4/4 beat, getting transitions correct, following simple queues, etc. People like this don't have a chance at ever becoming competent musicians at any level.
Well I hope you're not thinking of becoming a teacher (at any level).
Since when do teachers have to lie? If a student has very little to no talent and isn't progressing whatsoever, why waste their time and money if I know full-well what's going on?
Teachers don't have to lie - what they do have to do is find the potential in every student, and believe me, after 45 years of music teaching, I don't think I've come across a single student who had no potential, and I certainly wouldn't have the arrogance to decide that on superficial impressions. (I'm not talking about students who have a burning desire to become the next Richter - but then I dare say the person you mentioned who couldn't keep a beat didn't have this ambition either. smile )


I was editing as you wrote this. Care to reflect on my addition?
_________________________
To each his own.

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#2065757 - 04/16/13 10:54 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: JoelW]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5834
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: JoelW
I hold this view mainly for parents who are pushing their kids to play piano.
A slight shift from "who lack absolutely any talent, yet they have a strong desire", but I find more to agree with in your edited post.
I've seen many people whose potential did not show itself for some time, and it's worth cultivating the patience that can listen to stumbling attempts and work out how to help a person develop skills - in fact, for a teacher I think it's essential.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#2065759 - 04/16/13 10:59 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: landorrano]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8696
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: Old Man

Martha Argerich - Age 4. Orchestral debut at age 8
Claudio Arrau - Age 5. Could read notes before letters.
Daniel Barenboim - Age 7.
Glenn Gould - Age 4. Passed conservatory final exam with highest marks ever at age 12. Attained "professional standing as a pianist".
Horacio Gutierrez - Orchestral debut at age 11.


It seems that every one of these pianists comes from a musical family.

True, but you would agree that coming from a musical family is no guarantee of professional success. For every Argerich, Arrau, Barenboim, Gould, and Gutierrez, how many hundreds from musical families have failed to make any mark whatsoever on the circuit?

The pianists listed above are exceptional examples, and maybe things would have been different had they not come from musical families. OTH, I don't know the particular details of their respective childhoods, but it cannot have been the same for all of them.
_________________________
Jason

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#2065767 - 04/16/13 11:22 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: wr]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5067
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: wr
The quote about Gould ties in with something I was thinking about - do things that happen in the womb count as innate or nurture? In a way, it might seem obvious to be nurture, but I think that in terms of talking about talent in the usual sense, I would consider it innate, because whatever influence of that kind is there, it is part of the person at birth.

I tend to think of any kind of exposure as a learning experience, whether it happens in the womb or not. I'm not sure, but if I remember correctly, there isn't a huge learning gap between kids who listen to classical music (particularly Mozart) in the womb and those who don't. I honestly forget, though. Read a paper on it over a decade ago when a psych prof introduced me to the idea of how the brain learns.

Originally Posted By: argerichfan
For every Argerich, Arrau, Barenboim, Gould, and Gutierrez, how many hundreds from musical families have failed to make any mark whatsoever on the circuit?

Quite probably thousands..

In the martial arts, there are maybe 10-15 famous names. There are 30 million active practitioners in the US alone.

In the publishing world (for which there are no accurate figures in existence), Jack Canfield once told me 1 in 1,000 works gets published. 1 in 20 of those is by an author who makes their living from writing. And 1 in 100 of those is Stephen King. So, if 325k works are published a year (in the US), that's 325 million that don't get published.

Side note: our UK friends will be happy to note that, per capita, they publish more books than any other nation.
_________________________
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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#2065772 - 04/16/13 11:33 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: currawong]
JoelW Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4158
Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: JoelW
I hold this view mainly for parents who are pushing their kids to play piano.
A slight shift from "who lack absolutely any talent, yet they have a strong desire", but I find more to agree with in your edited post.
I've seen many people whose potential did not show itself for some time, and it's worth cultivating the patience that can listen to stumbling attempts and work out how to help a person develop skills - in fact, for a teacher I think it's essential.


You're right, I misrepresented myself. My mistake.
_________________________
To each his own.

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#2065869 - 04/17/13 06:25 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
chopin_r_us Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 773
Loc: UK
I love this thread - the thread that keeps on giving! (or is that going?) The debate really centers around whether that monkey can come up with Shakespeare's plays and sonnets typing into infinity or once you've missed the boat that's that. I'll go for the former as I think wisdom is acquired or at least you gotta wait around a while whereas there are get-rounds when it comes to facility in learning (the most obvious one being time).

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#2065957 - 04/17/13 10:38 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: chopin_r_us]
Hakki Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2100
Originally Posted By: chopin_r_us
I love this thread - the thread that keeps on giving! (or is that going?) The debate really centers around whether that monkey can come up with Shakespeare's plays and sonnets typing into infinity or once you've missed the boat that's that. I'll go for the former as I think wisdom is acquired or at least you gotta wait around a while whereas there are get-rounds when it comes to facility in learning (the most obvious one being time).


For practical purposes, that's that.
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Put in one of IMO, I think, to me, for me... or similar to all sentences I post

http://www.youtube.com/user/hakkithepianist

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#2066002 - 04/17/13 12:55 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
Old Man Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/12
Posts: 730
Loc: Michigan, USA
One of the prodigies in my list was Helen Huang. According to her bio, she began taking lessons at age 5 and made her debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra at age 8, after winning its student concerto competition. Assuming she didn't play the "Twinkle Twinkle Concerto in C Major", what could possibly explain such lightning-fast progress? From nothing to a concerto in 3 years?!! It's in the genes, folks.

And from a personal perspective, I was saturated with classical music from the womb onward. My dad was a church organist his entire life, my mom sold classical records in the 40s, and was quite an opera expert, so our home was suffused with music. My childhood idol was Vladimir Horowitz, not Mickey Mantle, and my passion for piano has never waned in 63 years.

But after attempting a couple of quarters at the university level, I realized quickly at age 20 that I simply didn't have the chops, and never would. Sure, a Chopin waltz or two, a Bach invention or two, but playing never came easy to me, no matter how many hours I practiced. I was forced to accept my limitations and move on.

This does not mean, however, that those of us with limited talent should simply throw up our hands and give up! With a good teacher and the discipline to put in the hours, anyone can and will improve. I think Kreisler summed it up quite nicely a while back:
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
I don't believe anyone can, through hard work, be as good as Kissin.

I don't believe anyone can, through hard work, be as good as Tiger Woods.

I do believe that anyone can, through hard work, learn to play golf well enough to enjoy it.

I do believe that anyone can, through hard work, learn to play the piano well enough to enjoy it.

The last word.

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#2066019 - 04/17/13 01:32 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5067
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Old Man
But after attempting a couple of quarters at the university level, I realized quickly at age 20 that I simply didn't have the chops, and never would. Sure, a Chopin waltz or two, a Bach invention or two, but playing never came easy to me, no matter how many hours I practiced. I was forced to accept my limitations and move on.

I genuinely feel bad for you, my friend. You gave up way too soon, and way too easily. A couple quarters at the university vs 20 years of hard work and dedication with an outstanding teacher (the Yuja Wang example we used earlier). What did you expect? We always perceive that we progress slowest at the beginning, but if we want the end result, we have to push through that and keep going.. smile

If we ever get a chance to sit down at the keys, I should like to see and hear you play.
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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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