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#2085800 - 05/20/13 02:34 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
chopin_r_us Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 874
Loc: UK
Copulation time in Dung Flies

The MVT [marginal value theory] can be applied to situations other than foraging in which animals experience diminished returns. Consider, for example, the mating copulation duration of the yellow dung fly. In the dung fly mating system, males gather on fresh cow droppings and wait for females to arrive in smaller groups to lay their eggs. Males must compete with each other for the chance to mate with arriving females—sometimes one male will kick another male off of a female and take over mating with the female mid-copulation. In this instance, the second male fertilizes about 80% of the eggs.[7] Thus, after a male has mated with a female he guards her so that no other males will have the opportunity to mate with her and displace his sperm before she lays her eggs. After the female lays her eggs, the male must take the time to search for another female before he is able to copulate again.

The question, then, is how long the dung fly should spend copulating with each female. On one hand, the longer a male dung fly copulates the more eggs he can fertilize. However, the benefits of extra copulation time diminish quickly, as the male loses the chance to find another female during long copulations. The MVT predicts that the optimal copulation time is just long enough to fertilize about 80% of the eggs; after this time, the rewards are much smaller and are not worth missing out on another mate.[7] This predicted value for copulation time, 40 minutes, is very close to the average observed value, 36 minutes.

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#2085807 - 05/20/13 02:46 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: chopin_r_us]
Old Man Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/12
Posts: 777
Loc: Michigan, USA
Originally Posted By: chopin_r_us
Copulation time in Dung Flies

The MVT [marginal value theory] can be applied to situations other than foraging in which animals experience diminished returns. Consider, for example, the mating copulation duration of the yellow dung fly. In the dung fly mating system, males gather on fresh cow droppings and wait for females to arrive in smaller groups to lay their eggs. Males must compete with each other for the chance to mate with arriving females—sometimes one male will kick another male off of a female and take over mating with the female mid-copulation. In this instance, the second male fertilizes about 80% of the eggs.[7] Thus, after a male has mated with a female he guards her so that no other males will have the opportunity to mate with her and displace his sperm before she lays her eggs. After the female lays her eggs, the male must take the time to search for another female before he is able to copulate again.

The question, then, is how long the dung fly should spend copulating with each female. On one hand, the longer a male dung fly copulates the more eggs he can fertilize. However, the benefits of extra copulation time diminish quickly, as the male loses the chance to find another female during long copulations. The MVT predicts that the optimal copulation time is just long enough to fertilize about 80% of the eggs; after this time, the rewards are much smaller and are not worth missing out on another mate.[7] This predicted value for copulation time, 40 minutes, is very close to the average observed value, 36 minutes.

Beautifully stated! Well, in terms of piano, my 36 minutes was up about 45 years ago.

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#2085812 - 05/20/13 02:53 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
So what you're saying is that the flies are missing out on 4 minutes of copulation time? grin
_________________________
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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#2085815 - 05/20/13 02:58 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Old Man]
chopin_r_us Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 874
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: Old Man

Beautifully stated! Well, in terms of piano, my 36 minutes was up about 45 years ago.
Hey, thank Wikipedia! I'm just the vehicle.

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#2085820 - 05/20/13 03:11 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
A vehicule? You're an oracle!

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#2085828 - 05/20/13 03:31 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
chopin_r_us Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/17/10
Posts: 874
Loc: UK
Oracles were thought to be portals through which the gods spoke directly to people. In this sense they were different from seers (manteis, μάντεις) who interpreted signs sent by the gods through bird signs, animal entrails, and other various methods.

Hmm, I guess you're right. In the beginning was the word, and the word was Wiki!

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#2085836 - 05/20/13 03:36 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Derulux]
mermilylumpkin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/08/13
Posts: 121
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Piano - when I was younger, I was stupid. I didn't take the love-of-process approach I did with school and MA, and did exactly what you described above. Instead of building a strong foundation, I dove into Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No 2 (took almost 1.5 years) or Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu (8 months). By college, I had built enough "expertise" to compound this learning and shorten it considerably. I learned the 1st mvt of Rachmaninoff's 2nd piano concerto in 10 weeks. But it was still the wrong approach, and still taking too long. I got an outstanding teacher, and he showed me how to approach the piano differently. Did we adjust technique? Yes. But it was really the approach that needed to change the most. It wasn't until after I stopped studying with him five years later, that I began to realize this. Now, I approach the pieces I learn very differently. But much of the damage was already done, and I, like so many adults, don't have the patience to go back and rebuild technique from scratch. So, the technique I learned correctly later in life is very good (all the difficult stuff), but ask me to play a C-Major scale and you'll think I'm a beginner. Do I know exactly what I would need to do? Yes, absolutely. Am I willing to do it? No, the marginal cost you mentioned earlier is too high. So, I choose not to do it. But that choice doesn't mean that it couldn't be done if I were willing to pay the price.


This is a great example of music-learning as a conscientious learning process rather than an innate thing that you just somehow "get" incrementally if you have the requisite talent.

Anyway, people are coming up with all of these counterexamples to try and prove exactly what it is that is innate that you need to achieve mastery. So far the examples have been like, "Well, obviously you can't pick a random dude off the street and make him into a virtuoso!" (No, we agree on this) "Well, the guy can't spend 18 hours a day practicing in counter productive ways, e.g. starting off with Rachmaninoff!" (We agree on this too.) "Well, even if you hurled all the resources and teachers Mozart had at some random person, he wouldn't become a virtuoso talent." (Yes, we agree on that too - that a fundamentally uninterested random guy on the street would NOT become Mozart. This is not a difficult argument to make.) I don't know why we assume that the act of practicing productively is innate.

I think at this point, naysayers would probably suggest that small children don't make conscientious decisions about how to use their practice time; thus conscientious, well-planned practice time (sustained over a long period of time I should add) must not be the silver bullet if you will -- It doesn't account for child prodigies. This would be a strong point because children't AREN'T metacognitive about what they are learning and how they are learning. I would (again) point to the interest/obsession argument, which is that child prodigies all tend to be inordinately interested in music, spend inordinate time practicing music due to their inordinate interest, and probably learn inordinately efficient ways to learn music due to the exceptional neuroplasticity of children in the window of 2 - 10 years old. We can all think of lots of four year olds we know that are horrible at playing the piano. Can anyone find any examples of four year olds who by their own volition play for, say, 4 hours per day, who are horrible at it (after, say, 5 years)? If anyone can find that counterexample, then I really would officially lay my argument to rest. That would be enough.

Anyway, I'm more interested at this point in finding out what the particularly quality of mind it is that people think it is which is innate to musical talent? Can we isolate it and say exactly what it is and how it is measured? Like besides saying it is the thing that age 4 Martha Argerich had - What exactly is the thing? (Does that question make sense?)

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#2085837 - 05/20/13 03:37 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Derulux]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Derulux
So what you're saying is that the flies are missing out on 4 minutes of copulation time? grin


An economising fly can put those 4 minutes in a savings account and when he has enough of them get an extra turn. Heck, that's what I do!

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#2085842 - 05/20/13 03:41 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Derulux]
Old Man Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/12
Posts: 777
Loc: Michigan, USA
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: Old Man
Indeed we are "discussing the 'ability' side of things and not the 'fame' side of things", so why did you introduce this completely extraneous factor? C'mon, Derulux, you knew I was using these names as examples of "ability" and not "fame".

OK, let me rephrase it for you. You cannot simply "choose" to be an unknown pianist whose talents are equal to, or greater than those of someone like Argerich or Perahia. I hope this clumsier construction "clarifies" the issue for you.

Why not? If you choose not to perform in public, then you'll certainly be an unknown. Or did I misunderstand?

Nope, you didn't misunderstand. I just screwed it up even more. Final edit: You cannot simply "choose" to play the piano at a level comparable to a pianist like Argerich or Perahia.

Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: Old Man

But what is the marginal cost? Without the innate musical ability to sight read a new piece and progress at a reasonably rapid pace, the cost is quite high. Should I spend 12, 14, 16 hours a day practicing the 1st movement of the Beethoven F Minor (No. 1) sonata (one of my assigned pieces at age 19)? And after I've done this for a few months, only to produce an improved, yet still mediocre performance, what have I achieved? Why would I expend so much of my time to yield so little? However, to a naturally gifted pianist, learning the entire sonata would be child's play.

I like it. We haven't (I think) brought economics into the discussion yet! grin And your example is superb. However, I think it might also be an example of exactly what I am saying -- spending 12-16 hours a day for a few months on the first movement of a Beethoven sonata is counter-productive. At the end, will you know the movement? Yes, hopefully. You've put an astronomical amount of time into it, so I would wish you all the best there! But, at the end of those months, have you addressed the underlying issues that caused the process to take that long? No. You haven't spent those months addressing sight-reading issues, or interpretation issues, or underlying technique issues (most technical issues overlap -- learn it wrong in Mozart, and you will start out playing it wrong in Beethoven, etc).

So, if I would only "learn how to learn", all would be well? That's the magic formula?

Originally Posted By: Derulux
School subjects - I know how to learn this material; I can learn almost any subject in a couple of days

Really? So if only I had learned how to learn differential calculus and organic chemistry, I could've gone to medical school after all? And if I had only learned how to learn to play chess, I could kick Garry Kasparov's ass? Who knew????

Just curious, however. Who exactly passed this magic formula on to you?

Never mind. Rhetorical question. I think I may know.

Click to reveal..
Mother Nature!! laugh yippie

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#2085844 - 05/20/13 03:46 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Old Man]
mermilylumpkin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/08/13
Posts: 121
Originally Posted By: Old Man

Really? So if only I had learned how to learn differential calculus and organic chemistry, I could've gone to medical school after all? And if I had only learned how to learn to play chess, I could kick Garry Kasparov's ass? Who knew????

Just curious, however. Who exactly passed this magic formula on to you?


But that's just the thing -- It's just a lot of sarcastic replies to something that's an actual point, and people write journal articles about it and you can even look up the wikipedia article on it if you want ("metacognition"). If it's just a silly conversation for sport huffing and puffing is fine, but you should know that a lot of neuroscience and pedagogy research actually points to the primacy of metacognitive skills, or analyzing and adjusting the way we learn. If you disagree with the notion personally that's fine, but that doesn't mean it's ridiculous. It's sort of an actual thing you can find all over Google Scholar if you are inclined. Just FYI :-)

I'd argue, that sadly, yes, maybe you could have gone head to head with Kasparov if you engaged in some serious, deep, impassioned learning about chess, for a long period of time and especially from a young age. Sadly because I hope it's a joke and not something that you really wanted for yourself. It's sad not to pursue something because you're convinced in advance that you won't be enough. And on the flip side, I think it's flattering to some people to think that most other people aren't enough but because of an in-born gift they, exceptionally, are. I guess that's going to touch a nerve, but it might as well be said.

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#2085850 - 05/20/13 04:03 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: mermilylumpkin]
Old Man Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/12
Posts: 777
Loc: Michigan, USA
Originally Posted By: mermilylumpkin
Originally Posted By: Old Man

Really? So if only I had learned how to learn differential calculus and organic chemistry, I could've gone to medical school after all? And if I had only learned how to learn to play chess, I could kick Garry Kasparov's ass? Who knew????

Just curious, however. Who exactly passed this magic formula on to you?

But that's just the thing -- It's just a lot of sarcastic replies to something that's an actual point, and people write journal articles about it and you can even look up the wikipedia article on it if you want ("metacognition"). If it's just a silly conversation for sport huffing and puffing is fine, but you should know that a lot of neuroscience and pedagogy research actually points to the primacy of metacognitive skills, or analyzing and adjusting the way we learn. If you disagree with the notion personally that's fine, but that doesn't mean it's ridiculous. It's sort of an actual thing you can find all over Google Scholar if you are inclined. Just FYI :-)

Wow, I certainly hope Derulux doesn't interpret my "tweaking" as sarcasm, huffing and puffing, etc.! I had no idea that my attempt to add a little levity to this ponderous discussion would result in such a scolding. That's the last time I try that!

I guess it's time to hit the metacognition books. laugh

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#2085852 - 05/20/13 04:07 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Old Man]
mermilylumpkin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/08/13
Posts: 121
Sorry :-) I don't mean to assign something that you didn't intend. Please overlook my remarks about huffing and puffing. I just was trying to say that it actually is a real point.

Sorry, I didn't mean to put downer-ness on the fun :-) I won't scold you. I guess I take it over seriously myself.

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#2085867 - 05/20/13 04:28 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: mermilylumpkin]
Old Man Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/12
Posts: 777
Loc: Michigan, USA
Originally Posted By: mermilylumpkin
Sorry :-) I don't mean to assign something that you didn't intend. Please overlook my remarks about huffing and puffing. I just was trying to say that it actually is a real point.

Sorry, I didn't mean to put downer-ness on the fun :-) I won't scold you. I guess I take it over seriously myself.

Ha, ha, no apologies, please. smile This is your profession, and I understand why you feel strongly about it. I'm just a business IT schlub, so I have no knowledge of the social and/or behavioral sciences. (OK, make that ANY sciences.) But I do know about "metadata" - data about data - so I assume they're analogous terms.

And we all need a barometer of how our posts are being interpreted, so if you thought I sounded sarcastic, I'm sure others did too. Calibrating tone in this inadequate medium is a tricky process, so thanks for the feedback! smile

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#2085891 - 05/20/13 04:47 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Old Man
Nope, you didn't misunderstand. I just screwed it up even more. Final edit: You cannot simply "choose" to play the piano at a level comparable to a pianist like Argerich or Perahia.

Ah! Got it. I agree; that type of choice would take the process right out of the equation. What we can do is choose to do what it takes to get to that level, which is a process-based choice, and one that most people don't make consciously.

In other words, I hear people say all the time, "I want to play like [pick-a-pianist]!" But when you show them how to practice to get to that level, and what they have to do, they suddenly don't have the interest or desire to do it, and so they don't do it. This problem is compounded for anyone who already "knows how to play," because it usually requires a complete reconstruction of how to think about approaching the piano. And most people, especially adults, don't like to change the way they think.

Quote:
So, if I would only "learn how to learn", all would be well? That's the magic formula?

I'm not sure that it's a magic formula, or even the sole ingredient, but I would argue that if you're trying to build an ocean, water is an important component. wink

But in all seriousness, I believe very strongly that the two most important ingredients are process and desire. If you have one, but not the other, you won't get where you want to go. Or worse, you may actually desire a process that takes you farther away from your goal. But if you mold your desire into a love of the process that takes you where you want to go, then you will get there.

Quote:
Really? So if only I had learned how to learn differential calculus and organic chemistry, I could've gone to medical school after all? And if I had only learned how to learn to play chess, I could kick Garry Kasparov's ass? Who knew????

Nope. Starting with diffy-q and org is way to late. You've already cemented in your process of learning information. For most people, by the time they learn these subjects in late high school or undergrad, they've had anywhere from 15-20 years of "how to learn" experience to cement their learning processes. To develop a love of learning in someone is difficult, especially the older they get. To develop a love of learning everything (not just the "important takeaways") is nearly impossible.

Take this to life and the piano. I love puzzles. Love them. I absolutely love figuring out cyphers and codes, and anything that is visual-spatial. So, is there any surprise that I can recognize patterns of notes on the page faster than most people (even though I'm probably in the bottom half of all musicians for "music theory"), when I spend so much of my time away from the piano working on that same exact process/task? Or that I choose to use that basis of knowledge in my approach to the piano? There is a very famous martial arts quote that Jackie Chan reiterated in the latest "Karate Kid". He said, "Everything is kung fu." I expand that: everything is everything. Learning how to pick up a cup helps to teach you the fine motor skills in the hand necessary to play the piano. Typing on a keyboard (technique). Playing a round of golf (grip vs squeeze/tension). Learning to walk (body mapping). Remembering patterns/images (visual-spatial, "notes"). Every single thing we do impacts every single other thing we do.

Case in point: I bet, when you type, you rest your wrists on the keyboard/table. Or you grip your mouse the same way, and use your fingers only to manipulate it, rather than your whole arm. wink


I am curious, though.. how do you do that "click to reveal" thing? I usually use the quick reply.. is it an option in the full reply?

Quote:
Wow, I certainly hope Derulux doesn't interpret my "tweaking" as sarcasm, huffing and puffing, etc.! I had no idea that my attempt to add a little levity to this ponderous discussion would result in such a scolding.

No worries on my end! grin

Quote:
And we all need a barometer of how our posts are being interpreted, so if you thought I sounded sarcastic, I'm sure others did too. Calibrating tone in this inadequate medium is a tricky process, so thanks for the feedback!

I always assume that the person I'm speaking with didn't intend any insult. I think that way because I don't intend any insult. So, perhaps what would work best for me would be to do something like this:

[insult]You're a jerk![/insult] 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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#2085962 - 05/20/13 07:37 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Derulux]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7767
Quote:


Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: wr
I was not talking about all sorts of stuff other than playing the piano. ... Since playing the piano involves a very complex physical skill coupled with some advanced mental processing, it is not comparable to kids who have been taught how to do the kinds of stuff you list.

It always amazes me that people seem to think that learning one thing is different than learning another thing. Is the one thing more difficult than another thing? Quite possibly. Is the process of learning how to learn that thing any different? Not in my experience.



Prepared to be even more amazed...

I think that, for some people, learning how to play piano is quite a bit different than learning how to draw stick figures. I am not going to go into all of the myriad details why. But I will point out one thing about it that is relevant to this thread. And that is that it is reasonable to assume that a person with the musical genetic structure pointed out in the Finnish study of inheritable musical ability will find that learning some aspects of music is a different process than learning to, say, draw stick figures. It is quite likely that learning musical things feels more natural to them than drawing stick figures feels, as if they have some mysterious affinity for music, but not for drawing.

Quote:



Quote:
I didn't realize that you see yourself as a failure. I never would have guessed.

I am full of surprises. smile

Quote:
Huh? That's rather bizarre. Why would you need to disclose anything about any "certain individuals"?

I was going to send you a PM about this, but it says you're not accepting them? (7 years in here, and I didn't even know you could do that.. haha)



Thanks for reminding me of why I have PMs turned off. If what you have to say can't be said in the public thread, I don't want to hear it.

Quote:


Quote:
So, you think that Argerich and Perahia don't have ability?

Not at all. I said what I meant -- in the case of those two, we have both ability and fame, and we need to know which we're going to be discussing. If "fame" is a measure of "talent", then I am all kinds of backwards and confused about the definition of fame. After all, Honey Boo-Boo is famous. wink



Since we were discussing ability, and not fame, there's no reason I can see that Old Man would have suddenly changed the focus to be about fame, with no warning. But if you want to talk about fame, that's fine - why not start a new thread about it?

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#2086044 - 05/20/13 10:37 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: wr
Prepared to be even more amazed...

I think that, for some people, learning how to play piano is quite a bit different than learning how to draw stick figures. I am not going to go into all of the myriad details why. But I will point out one thing about it that is relevant to this thread. And that is that it is reasonable to assume that a person with the musical genetic structure pointed out in the Finnish study of inheritable musical ability will find that learning some aspects of music is a different process than learning to, say, draw stick figures. It is quite likely that learning musical things feels more natural to them than drawing stick figures feels, as if they have some mysterious affinity for music, but not for drawing.

I think I find my amazement growing by the word. laugh

If we were to talk about how the brain processes information, we could have a strong argument for music being different from other pursuits. But I'm not interested so much in that, as in the process the human being utilizes to learn that information. In other words, what the person actively chooses to process.

Originally Posted By: wr
Thanks for reminding me of why I have PMs turned off. If what you have to say can't be said in the public thread, I don't want to hear it.

I can say it in public. Sometimes, it's simply a matter of comfort with the information that is going to be disclosed. (In other words, "It's not you; it's me.") wink

Quote:
Since we were discussing ability, and not fame, there's no reason I can see that Old Man would have suddenly changed the focus to be about fame, with no warning. But if you want to talk about fame, that's fine - why not start a new thread about it?

Don't need to. Old Man cleared up perfectly what it was he meant -- and it was something entirely different from either of my initial thoughts. 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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#2086114 - 05/21/13 04:07 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Derulux]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Derulux
And if I had only learned how to learn to play chess, I could kick Garry Kasparov's ass? Who knew????



Good morning. Does anyone know the Austrian author Stefan Zweig?


Edited by landorrano (05/21/13 04:07 AM)

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#2086126 - 05/21/13 05:29 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: mermilylumpkin]
bennevis Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4838
Maybe we should all get back to basics (as a politician would say grin).

If one denies the existence of innate talent, it would mean that if a child does brilliantly at, say, maths at school, it's because he/she puts in the hours, he's been taught well, and he likes the subject and therefore puts all his energy into it. Nothing to do with talent, or innate aptitude. Is that the drift that some people here are saying?

Because, conversely, if a child is poor at maths, he only has himself to blame (or his teacher isn't doing his job properly - but we wouldn't say that about the teachers, would we? wink ) - it's nothing genetic after all. Nothing to do with the fact that his brain isn't wired up in a manner that would make maths easily understandable - because that would be in his genes. He's obviously not working at it, not putting in the hours, or simply not studying the subject properly.
He obviously needs to buck up if he wants to work in CERN when he grows up......

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#2086177 - 05/21/13 09:17 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Old Man]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11572
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Old Man

So, if I would only "learn how to learn", all would be well? That's the magic formula?

It is an elusive formula, and a powerful one. You may call it magic if you wish.

Originally Posted By: Old Man

Just curious, however. Who exactly passed this magic formula on to you?

I bet it was
Click to reveal..
experience
and
Click to reveal..
encounters of the right kind

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#2086222 - 05/21/13 11:49 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: wr]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11572
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: wr

I think that, for some people, learning how to play piano is quite a bit different than learning how to draw stick figures. ..... It is quite likely that learning musical things feels more natural to them than drawing stick figures feels, as if they have some mysterious affinity for music, but not for drawing.

I can relate to what you are saying, both for myself, and in regards to my two children who are now adults. I also relate to what Derulux is saying, and believe it is very important and potent for anyone want to play (or achieve anything) well. People are wired differently, so that they are drawn to this or that, or relate more to a linear or global presentation, or oral or visual, or whatever - we are not mass produced empty bottles waiting to be filled the same way. So the teaching and learning strategies and environment etc. are also interacting back and forth with the individual person. But the exposure, environment, teaching also play a role. And while learning strategy might come from the individual and good instinct have an influence on that too. That's back to Derulux.

Derulux wrote some things which I find exceedingly important, and they are things that I have been after since learning of them. That is, that there are ways of learning and doing, strategies and approaches if you will, which will cause you to achieve things, and we can spend a lifetime being outside of that. I think, wr, that maybe your person with the natural feel will recognize and be able to draw things out of the teaching faster when there is teaching, because he already knows what to pay attention there. But some type of transmittal of knowledge has to be there. Can someone learn to read without learning the relationship of D to the key between two black keys? Well yes and know - I'll tell my weird story, which might give some different perspectives.

I learned two things in music when I was small, and then nothing for 40 years. We sang to a solfege board when I was about 8 so I internalized the structure of major and relative minor as sound. I knew where C was on a page and on the piano. Nothing else. I was given a recorder, a mouth organ, and then a little keyboard and finally a piano. No teacher, no lessons. I got an old book of sonatinas, mostly Clementi - Mr. Diatonic and "basic sonata form" himself. I sang my way up and down the sonatinas. Children absorb the structure of language and I absorbed things from this - and my relationship (playing, "reading", hearing) to music formed from this.

Decades later I took lessons for the first time on a new instrument, violin, and progressed quite fast until it all unraveled a year later. There were all kinds of twists and turns, false steps, interacting with teachers and musicians here and there. An old teacher in his 80's told me something which two more then said in different words. He said I'd have a hard time because of this combination: a strong instinct in music that grasped things instantly, and no foundations in anything for decades. This gave me a map: to seek the most fundamental things in everything (technique, theory, strategy) - I hypothesized that answers lay there. Strategy (Derulux) also fits in here.

I can give two concrete examples to make this more clear: reading and technique. Btw, I got a piano again around that time.

Reading: Here's what instinct + environment gave me. I was at home in diatonic (most) music which I perceived along the framework of major / natural minor scales (modal like the monks). I heard the music that I read. I anticipated where it would go, and had internalized patterns of all kinds. This came together with visual clues: a phrase repeated in the dominant key will have the same "shape" of notes. Modulations are pepperings of accidentals. I heard mostly along melodic lines, but also the harmonic implications (ti - do = V7-I). I had followed various voices in Bach chorales by ear even when little, delighting in what they did. Anyway, I had all that. My "reading" was a mix of scanning the page for general impressions (modulation starts here), anticipating where the music would go, reconstructing it, hearing it in relative pitch (It could be in C major and I'd play it in G major and never know). My way of "sight reading" consisted of hearing the music like a singer, and then reaching for the sound on whatever instrument - like the sound shines out in that vicinity.

You can do an awful lot with that, and I did. In fact, it took 3 years of lessons before figuring out through a chance event that I didn't "read" in any normal way. Ultimately it's a handicap. Derulux talks about willingness to change habit: that's where I'm at.

What I didn't have were these things: D is a pitch and note in and of itself. I perceived it as Do of D major, Sol of G major etc. It's like seeing the postman, the neighbour, Mary's husband, and never seeing him as always Charlie. I did not know that people see D on the page and reach for a spot on the piano that is D. I could play D7-G, E7-A, G7-C and they were "the same" even if I used them correctly in music. The lack of these are handicaps. Moreover, it's not just a matter of "learning" them. Your entire way of relating to notes and music has to change at the level of your senses and your physical actions. --- And when you do that, at first you will be clumsy, slow, awkward, because this is all foreign and undeveloped. You know you could "zip through" (diatonic) music, playing it fluently using your old tricks.

I am hoping to show how the two views both interrelate. My "instinct" gave me a lot of strategies and insights. But without exposure to true and tried things that work, I couldn't enter that world. At this point I can sight read piano music fairly well though it's still developing, and I wouldn't trade it for the old way for any amount of money.

Technique: 40 years ago I had a piano, envisioned the sound I wanted to hear, but never saw anyone play it. I reached for the sound any which way and was totally unaware physically. My staccato was crisp and sharp, the legatos were legato and climbed in crescendo for the music I played. That same staccato was tensed forearm and hot-stove pecking. The legato was fingers only with the hands drilling into the keyboard the louder it got. That spells limitation and injury. This is what instinct minus environmental support will get you. Essentially I have to relearn almost everything I have done on the piano physically. That means that when you visualize the music becoming louder, you don't allow the reflex to come in that says "tense and push" (or whatever), and you have to replace it with other reflex you have to learn. You may have to become very deliberate and mechanical to get at these new motions. Which you have to acquire somewhere, somehow.

The last bit is STRATEGY - another thing Derulux stressed. This involves how to acquire the skills, how to apply them to the music, and it also involves how to approach and develop a piece of music. Whatever your instincts have led you to do which work, keep it. If you are spinning your wheels, see if there is something you could be doing differently, or why your wheels might be spinning. You may not like what that entails, and my decide not to go through with it. But these things do exist.

Ultimately regardless of whether talent exists or not, whether someone has this talent, it still comes down to what we need to learn in order to play music well on the piano, and how we are going to learn it. That's why the debate is a bit puzzling. It's like everyone has been hypnotized, "When you hear 'virtuoso' - argue." Not everyone who writes "virtuoso" means it literally or even knows what it means.

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#2086235 - 05/21/13 12:37 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: landorrano]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: Derulux
And if I had only learned how to learn to play chess, I could kick Garry Kasparov's ass? Who knew????



Good morning. Does anyone know the Austrian author Stefan Zweig?

Two things.. first, that's not my quote. wink

I've heard of Zweig, but I don't believe I ever read anything by him. Didn't he write the original "Twilight"? laugh


Keystring - do you mean to say, encounters of the 3rd kind? wink

And very nice post, by the way. Interesting what you did with "D" -- I had to do the opposite when I started learning to improvise.
_________________________
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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#2086255 - 05/21/13 01:29 PM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: Derulux]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11572
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Derulux

Keystring - do you mean to say, encounters of the 3rd kind? wink

If the 3rd kind is the right time, sure. smile Btw, to get at this "hiding thing" (someone asked), use the button that has an S with a diagonal slash. That's the "spoiler".
Quote:

And very nice post, by the way. Interesting what you did with "D" -- I had to do the opposite when I started learning to improvise.

It's been a weird journey and it still is. Anyhow, I think you need both, and then some more angles. Each way of viewing things is an adventure that brings you into new worlds. (Stopping before this becomes philosophical.)

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#2086531 - 05/22/13 12:27 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: landorrano]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3508
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: Derulux
And if I had only learned how to learn to play chess, I could kick Garry Kasparov's ass? Who knew????



Good morning. Does anyone know the Austrian author Stefan Zweig?


Yes, Schachnovelle is one of my favourite books!

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#2086537 - 05/22/13 12:45 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: landorrano]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8822
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: landorrano

Good morning. Does anyone know the Austrian author Stefan Zweig?

Indeed. He wrote the libretto for Richard Strauss's opera Die schweigsame Frau.

Alas, IMO, not one of Strauss's greatest operas, the music seems to have been written on auto-pilot.
_________________________
Jason

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#2086568 - 05/22/13 03:27 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: ando]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: ando


Yes, Schachnovelle is one of my favourite books!


Good morning. Yes that's the one I'm thinking of, The Chess Game. A great read, and those of the T-Party ( talent!! grin ) will enjoy reading about the chess prodigy.

Originally Posted By: argerichfan

Indeed. He wrote the libretto for Richard Strauss's opera Die schweigsame Frau.

Alas, IMO, not one of Strauss's greatest operas, the music seems to have been written on auto-pilot.


I didn't know that. Don't they say that Strauss was anti-Jew!!! Go figure.

By the way, Richard Strauss, child prodigy, composing as a small tyke. Father was musician, little Richard crawling under the legs of the musicians of the orchestra, feeling the tympani in the planks, hearing his father's horn reverberating in the hall, getting coddled by the sopranos and jostled on the knee of the baritones: that is what talent is.







Edited by landorrano (05/22/13 03:28 AM)

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#2086575 - 05/22/13 03:54 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
To add a word to my last post, and in response to something that WR wrote a couple of days ago:
Originally Posted By: wr

If everybody's the same at birth and talent doesn't exist, which is how I understand the anti-talent position, then we all are fundamentally equal to Beethoven or Michelangelo. Only environmental variables account for their achievements, and therefore it's only our bad luck in life and/or laziness that keeps us from operating at their level. Am I misunderstanding something there?




I consider that it is a relational question as much as an environmental one. I consider music as a relationship, a form of very intimate communication between human beings, the apprenticeship of an instrument as well. That is why exceptional musicians nearly always come from families with a musical actvity. Music and playing an intrument, learning to express one's self musically, learning to receive and to formulate a musical idea, are for a child like suckling his mother's breast. As says Michelangelo, the maternal milk thickened with marble powder.



Edited by landorrano (05/22/13 03:59 AM)

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#2086593 - 05/22/13 05:29 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: wr]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: wr
... a person with the musical genetic structure pointed out in the Finnish study of inheritable musical ability ...


So for my race of super-musicians, I have to go to Finland. Thanks for the tip!

But maybe they're already doing that, up in Lapland. Let me see, a quick search on the web ...

... indeed ! And with very encouraging results, it seems!


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#2086595 - 05/22/13 06:04 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: landorrano]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7767
Originally Posted By: landorrano
To add a word to my last post, and in response to something that WR wrote a couple of days ago:
Originally Posted By: wr

If everybody's the same at birth and talent doesn't exist, which is how I understand the anti-talent position, then we all are fundamentally equal to Beethoven or Michelangelo. Only environmental variables account for their achievements, and therefore it's only our bad luck in life and/or laziness that keeps us from operating at their level. Am I misunderstanding something there?




I consider that it is a relational question as much as an environmental one. I consider music as a relationship, a form of very intimate communication between human beings, the apprenticeship of an instrument as well. That is why exceptional musicians nearly always come from families with a musical actvity. Music and playing an intrument, learning to express one's self musically, learning to receive and to formulate a musical idea, are for a child like suckling his mother's breast. As says Michelangelo, the maternal milk thickened with marble powder.



Or, since families do pass along DNA, that could also be a source of why they are exceptional musicians.

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#2086599 - 05/22/13 06:49 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: keystring]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7767
Originally Posted By: keystring

Ultimately regardless of whether talent exists or not, whether someone has this talent, it still comes down to what we need to learn in order to play music well on the piano, and how we are going to learn it. That's why the debate is a bit puzzling. It's like everyone has been hypnotized, "When you hear 'virtuoso' - argue." Not everyone who writes "virtuoso" means it literally or even knows what it means.


Well, since, by definition, talent exists regardless of environmental variables, it will tend to express itself in anyway it can. Or, if totally stymied, maybe it won't.

In terms of playing classical piano at a high level, I don't think the question of talent revolves around having basic knowledge about how it all works being available early in life. The basic elements are simply prerequisites, rather than being the focus.

The debate, as I understand it, is about why some people, starting very early in life, exhibit a particular knack, skill, affinity, ability, whatever you want to call it, when it comes to music, and develop it faster than others with the same opportunity. And, specific to this forum, that debate would be in regard to playing classical piano, where there are innumerable examples of the phenomenon.

Myself, I think that "talent" encompasses a fairly wide range of ability, and being a virtuoso is only one of the ways in which it can be manifested. But, for the purposes of discussion here, using the world's great virtuosos as examples is simply the most convenient way point to the phenomenon. (And none of this has a lot to do with the OP, I don't think.)

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#2086684 - 05/22/13 09:43 AM Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!! [Re: King Cole]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11572
Loc: Canada
Wr, I don't know if you read my post in its entirety. You might have. I know it's long (but then some of yours have been too - anecdotal always tells me more), but it does try to spell out some things via what I've encountered.

Quote:
In terms of playing classical piano at a high level, I don't think the question of talent revolves around having basic knowledge about how it all works being available early in life. The basic elements are simply prerequisites, rather than being the focus.

No, the basics are not the focus, and it doesn't have to be available early in life. But if you're drawn to it on your own, then you may get at these elements in weird ways or skip them altogether. I've given examples from my own story, where both reading and technique have had consequences. I was interested in reading in the teacher forum a while back, where someone advised for a young talented child in question, to let that child go forward at the pace that was driving him, but to make sure that the basic elements would be caught a bit later.

Quote:
The debate, as I understand it, is about why some people, starting very early in life, exhibit a particular knack, skill, affinity, ability, whatever you want to call it, when it comes to music, and develop it faster than others with the same opportunity.

My focus tends to be practical, and if someone writes in wanting to know how to play music well, that's the part that matters. This debate doesn't give me anything, and there are way too many unknowns about these "some people".

The bottom line is that for the person who begins lessons when already adult, there is a host of traps that can get in the way. The first is the possible wrong idea of what playing and learning are about, magical thinking, trying to get at the whole, and whatnot. Or the opposite, a totally mechanical paint-by-number or step-by-step mentality.

But even if there is a good attitude, a trap crops up in the teaching. Typically the student comes in already playing, and the teacher says the "level" (of piece) he can play and continues from there, and maybe fixes this or that technical problem. The underlying skills are not built, the strategies are not taught, and they may be assumed to be there. One thing that I heard when I asked for certain things was "But you have it already." I had what was past it, or a part of it, but not the part that lay in the beginning. I think this is common regardless of any level of natural ability (which can also be broken down into specific abilities existing in music).


Quote:
Myself, I think that "talent" encompasses a fairly wide range of ability, and being a virtuoso is only one of the ways in which it can be manifested. But, for the purposes of discussion here, using the world's great virtuosos as examples is simply the most convenient way point to the phenomenon.

Some considerations astound me, because they would seem to be taken for granted, but end up having to be defined. This is one of them. But of course talent (potential) can be in any given area, or a number of them. Btw, "world's great virtuosos" bothers me in several ways. Firstly, you're talking about people who have gotten known, and how some get known and others don't is a whole other kettle of fish. And then I'm more interested in a musician - someone who makes music, with depth and substance - than a virtuoso, which as I understand it means technical proficiency. I may be wrong about that. But in any case, it is rare that any of us would know any of these people personally, there's the whole publicity factor which is necessary. I don't know if that's the best place to go.

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