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#458073 - 11/27/07 11:43 AM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
John Pels Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/07
Posts: 1253
Loc: Tomball, Texas
Well said Vcon. The year I got my gaduate degree, there were 2 full time teaching positions in 4 year colleges. The stipulations for these positions included "playing engagements with major symphonies, and 20 years teaching experience...." among others. I thought, well it's nice to know that there are jobs out there for...my instructor. There were no local community college positions available at the time, so I got off into private teaching.

The point I was trying to make was that all of the work in the world will not necessarily compensate for a lack of talent. I'm not saying I am not talented, or that Steven is not talented. What I am saying is that one needs to be practical when considering the "what are you doing the rest of your life" scenario. There is talent and then there is TALENT. My instructor was/is enormously talented and he still practiced hour upon hour daily. His discography speaks for itself. But with more talent to start with he's going to get a lot more bang for his buck out of those hours. Anyone that has been "to the mountain" knows what I mean.

It is really tough to confront yourself especially in the realm of the creative venture called music making. It is more important to know who you are rather than who you wished you were. Just because John could play Tchaikowsky in college at 21 doesn't mean that he's on a par with Kissin playing it at 13. It gets back to the 1% thing vs. that .01% thing. Then you get to asking how long it took to learn the piece, and you hear that for instance Nelson Freire can learn and perform a Tchaikowski 2nd in two weeks time from start to memory with orchestra in a public performance. There are folks out there with talent of really GREAT magnitude. How many of us can come close to competing with that?

All of the desire in the world and hard work cannot compensate for how we are hooked up out of the box. At this point I feel really blessed that I can apprehend the greatness manifested in some of the most difficult piano repertoire, and on a good day play them very well. Steven however is asking a VERY IMPORTANT question that will greatly impact his future, and his future earnings potential. All of the posts are well-intended for sure and from many differing perspectives. The power of positive thinking I have never minimized, but at heart, life has taught me to be a bit of a realist. Music is a force that compels you to pursue it, but that must be tempered with a healty dose of common sense. You don't need a degree in piano performance to be a wonderful pianist. You NEED a great teacher and a lot of work. Pick a sensible major and continue to take lessons in college.

Bread on the table is a good thing, along with a supportive family, a Lamborghini in the driveway and a Steinway in the living room.

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#458074 - 11/27/07 02:35 PM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
Steve Chandler Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2627
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
We've gotten away from the original topic , but the new topic is interesting to me as well. So here are my thoughts on both.

What's needed to play the piano at the highest levels is a combination of intellectual ability, athletic aptitude and personality. Intellectual ability is to some degree innate, but is also something that can be developed in a young child. Do any of you know that there are Kindermusik classes for newborns? The ability ro recognize and match pitch can start quite young (my son was matching pitch at 18 months, my daughter didn't until she was 5). I firmly believe that each of us comes into life with some inborn mission, but what we actually achieve is the result of environment and choices we make. Thus my son is a singer and my daughter has other talents. The inborn mission will to some degree impact how much work you'll put into a given field. That's why it takes the combination of ability, work and personality (the inborn mission part) because it takes a huge amount of work above and beyond ability. It also takes a supportive environment. We each find our own path and there are now easy answers no matter what direction we choose. If it's meant to be it will be and if not there's anyone can do that will change that.

To get back to the new aspect of the discussion, my son is a senior in high school this year. He's looking at a school where he can be a music business major, but the business part is in the university's business school (so he'll get a real busines education). If his music career doesn't fly he'll still have a normal business education. Given that his musical talent is singing this makes sense to me because you can only work a voice so many hours (like 2-3) before you use it up. With a business background there's any number of directions he can go. Don't know if he'll ever have a Lamboughini in the driveway though.

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#458075 - 11/28/07 09:50 AM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3405
Loc: US
words of wisdom from John Pels and Steve Chandler above. When you see that exceptional .01% TALENT as John described it, especially if it has been honed and polished by years of disciplined work-- it knocks you over the head. It's just orders of magnitude different from the type of talent in the 1% even if it is honed by 10k hours of work and all the other factors. But luckily as John said, the tent is big and there is room for talented musicians willing to work very hard to develop into very good to excellent players, performers, and teachers.


Sophia

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#458076 - 11/28/07 10:26 AM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
 Quote:
Originally posted by Arabesque:
I don't believe in talent. But when a child is praised at a young age and discovers something, he or she will go back to it. All of us can harness musicality or other ability if we have the confidence. [/b]
As a piano teacher, I find that statement false.

I have had many students, young and older, who have very little or no talent for the piano, and, try as they might, they simply cannot play, or they play very poorly.

One middle-age man studied with me for about 18 months. He was a beginner, and basically could do nothing right at the keyboard.

For example, we studied a simple one-note RH version of "Jingle Bells" and he could never even play the first four measures without murdering it. This after weeks of work. No rhythm, no sense of direction of the melody, almost no control over his hands....nothing. Putting both hands together (LH with a whole single note C) completely derailed him.

And he did try very hard...his lessons were for one hour a week, and we worked on that piece exclusively...it was unbelieveably bad. This from a successful and intelligent middle-aged businessman.

On the other hand, I have pupils (again, both young and older), who take to the piano quickly, and things just work out for them (if they practice) and they are soon playing well.

They take to reading music quickly, instinctively maintain good hand position, have little trouble putting both hands together, etc, etc. And, their playing is "musical", an intangible and somewhat unteachable quality much like some actors have stage presence and others do not.

Some of those good players I mentioned practice at or below the time involvement as the man mentioned above. In fact, with some folks, their talent is such that they do well without the necessary building in of theory and technique, and thus get ahead of themselves and see no need for building in a complete foundation.

Bottom line...Talent is an important component in the mix. And talent usually is a package of abilities, not just one.

As other posters have said, those with less than stellar talent (such as me) can make great strides by hard work. But to say that some form of the "talent package" is not necessary to playing well is false.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#458077 - 11/28/07 10:49 AM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8696
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by rocket88:
...those with less than stellar talent can make great strides by hard work. But to say that some form of the "talent package" is not necessary to playing well is false.
I completely concur.

To me, the old saying (encountered here on occasion) that great playing is 1% talent and 99% hard work is an utter idiocy. It's that "1%" talent which makes all the hard work pay off!

Therefore I would put the ratio at about 50-50.

Of course Liszt, Rachmaninov, Horowitz, Rubinstein, etc worked hard. But don't tell me they weren't massively talented.
_________________________
Jason

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#458078 - 11/28/07 05:36 PM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
hopinmad Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/07
Posts: 1001
Loc: Eryri/Manchester
I remain unconvinced about talent; it is too undefined I feel.

To say Liszt had talent say (don't get me wrong, I'm not saying he wasn't a genius!), means what? That he could understand music better, feel it, and know how it should sound? That his fingers were somewhow more dextrous and indepenent naturally? Or that he had a great mind, and could see the notes being played in his head maybe and therefore his fingers followed?

I believe only mental ability could vary between people (where piano playing is concerned), from which results obviously a very organized mind which would enable one to play notes quite easily.


But then again, that is how one without talent would see it, isn't it?
_________________________
Patience's the best teacher, and time the best critic. - F.F.Chopin

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#458079 - 11/28/07 06:00 PM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
T.S.R. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/08/06
Posts: 231
Loc: Chicago, IL
I somewhat find John's suggestion to double major something that seems arbitrary. First of all, to my knowledge, the more you focus on one thing, the better chance you have at being successful. So if you keep dividing yourself up into pieces, you're never gonna be top in one thing and you'll end up in middle-management (which is not to insult those that are, it's just that many of us young idealists here want something more out of life). I am in a similar position, where I don't have spectacular talent, and I am somewhat behind the elite, but I feel it would be a waste if I didn't try. I'm doing extremely well in school, I could've probably been looking at some Ivy Leagues if I didn't make this decision.

To explain once more, I decided to graduate high school my junior year and take a year to prepare for auditions. A lot can be done in that time during which I would've been going to school.

That said, I was still considering the thought of doing a double major, because I really like subjects in the social sciences. But in reality, a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy isn't going to be much more practical than a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance at your work place. You're not going to be discussing phenomenalism or subjective reality with your boss. So unless you want to get really good at using language and thought, and want to be become a philosopher or lawyer, it doesn't really matter.

As far as I see it, a bachelor's degree is still a bachelor's degree. I don't know what the exact statistic is, but I think something like 75% of college graduates don't even work in a field related to their major anyway.

That said, the United States has so many opportunities for career changes that you're not going to starve to death.

In any case, you can do graduate work in some other subject area, if music isn't working out. Or after 2 years at a conservatory you'll be able to better assess what your chances are of success. If you're in the fortunate position of being in a University setting, you can do a 5 year double degree if you'd like.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but that is the information I have figured out from various sources. I would like to find out, as a side note, if you need to go extra credits for graduate work in a different field.

In any case, I don't see a reason why people shouldn't pursue a dream, even if it is lofty and ambitious. No one ever became great without taking some risks.

You will of course get different advice from different people. With all due respect to all the older professors, teachers, and players in this forum, I don't think there's an issue with pursuing a performance degree. I know a trumpet major who is now an engineer, and his wife, whom he met at the conservatory, was a clarinet major and is not a dental assistant. They're not complaining.

With that, please correct me if the B.M. is not "equal" to a B.A. to potential employers in any fields.

One tip that I do have for people and that I will try for myself, is to master another language. Language skills are valuable to employers no matter what your position. I'm assuming big time companies will soak you up if you're bi or tri-lingual.

Whatever people's decisions may be, please remember words that my brother has told me recently - "The best investment is to invest in yourself". Get an education whether it be in science, a vocational field, IT, music, sociology or art history. I guarantee you you won't end up working at a Burger King for the rest of your life.

Sincerely,
Tom

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#458080 - 11/28/07 06:18 PM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8696
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by hopinmad:
I remain unconvinced about talent; it is too undefined I feel.
But that's the mystery of it. The "talent" that makes one player great may be entirely different in another great player.

Yet all this "hard work" rubbish... of course it's part and parcel of attaining greatness as a pianist, but you can't just take any old bloke off the street, make him work 11 hours a day and produce another Martha Argerich.
_________________________
Jason

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#458081 - 11/28/07 06:19 PM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
Max W Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/02
Posts: 2846
Loc: RHUL
I'll admit I haven't read the topic - so I'm just posting this blind. I think that hard work can achieve musical talent. And musical talent needs hard work. I'm not sure any musician can reach their potential if they don't put the work in, in every aspect. To get where you want to be, you basically just need to work hard to achieve it. Regardless of your innate abilities. Just like learning a language as a child in a sense...some kids pick up speech quicker than others, but to learn a language you typically need to study hard in order to *understand* what you are doing when you construct sentences (etcetcetc) in order to be fluent and accurately expressive. There are a lot of parellels with music there I think. (I like Chomsky's idea that language is innate in a sense, but I think Skinner saying that it needs to be conditioned etc applies just as strongly)

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#458082 - 11/28/07 06:26 PM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8696
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Max W:
To get where you want to be, you basically just need to work hard to achieve it...
Wow, Max! That in complete opposition to my post above yours!

We'll just have to agree to disagree on this. \:D
_________________________
Jason

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#458083 - 11/28/07 06:31 PM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
Reaper978 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/08/05
Posts: 1325
 Quote:
There is less room for those who don't want to work hard. (Although some still make it!)
Have you seen the (relatively) large number of musically ignorant hacks who are making millions off of pop culture?

 Quote:
I would say rather that playing the piano at a top level requires the guidance of an expert teacher to provide tough, often painful feedback complemented by effective and deliberate practice.
I think that is nonsense. One doesn't need their emotions and self-esteem dragged through the mud and stomped on at every lesson to become a great musician. To be forcefully pressed into a mold, perhaps, but that is your choice.

-Colin

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#458084 - 11/28/07 06:44 PM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
Max W Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/02
Posts: 2846
Loc: RHUL
 Quote:
Originally posted by argerichfan:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Max W:
To get where you want to be, you basically just need to work hard to achieve it...
Wow, Max! That in complete opposition to my post above yours!

We'll just have to agree to disagree on this. \:D [/b]
I said I posted blind didn't I! ;\)

I'll settle it with this - I wouldn't deny that some people are more innately talented and possibly are even DESTINED to follow a certain walk of life, due to their biological makeup. I just think that it's also possible to develop a talent through hard work (perhaps not as great a talent). I was a late starter at piano (13-14) and now that I've almost left teenagerhood, I think I've done alright for myself purely through willing myself to work hard and develop my understanding of music.

(having said that, I seem to have a natural gift for snooker, I just seem to get how the physics of it work easier than others so I don't need to think about it too hard, it's very natural. I also appear to have a natural gift for rambling..)

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#458085 - 11/28/07 10:05 PM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
-Frycek Online   confused
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
 Quote:
Originally posted by STEAVEN PAIK:
when I had to practice for 10hours. [/b]
So did Liszt.
_________________________
Slow down and do it right.

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#458086 - 11/28/07 10:10 PM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
-Frycek Online   confused
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
 Quote:
Originally posted by argerichfan:
 Quote:
Originally posted by hopinmad:
I remain unconvinced about talent; it is too undefined I feel.
But that's the mystery of it. The "talent" that makes one player great may be entirely different in another great player.

Yet all this "hard work" rubbish... of course it's part and parcel of attaining greatness as a pianist, but you can't just take any old bloke off the street, make him work 11 hours a day and produce another Martha Argerich. [/b]
Maybe no Martha Argerich, setting aside the necessity for a sex change operation, but if the old bloke actually liked the piano you could probably make a good working musician out of him.
_________________________
Slow down and do it right.

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#458087 - 11/28/07 11:58 PM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
computerpro3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/12/04
Posts: 367
Loc: Connecticut/Cincinnati
One thing people are missing is that there is different types of talents within the tent of "piano performing" in my opinion. I also believe some are more valuable than others.

I know it sounds obvious, but there is interpretational talent, sheer musicality, the communication/interpersonal relations factor, the technical talent, etc.

Some are more valuable than others, the way I see it. At school I see people playing Rachmaninoff's Third Concerto and other massively difficult peices. They handle it flawlessley, but no one wants to listen to them.

The winner of the concerto competition this year won with a rendition of Beethoven's 4th that wasn't technically perfect and fluctuated in tempo very noticeably, but it didn't matter because of the depth of his understanding of the peice. It was mesmerizing, where as several other technically perfect performances were not. Call it stage presence, the ability to communicate, or whatever you will, but there are some cases where an extraordinary amount of talent in one of these less obvious areas can be the difference.

I'd rather listen to someone "good" technically and profund musically that incredible technically and average musically.

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#458088 - 11/29/07 12:16 AM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3405
Loc: US
I find it interesting that most people have little trouble accepting that you need to be born with a great vocal apparatus to become a world class singer but that somehow the same principle doesn't apply to the piano. Yes, much hard work, many hours of practice and a will to succeed are also necessary to have a professional career, but without the basic physical apparatus, all the work in the world will not produce a Renee Fleming or Joan Sutherland, nor will it produce a Horowitz, Argerich or Richter. Somehow it's easier to see the obviousness of this with the voice rather than the piano-playing apparatus but I think it's equally true of both. That's not to say hard work is not needed but it's not going anywhere without the basic underlying physical and mental abilities (including musicality as in the post above).

Sophia

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#458089 - 11/29/07 12:25 AM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
Loki Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 1035
Loc: Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by Arabesque:
I don't believe in talent. But when a child is praised at a young age and discovers something, he or she will go back to it. All of us can harness musicality or other ability if we have the confidence. When we see some guy playing the piano and it is good, we remark he has talent. But he already built up his skills through constant practice and he has already got the attitude to succeed. Furthermore we consolidate that person's success by praising him.

I don't believe anyone sits down at a piano and plays instant performances. You want to justify your decision to drop classical piano because you were insecure. But it all in the mind. You have enough innate ability as anyone else but you yourself made the decision that you didn't have enough talent. And you now confirm your satisfaction with a normal career. That's also O.K. But you know it depends on your inner conviction about who you really are. [/b]
Even though hard work plays a large role in allowing one to excel at the piano, I think that denying talent exists is implying that everyone is equal. There are plenty of pianists who work very, very hard at the piano, yet it is still rather uncommon to see a virtuoso like, say Martha Argerich, who has prodigious technique and employs it so effortlessly. If talent did not exist, seeing pianists with that level of skill would be common, but it isn't. Not everyone was created equal.

I think talent determines a pianist's potential, and hard work is what determines how close they get to that potential. In my experience, I hear the remark that a pianist is talented when that pianist plays well just as often as when that pianist does not. It refers to what that pianist is capable of in the future and not necessarily what they are currently capable of.

Although I think that hard work is the majority of what makes someone good at the piano, I think that talent does exist and definitely plays a significant enough roll to be mentioned.
_________________________
Houston, Texas

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#458090 - 11/29/07 02:06 AM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8696
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
This has been an interesting thread to read, and I thank everyone for their input. At least there are a fair amount us who agree that there must be something -whatever it is- to act as a catalyst for hard work.

sophial's mention of singers is interesting. Having recently read Birgit Nilsson's ghosted autobiography (fascinating!), I was very impressed with how hard the lady worked. But no one would argue that there wasn't that "intangible" advantage she had.

I know a bit about this: I've worked with many singers, both in and out of the Anglican communion.
 Quote:
Originally posted by -Frycek:
Maybe no Martha Argerich, setting aside the necessity for a sex change operation...
LOL, after I posted, I figured someone would comment along those lines!

Perhaps mentioning Ms. Argerich and a "bloke" was rather sloppy, but she seemed an obvious example because it is well known here that I consider her one of the most stupendous pianists in history. The list of pianists of her generation which match her is very slim. Start with Pollini... not many others, though.

But my point stands: no amount of hard work from anyone is a guarantee that they will ever take on Argerich. No doubt she works hard, but not in the conventional sense. She learns music instantly (reportedly the slow movement of the Ravel concerto was learned and memorized after one read through), so thus the "hard work" is spent elsewhere.
_________________________
Jason

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#458091 - 11/29/07 05:03 AM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
Ragnhild Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 1117
Loc: Norway
Of course there are something called "talent".

If you have once seen/heard a real talent at young age you will know instantly, it's so stunning and leaves you with no doubts at all.

But talent is no guarantie for success, this is where the hard work comes in.....

"Normal" people with limited talent (like myself) can achieve a lot of things by hard work, but we never become legends.

But we can feel the joy when we se real talent and choose not to become envious like the "Salieri" character in Amadeus.... ;\)


Ragnhild
_________________________
Trying to play the piano:
http://www.box.net/public/dbr23ll03e

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#458092 - 11/29/07 05:24 AM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
Piano&Violin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/06
Posts: 356
Loc: Frankfurt, Germany
Steven Paik,

There's one thing you'll read about in the biographies of many most successful people: that there've been times when NOBODY except themselves believed in them and that they could do it and even laughed at them.

Whatever ingredient of talent may be needed - you must have some of that, otherwise you'd never made it to the point you did make! - above all it takes hard work, the right instruction, and it takes PERSISTENCE!

If you feel, there's a path you should follow, by all means do what you can to follow that path. If you are not sure what is right for you, pause for another while until you are sure, and when you have the answer, go ahead whatever it is. There are times when you need to take other people's advice, and there are times when you ignore it and follow your inner voice.

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#458093 - 11/29/07 05:50 AM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
Nikolas Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 4991
Loc: Europe
Hmmm...

If I was to believe in talent (which I do in a sense) I'd say that it takes 1% of everything we do. The rest is hard work, try, society, family, schooling, etc...

Definition of talent (for me, personally, not officialy, right?): The tendency[/b] to do something better than something else.

Academicaly, education accepts that different people have different parts of their brain stimulated more. I've never had much chance with... basketball no matter how hard I tried. Never. But music? yup!

I'm a music minded person (math as well, but not linguistic or sports really).

But, what makes me wonder:

a. My father used to put me to sleep by playing the piano or the guitar.
b. He taught us the recorder in the age of 3.
c. He was listening to A LOT OF music in the house.

I can never be sure if this tendency that I have (Which I've practiced to the full extend of course) is a result of a gene, and my "talent", or before I was even born, when my mother was aching and my father would sing to her (and me, in her woomb) to calm ME down! (<-nice story, huh?)

In the end, one thing is for sure. Talent or not talent, without hard work you can't make it. If you don't have talent if you do try hard, you can go rather far, but with talent and no work you'll end up nowhere.
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#458094 - 11/29/07 06:18 AM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
SideShow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/07
Posts: 150
Loc: Belgium
Some small percentages you give for talent

I think it's more than 1%, more than 10, even more than 20% ... Talent is very important ..

Let's take a person with a magnificent talent and a person with very little talent. They both work very hard ... In the end, the person with the magnificent talent will be LOTS better than the other one.
And the more time that passes, the more obvious the difference will be
_________________________
Notes are easy, music is hard
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

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#458095 - 11/29/07 06:45 AM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
Piano&Violin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/06
Posts: 356
Loc: Frankfurt, Germany
I listened to an interview with Mr. Tiriak, who was Boris Becker's trainer for 10 years, and who trained him when Becker won at Wimbledon. One of the inevitable questions asked was "what is it that makes you successful, talent or work?" Tiriak's answer was a crystal-clear "work and the right instruction".

Which, although that's not part of the focus in this thread, tells me, a good teacher, in addition to the work of course, is by far more important than talent!

On the other hand, there sure are restrictions e.g. a person's body offers, look at the height of a typical baseball champ, and "talent" sure does play a role if you're keen on playing the piano but barely notice the difference between a minor third and an octave ...

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#458096 - 11/29/07 07:14 AM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
Nikolas Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 4991
Loc: Europe
 Quote:
Originally posted by SideShow:
Some small percentages you give for talent
What? I can't have an opinion? ;\)

 Quote:
Let's take a person with a magnificent talent and a person with very little talent. They both work very hard ... In the end, the person with the magnificent talent will be LOTS better than the other one.
And the more time that passes, the more obvious the difference will be [/b]
Lets.

How will you differentiate talent from what the family provides? Take Bach (not Johann), for example, and stack him to a family with NO music inside. Would his "talent" be enough to make him what he was?

Take Beethoven and stack him of piano lessons, or the early pressure that his father put on him. Would his talent show and make him what he is?

Talent, as a word for me, is something that is natural, that's on the genes, that is god given if you will, but I simply don't buy that. I prefer to believe that I am mostly (<-read mostly, not completely) responsible to how my kids develope, and be left into the fate of this weird "talent" force which cannot be controlled...
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#458097 - 11/29/07 07:40 AM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
Piano&Violin Offline
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Registered: 04/06/06
Posts: 356
Loc: Frankfurt, Germany
Nikolas, recent research is all on your side, and so do I believe.

How can we say talent is a birth-given fact determining you until the end of times when research shows that even "minor" things such as a teacher's attention or unexpressed expectation make a huge difference?

Besides, how well can we trust those who say that you are talented or not, when they see talent and intelligence in most kids who come from a good social background and don't see it in a similar group from problematic social backgrounds and who recognize the talent again in a group which they are told is from a good social backgroud but actually comes to the problematic one?

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#458098 - 11/29/07 08:17 AM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
Ragnhild Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 1117
Loc: Norway
I think people with different answers to this also have different definitions of what "talent" is.
I would say "talent" is a combination af lot's of things, including physical abilities, intelligence, family background, psycological factors....etc

I am sure that there are a lot of young children that have the opportunity to become very good in music diciplines with a good teacher, cheerful environment and strong self dicipline. In 15 years you will find them as music teachers, organists, accompanists, in orchestras etc.

But the greatest of talents will stand out as child prodigies, I think there are hardly no exceptions.

Ragnhild
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#458099 - 11/29/07 08:31 AM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
Piano&Violin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/06
Posts: 356
Loc: Frankfurt, Germany
Ok, maybe we should include what we understand talent to be. I understand talent to be some inherent ability that you are born with and which is there regardless of whether you use/cultivate it or not, just like the ability of ones eyes to see.

I would clearly separate between "talent" and family background or other social factors. Quite the contrary, I would strongly oppose mixing it, as that would mean the socially disadvantaged would clearly come out "less talented" which in society is another way of saying "you're not good enough, don't even bother to try".

Again and again there have been strong personalies from poor backgrounds, breaking out of the "average expected development" which must have taken a degree of skill, knowledge, intelligence, and energy I can only admire, and adding more stereotypes would cost these even more strenghs.

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#458100 - 11/29/07 09:12 AM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
Ragnhild Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 1117
Loc: Norway
You can like it or not, but since musical skills is so much easier to achieve at early age, family background will be an important factor.

A 6 year old child of music teachers will probably have been surrounded by music for 2190 days of his life already and if he's interested he will already have skills that it will take newcomers years to achieve. He will also have the chance to develop absolute pitch and hand eye coordination skills that might be impossible to learn later on.

In our responsibility of being parents we will have to remember that we are the ones to raise our children and that our limitations to some degree also will be our childrens.
Of course school and kindergartens do a tremendous job helping and developing kids, but you will never see a tone deaf 12 year old evolve into a violin virtouso.

But, money is not the important factor here, you can not buy musicality.... ;\)

Ragnhild
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#458101 - 11/29/07 09:34 AM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
Piano&Violin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/06
Posts: 356
Loc: Frankfurt, Germany
 Quote:
Originally posted by Ragnhild:
You can like it or not, but since musical skills is so much easier to achieve at early age, family background will be an important factor[/b]
Ragnhild,

I can fully agree to that - just not that talent depends on family background and else, except through the genes, of course, but no other than that.

That there is a huge difference between fully supportive parents and careless ones, sure. Would never deny the responsibility that parents have.

But I do know, unfortunately, there're quite a few parents do don't care or who are unable to give their kids the proper care because they are sick or because they died very early. And to add the stigma of being called "untalented" to the burden the children from there families have to bear anyways is not ok in my opinion.

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#458102 - 11/29/07 09:44 AM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
Ragnhild Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 1117
Loc: Norway
It is an interesting discussion :

originally posted by Piano&Violin :
 Quote:
just not that talent depends on family background and else, except through the genes, of course, but no other than that. [/b]
Ok, I'm with you in the definition of talent, lets say it is something that is "programmed" already at your birth.

This means that none of us never achieve more than a tiny little part of what our born-with talent could have made us.
Even a great violin virtouso has to live with the fact that he might have become a surgeon instead and saved many lives.... ;\)

Ragnhild
_________________________
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