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#485386 - 11/30/07 01:18 PM Training beats Talent
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13759
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I have believed this for many years, and I believe very strongly that the same is true not just for academic subjects but for musical talent and training as well.

It's right in line with everything I've seen over the years. The "growth mind-set" is something I've seen in every good student I've ever worked with. (It's also something I see in myself. I've had a far more successful musical career than many people of greater talent, simply because I work hard.)

And now, there's some research on the subject:

The Secret to Raising Smart Kids
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#485387 - 11/30/07 01:38 PM Re: Training beats Talent
pianist.ame Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1166
Loc: Singapore
Yes, I believe in that as well. I have the talent for music but for many years in the area of playing the piano, it went uncultured and did help but just a little. After moving here, I got a new teacher and she saw my talent, took it and helped it grow at the same time pushed me to my limits, sometimes over the edge to see what I was capable off.

It was'nt so much of the talent but more of the extremely intensive training that I've had since I started piano under her. If i never moved here I guess i would have somehow reached this stage but not that soon and my pieces that I play would'nt be as refined and clean.
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#485388 - 11/30/07 01:46 PM Re: Training beats Talent
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Anecdotal research from what I can tell. Yes, enduring (or even having a talent to endure) boring mundane work WILL get you somewhere in a system where boring mundane work is rewarded. That's the only message I get from this 'research' and yes, plenty of it goes on in music.
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#485389 - 11/30/07 01:56 PM Re: Training beats Talent
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17746
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
Anecdotal research from what I can tell. [/b]
Actually, not. I'm very familiar with Carol Dweck's work, and she is respected in the field as a careful methodologist. In many of her studies, mastery vs. entity (what she calls helpless here) orientation is a measured variable, and thus those studies are limited in their ability to infer causality. However, she has also done studies where they have experimentally manipulated orientation, and randomly assigned participants to condition, and these studies support the correlational research. But it's careful empirical research and not at all "anecdotal." (She's writing the current article for a lay audience, so she sprinkles it with a lot of examples just to make her point, but it's based on empirical work.)

Kreisler, I tried hard to champion the "hard work" side in the talent vs. hard work thread, but the talent side appears to have won out. I guess I'm still convinced that hard work is by far the more important ingredient.
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#485390 - 11/30/07 02:01 PM Re: Training beats Talent
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Kreisler,

Thank you for the link to "The Secret of Raising Smart Kids".

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#485391 - 11/30/07 02:22 PM Re: Training beats Talent
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
I checked out some of Carol Dweck's writings. Here is a quote from an interview:
 Quote:
Finally, teachers can help students focus on and value learning. Too many students are hung up on grades and on proving their worth through grades. Grades are important, but learning is more important.
Tell that to the schools I've taught in. Learning was kicked out as league tables came in.

You and I, Monica, are on either side of a great divide. I have watched for decades as each new 'paradigm', 'theory', 'model', was foisted on classroom teachers - each one leaving practitioners more and more disempowered in its wake. Have you ever heard of Paul Hirst? He was the biggest thinker in the setting up of our post-war education system. I have sat in a seminar where he totally recanted his theories. Theories that have blighted millions of children's lives. 'My new theory...' he began.
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#485392 - 11/30/07 02:23 PM Re: Training beats Talent
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
there you go again, Kreisler!

Many thanks for this excellent article reference.

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#485393 - 11/30/07 02:32 PM Re: Training beats Talent
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
Tell that to the schools I've taught in. Learning was kicked out as league tables came in.

You and I, Monica, are on either side of a great divide. I have watched for decades as each new 'paradigm', 'theory', 'model', was foisted on classroom teachers - each one leaving practitioners more and more disempowered in its wake. Have you ever heard of Paul Hirst? He was the biggest thinker in the setting up of our post-war education system. I have sat in a seminar where he totally recanted his theories. Theories that have blighted millions of children's lives. 'My new theory...' he began. [/QB]
No one would argue that public education has been mis-managed, particularly in parallel and irresponsible 180 degree swings witnessed in the UK, The Netherlands, the United States and countless other "advanced" nations. However, that does not seem to me to be a valid reason to reject research results.

In marketing, some of the most difficult segmentation exercises are on consumer attitudes. In the social sciences I can understand the difficulty of attaching conclusions based on "mind sets", much less designing solid educational policies on these. Nevertheless, I found the article compelling and very usable in terms of designing National educational programs, corporate human resource management policies and support for aspiring performing pianists.

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#485394 - 11/30/07 02:40 PM Re: Training beats Talent
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Well I've read page two - The better results for 'those who feel effort is more important' goes without saying in, as I have said, a system that rewards effort over imagination.
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#485395 - 11/30/07 02:42 PM Re: Training beats Talent
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8818
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Monica K.:
I tried hard to champion the "hard work" side in the talent vs. hard work thread, but the talent side appears to have won out. I guess I'm still convinced that hard work is by far the more important ingredient.
I never said "hard work" wasn't important, just that I felt the "talent side" was being given short shift.

On the other thread I suggested 50-50. Might that bring us a bit closer? ;\)
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#485396 - 11/30/07 03:05 PM Re: Training beats Talent
U S A P T Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/20/06
Posts: 1645
Loc: An Indiana University
Could it be that innate talent(s) steer one towards whatever avocation that makes the unavoidable required work more fulfilling and less like "work?"
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#485397 - 11/30/07 03:07 PM Re: Training beats Talent
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Or steers you AWAY altogether?
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#485398 - 11/30/07 03:13 PM Re: Training beats Talent
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
In fact, would anyone like to guess how many times the word imagination appears in this 5 page net-article?
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#485399 - 11/30/07 03:31 PM Re: Training beats Talent
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1785
Loc: Central TX
The problem with statements such as what started this thread I think is two fold.

Firstly, the statement itself is so vague as to nearly be meaningless. What is the quantitative measure for "talent"? I think everyone will agree that generally, if you practice something, you will get better. So you have people with different levels of talent that will allow them to improve at different rates. So lets say that you are going to try to measure this. You establish a baseline ability (B), and then you measure "improvement" by practice as the rate in which a person improves (V). So a more "talented" person will likely have a higher B and a higher V. Lets say a "less talented" person starts at B/2 and their ability to improve for a given amount of practice is V/2. It follows that if the lesser talent practices 5x the amount of the more talented person, that it is very possible for them to catch and surpass the "more talented" person. I understand this is a gross simplification, but I don't see where there is any real argument here? There will always be outliers of course. Seems to me that this only really becomes an issue if you speak of "potential".

Secondly, people have made mention of "success", and again, this is a very vague measure. Successfulness doesn't necessarily relate to ability, so exactly what are we measuring here?

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#485400 - 11/30/07 03:53 PM Re: Training beats Talent
Glaswegian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 278
Loc: Glasgow, Scotland
Labelling Talent and Improvement as variables and then plugging them in to a simple linear euqation model to calculate who is best simply doesn't wash.

Firstly these things aren't mathematically equation variables and can't be easily meaused, and even if they could the relationship certainly wouldn't be linear.

Genius, talent, intelligence et al. - sometimes an individual just "knows" or just "can" and other individuals just "don't get it" or "can't", and no amount of work/practice will ever change that.

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#485401 - 11/30/07 03:58 PM Re: Training beats Talent
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Wow! You wait ages for a scientist then two come along at once! Thanks guys (girls?).
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#485402 - 11/30/07 04:50 PM Re: Training beats Talent
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1785
Loc: Central TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by Glaswegian:
Labelling Talent and Improvement as variables and then plugging them in to a simple linear euqation model to calculate who is best simply doesn't wash.

Firstly these things aren't mathematically equation variables and can't be easily meaused, and even if they could the relationship certainly wouldn't be linear.

Genius, talent, intelligence et al. - sometimes an individual just "knows" or just "can" and other individuals just "don't get it" or "can't", and no amount of work/practice will ever change that. [/b]
Actually the equations were to illustrate a point, not to represent reality. Obviously peoples abilities don't improve at a linear rate, but you can find a best fit line over a reasonable period of time to create some general observations. Plus I stated that there are always outliers, those that are "exceptional" and those on the opposite end of the spectrum. Even then you can plot a line that has either an extremely steep slope or extremely flat.

But anyway, my point was simply that as a general rule, hard work _can_ (not necessarily will) equalize performance assuming the "more talented" party is not working at a high enough rate to keep the "less talented" person from surpassing them. And that this seemed pretty evident and obvious.

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#485403 - 11/30/07 04:53 PM Re: Training beats Talent
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1785
Loc: Central TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
Wow! You wait ages for a scientist then two come along at once! Thanks guys (girls?). [/b]
If you're referring to me:

Young persons response: I'm not a scientist, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Old fogey response: I'm not a scientist, but I do play one on tv.

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#485404 - 11/30/07 05:06 PM Re: Training beats Talent
Glaswegian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 278
Loc: Glasgow, Scotland
"As a general rule, hard work can equalise performance".

This statemenet is simply not true. Hard work most certainly can and does improve ability but in absolutely no way can you try to infer or conclude that if everyone does a different amount of work to compensate for different levels of starting ability that everyone will end up the same. That is clearly nonsense.

I think a more accurate general rule would be that the harder you work the better you will get.

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#485405 - 11/30/07 05:07 PM Re: Training beats Talent
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
When one looks at world-class pianists, most people would say they're talented. If these piansts and taken one month of lessons, then never played again, they would likely not be up on stage.

I think talent is only 'potential talent,' until it is brought out, developed, nurtured and allowed to grow. How much of this potential is eventually realized is dependent upon training, time, persistence and hard work.

I believe its a term used for people who are on the extreme end of the learning curve spectrum. They are able see what others do not and do what others can not and do both with far greater speed and efficiency than the rest of us. Personally, I think their brains are just wired differently than the average Joe.

Those that recognize they have this gift have a choice. They can either use it to their advantage or choose to waste it. They either recognize they can if they want to, or choose not to want to.

The latter is sad.

I have no doubt that hard work will get you much further than a mediocre effort. All other things being equal, can hard work alone and no talent produce the same results as talent (you're not born with) combined with hard work? Unfortunately, I don't think it can.

I wish I were talented, but I'm not. Hard work will just have to do.

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#485406 - 11/30/07 05:24 PM Re: Training beats Talent
Eternal Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/06
Posts: 1285
Loc: Posts: 80,372
"If you knew how much work went into it, you wouldn't call it genius." - Michelangelo

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#485407 - 11/30/07 05:33 PM Re: Training beats Talent
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1785
Loc: Central TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by Glaswegian:
"As a general rule, hard work can equalise performance".

This statemenet is simply not true. Hard work most certainly can and does improve ability but in absolutely no way can you try to infer or conclude that if everyone does a different amount of work to compensate for different levels of starting ability that everyone will end up the same. That is clearly nonsense.

I think a more accurate general rule would be that the harder you work the better you will get. [/b]
How is that "clearly nonsense"? A general rule never implies "everyone". It simply means that if you take some reasonable sampling of individuals, that you would expect to see the results stated following some statistical distribution (e.g. a bell curve). Of course this can vary significantly by population chosen and ability being measured (5'8" folks will generally never be able to dunk a basketball as well as a population of 6'8" folks no matter how hard they practice/train, however their ability to make free throws will show different results)

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#485408 - 11/30/07 05:47 PM Re: Training beats Talent
Glaswegian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 278
Loc: Glasgow, Scotland
It is clearly nonsense because in general, people will improve if they work hard, but in general people will ABSOLUTELY NOT converge to a similar level of ability.

As a Statistics graduate, I know all about sample populations and bell curves. Indeed, if I carefully select the right sample I can "prove" that storks bring babies!!

You unpick your own argument by refering to these very bell curves. If you have a group fo people with a similar level of ability and then they all put in the same level of hard work, you would expect to see differing levels of ability at the other end i.e. a bell curve, or normal distribution of results.

The same result would occur if you had a group of varying levels of ability and they put in varying levels of hard work. With a large enough sample size, you would again expect to see a normal distribution of ability at the end of the experiment.

Your "general rule" would result is a very long flat line section in the centre where most people's ability to perform has equalised.

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#485409 - 11/30/07 06:06 PM Re: Training beats Talent
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1785
Loc: Central TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by Glaswegian:
It is clearly nonsense because in general, people will improve if they work hard, but in general people will ABSOLUTELY NOT converge to a similar level of ability.[/b]
Never said that there would be convergence, you're twisting my original point. It was about ones ability to overcome a lack of "talent" by hard work, and how this can allow someone of lesser talent to overcome/match someone of greater talent if the person of lesser talent works at a rate that is sufficiently more than the person of greater talent. AGAIN, there will ALWAYS be exceptions, but it is certainly possible and in a great many number of cases.


As a Statistics graduate, I know all about sample populations and bell curves. Indeed, if I carefully select the right sample I can "prove" that storks bring babies!![/b]

Lies, damn lies ....


You unpick your own argument by refering to these very bell curves. If you have a group fo people with a similar level of ability and then they all put in the same level of hard work, you would expect to see differing levels of ability at the other end i.e. a bell curve, or normal distribution of results.
[/b]

All you've proved is that they have differing levels of what, in this thread, is called talent. Different members of your population improve at a higher rate given the same amount of work resulting in your bell curve.


The same result would occur if you had a group of varying levels of ability and they put in varying levels of hard work. With a large enough sample size, you would again expect to see a normal distribution of ability at the end of the experiment.

Your "general rule" would result is a very long flat line section in the centre where most people's ability to perform has equalised.
[/b]

But we're not discussing random abilities and random levels of work. We're talking specifically about a specific group ("talented") putting in a bound qty of work (less than) another specific group ("less talented") and seeing if and when the ability lines of the two groups intersect (at what pct does the less talented group have to work harder than the more talented to allow for the line to intersect in some reasonable time frame).

But beyond all the mumbo jumbo, yes, it certainly is _possible_ for one of "lesser" talent to surpass those of "greater" talent by simply working harder than those who have greater talent. That's been the point all along and so far I don't think anyone disagrees (other than to bring up outliers). Do we agree on this?

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#485410 - 11/30/07 06:19 PM Re: Training beats Talent
Glaswegian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 278
Loc: Glasgow, Scotland
I wasn't trying to twist your original point. I was just interpretating what you wrote and disagreeing with it. The beauty of the written word - the same words mean different things to different people!!

Anyways, it's perfectly possible that someone who regarded as being less talented than another individual can, woth hard work end up a much more able performer. This is true in all walks of life, not just piano.

What I would still disagree with is that you can somehow put this in to an equation and most peole who are less talented and who work harder than more talented people can, as a rule catch up.

The reason I diagree with this general rule is that innate ability, talent or whatever you want to call it is so difficult to quantify in the first place, and there are so many other variables to take in to account that simply more hard work is not enough to bridge such a gap as a general rule.

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#485411 - 11/30/07 06:26 PM Re: Training beats Talent
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1785
Loc: Central TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by Glaswegian:
I wasn't trying to twist your original point. I was just interpretating what you wrote and disagreeing with it. The beauty of the written word - the same words mean different things to different people!!

Anyways, it's perfectly possible that someone who regarded as being less talented than another individual can, woth hard work end up a much more able performer. This is true in all walks of life, not just piano.

What I would still disagree with is that you can somehow put this in to an equation and most peole who are less talented and who work harder than more talented people can, as a rule catch up.

The reason I diagree with this general rule is that innate ability, talent or whatever you want to call it is so difficult to quantify in the first place, and there are so many other variables to take in to account that simply more hard work is not enough to bridge such a gap as a general rule. [/b]
Ah yes, we generally ;\) agree then (even if it's to agree to disagree on some points).

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#485412 - 11/30/07 06:29 PM Re: Training beats Talent
Glaswegian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 278
Loc: Glasgow, Scotland
I'll tell you what would be interesting - to gather 2 groups of pianists that fall in to these 2 categories and give it a whirl. That would be fun.

Who knows, I might learn something!!

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#485413 - 11/30/07 06:34 PM Re: Training beats Talent
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1785
Loc: Central TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by Glaswegian:
I'll tell you what would be interesting - to gather 2 groups of pianists that fall in to these 2 categories and give it a whirl. That would be fun.

Who knows, I might learn something!! [/b]
Ahh, but that would lead to endless discourse on how to place them in the proper bins \:D

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#485414 - 11/30/07 06:37 PM Re: Training beats Talent
Opus_Maximus Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/04
Posts: 1478
IMO, the truest statement regarding this topic :

“Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.”
-Mozart

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#485415 - 11/30/07 06:41 PM Re: Training beats Talent
hyonchingonchon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/24/07
Posts: 148
Everyone who can work for something has talent.
_________________________
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