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#458163 - 12/04/07 05:52 PM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
Brendan Offline



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5325
Loc: McAllen, TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by phonehome:
I talked to Stanislav Ioudenitch this weekend... [/b]
You were at Wideman? I had like 8 friends who did it this year (two very good friend of mine were prizewinners) and was thinking about trying again myself. I heard that it was a massacre, as it always is, lol.
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#458164 - 12/04/07 07:20 PM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
chopin952 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/20/06
Posts: 492
Loc: North Carolina
This thread is very interesting. I have always heard from my parents, teachers, and elders that:
talent + hard work = success[/b].

Though I have a question regarding age. If you have any amount of talent and can put in a constant amount of quality meaningful work per day, at what point does your age start to diminish your mental and physical capacities to prevent you from taking advantage of that raw talent?

That is, is it the same increase in skill for an 18 year old to study intensly for 4 years as it is for a 30, 40, 50 year old? Assuming no impairing conditions (arthritis, Alzheimer, etc...)

Another way of looking at it is: Did Horowitz practice and gain further ability from age 76 to 86 as he did from age 26 to 36?

Maybe the equation turns into:
talent + hard work - age = success[/b]
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#458165 - 12/04/07 09:29 PM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
yhc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/31/04
Posts: 150
Loc: NYC, NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by chopin952:
...
talent + hard work - age = success[/b] [/b]
maybe
talent + hard work = capability[/b]
capability + luck(?) = succes[/b]

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#458166 - 12/04/07 10:13 PM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
phonehome Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/06
Posts: 921
 Quote:
Originally posted by Brendan:
 Quote:
Originally posted by phonehome:
I talked to Stanislav Ioudenitch this weekend... [/b]
You were at Wideman? I had like 8 friends who did it this year (two very good friend of mine were prizewinners) and was thinking about trying again myself. I heard that it was a massacre, as it always is, lol. [/b]
Yeah. It was crazy this year. 40 really really good pianists. 6 pianists that just had really bad days (I was one of them). I thought Christopher Falzone from Curtis should have taken the top prize. He played Rachy 2, which had been performed by probably 7 people in the prelims. When I heard him play it, it was as if it were the first time I'd ever heard the piece. What an artist!!!!!

The guy who played Prokofiev's 2nd in finals did very well, but it wasn't transcendent. The guy who played Tchaikovsky's 2nd did about as well as you can do with that horrible horrible piece. I'd love to hear him play something with a little melody. Bartok's 2nd won. The girl who played it was lovely and I thought she played it well and made it sound managable. It's just that I felt Falzone took everything to a whole new level. He was simply spectacular. Very little ego, wonderful wonderful shaping, nearly flawless technique, bla bla bla yakkity shmakkity.

Anyways, didn't mean to hijack the thread.

My hands really really hurt right now. Time to rest.

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#458167 - 12/05/07 03:12 AM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7974
I must be really really old-fashioned, but I'm kind of amazed that there's so much talk about stuff like expertise studies in this thread, and more than a few side trips into totally unrelated fields such as sports and games, as if they had some relevance, but there's practically zilch about the actual art of making music. At least there were some attempts to define talent as multi-faceted, and comments that maybe people weren't even talking about the same thing.

And, no, I can't define talent, either, although talking around it can be a start at pointing towards what it is, even without arriving at a definition.

Are we talking about musical art and the capability to produce art when we talk about talent? Or is it about just the craft of playing the piano, which is a skill that hard work can sometimes hone to a very nicely sharpened edge (and sometimes even provide the means for a good career even although the person may only have quite modest musical talent)? To me, that distinction seems to be the major difference in some of the points of view in this thread, and they really aren't about the same thing at all. Being "expert" at playing the piano is a craft that is rather far removed from most issues regarding talent, IMO. But yes, being expert at it to some degree is required for the musical talent to be manifested (which seems something of a no-brainer to me). But, on the other hand, there have been world-class pianists who claimed not to work at it, once they'd learned how to play.

I think it's cruel to tell people that sheer hard work can substitute for talent, if there's any chance they'll take what you say as motivation to work hard. At best, hard work can take a relatively minor talent (yes, talent comes in sizes and qualities) and allow it to flourish to its fullest (and unfortunately, sometimes beyond, as when a small talent leverages mere technical expertise into the illusion of a larger talent - I can think of several cases of phenomenon who are currently performing).

I think of talent for performing classical music as almost a visionary sort of thing, where people (usually from a very young age) demonstrate that they are able to grasp what the music is about in ways that might be described as instinctual and intuitive, and are able to take that understanding of it and apply it to their performing and somehow turn t around and communicate what they know. It is NOT something that seems to the person who has it to be acquired by work, but seems to be something they always have had, although it grows and deepens with experience. That is not something you can get via hard work. I think for a very talented person, the hard work essentially consists of trying to get their performance to match their vision of what the music is and/or can be, but without that talent, hard work is more like hoping to create the vision from without (and it usually won't work, I don't think).

wr

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#458168 - 12/05/07 03:36 AM Re: musical talent vs hard work..
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Good distinction wr. I've always assumed the 'talent' in this topic to mean mostly a physical attribute. You don't get many discussions at PW about art. Art for me is imagination - a word most people don't know the meaning of. The irony is that's all you need to know to be an artist.
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