Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Topic Options
#930235 - 02/04/09 01:22 PM "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
accidental Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/18/09
Posts: 17
Loc: Garden City, MI
Do you believe in natural musicianship? If so, how much stock do you put in it? Does it change your approach to a student?

And on the other hand, how far study and hard work carry you if you don't have "it"?

No specific reason, just a question that I've been pondering.

Top
(ad) My Music Staff
Check out the new way to manage your music studio
#930236 - 02/04/09 01:28 PM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
Sal_ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/08
Posts: 355
Loc: Lacey, WA
no/yes...

Some people seem to get it, some don't.

How much do I put in it, not a whole lot, but it does change my approach. I have much higher expectations for my "better" students. But then, I have high expectations for all my students... for some, that just means having practiced.

Top
#930237 - 02/04/09 03:56 PM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
I see a lot of kids who have really good coordination. They make good pianists. Whether it is nature or nurture I couldn't say.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


Top
#930238 - 02/04/09 04:49 PM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
cardguy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 977
I'm actually a bit surprised this is a debatable question. It seems to me, could be way off base of course, that musical ability is as genetic and God-given if you will, as artistic ability (in the drawing sense), writing ability, or for that matter mechanical ability.

That's not to say that good old hard work won't make up for natural deficits, but only to a certain extent. I've substantially more musical ability than my wife...better ear, better rhythmic sense, more expressive ability, while she has it all over me as a painter, for just one dumb example from my own life..

Top
#930239 - 02/04/09 05:11 PM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
Bob Newbie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/06
Posts: 1549
At age 10 I wanted to play guitar a big fan of Chet Atkins I bought his records and learned chords and some finger picking..one day I decided to take lessons..a great jazz player from the 1940s..started to teach me..for the life of me no matter what he tried I couldn't get the hang of it
reading off a chart!..the odd thing was he heard me playing in the waiting room between lessons
and marveled..then said how come you can't play like that from the chart? and here it is 45 yrs later..I taught myself by ear the piano..and still can't read the piano charts..I only know the Chord Symbols! as long as I heard a recording of the song I remembered the tempo & melody \:D

Top
#930240 - 02/04/09 05:42 PM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
accidental Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/18/09
Posts: 17
Loc: Garden City, MI
Changed the header and tweaked my original post a bit...

Top
#930241 - 02/05/09 01:21 AM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
You still need a good teacher no matter what.

Sure, some take to it more easily than others, but really, it doesn't matter, music is for everyone and everyone has to work hard to attain ability.

Some of my slower learners amazingly catch up and play better than what were my quick learners.

If you want it you can achieve it.

You had asked: "Do you change your approach as a teacher for those that seem more natural to musicianship? My answer: No.

Those that are more natural take on more knowledge at a quicker pace and move ahead in rep faster. The slower ones play well but move along at a slower pace. I really don't change anything that I do. I go along with *their* natural pace.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

Top
#930242 - 02/05/09 01:25 AM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Originally posted by cardguy:
I'm actually a bit surprised this is a debatable question. It seems to me, could be way off base of course, that musical ability is as genetic and God-given if you will, as artistic ability (in the drawing sense), writing ability, or for that matter mechanical ability. [/b]
Nobody's plumbed the depths of infant development. There's still very little evidence for nature/nurture. I know in language acquisition amazing things happen between birth and 9 months (i.e. by 9 months it's just about all over bar the shouting)
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


Top
#930243 - 02/05/09 02:17 AM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2846
Loc: UK.
You really need both talent and hard work. Either one without the other will only get you so far.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

Top
#930244 - 02/05/09 03:09 AM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
But what is talent? Can it be developed?
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

Top
#930245 - 02/05/09 03:30 AM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2846
Loc: UK.
Talent is that (apparently) natural ability that some just seem to have and others don't.

I don't think it can be developed. You can go a long way without it if you are prepared to work very hard but there will always be something missing. For many people this doesn't matter.

I do think that you can go further with hard work than you can on talent alone.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

Top
#930246 - 02/05/09 04:18 AM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
I think "talent" is a very misleading word.. A lot of people that seem talented are that way because of early exposure. their grew up in musical family so music is more familiar to them.

If you grew up using English it would seem natural to you, but it may not come as easy for adults learning English for the first time. I dont think music is that much different than that.

the people who just doesn't seem to have it are that way because they never learned proper practice habits or their lack of success may stem from psychological roots like nervousness/ tension.

It's easy for adult to judge ones who have it and who doesn't.. I know some great jazz musicians who were thought of as "hopeless" when they were in college, nobody thought they would make it, and now they've surpassed pretty much everyone. And most accomplished musicians felt that they were lucky in having the circumstance they had growing up.

I read a study somewhere about how most professional practice anywhere from 5000-10000 hours to get to their point.. I think some people can achieve that kind of proficiency earlier or later depending on talent, but unless you are a genius, you have to work your @ss off to get to that level.

Top
#930247 - 02/05/09 04:25 AM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
I remember taking a world music class, and I was amazed to see some kids in small African tribes were able to play very complex rhythm at a young age.. For them these complex rhythm were 'normal', it's what they grew up with.. rhythm and music was an essential part of their culture and everyone played music.

I guess so much of what we define 'normal' happens at a very early age.. there are exceptions but I really think a lot of it has to do with early exposure rather than inborn ability.

Top
#930248 - 02/05/09 06:29 AM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
RogerW Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/08
Posts: 430
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianobuff:
But what is talent? Can it be developed? [/b]
The way I see it, talent is almost the same as intelligence. The follow-up question is of course: What is intelligence? (There are several models to answer this, for example Gardner's model of multiple intelligences, which I don't agree with, because I think he got the concept of "musical intelligence" all wrong.)

To me intelligence is the ability to process and evaluate information. A crucial part of this is metacognition - the ability to examine and evaluate your own thinking. The difference between intelligence and talent is that intelligence becomes talent once it is focused through effort on a certain subject. It is a combination of intelligence and the ability to control your thoughts to concentrate on the task at hand.

A kid with good spatial intelligence and well developed sense of symbols and abstract thinking will understand the grand staff and it's connection to the keyboard very quickly. If this kid puts in a little effort, he will learn pieces very quickly and might easily be labeled as talented, even though spatial intelligence and interpretation of abstract symbols as such isn't very connected to the word "musicality".

Another child might hear the most amazing soundscapes inside his head and be more interested in exploring these soundscapes on the piano than practicing the boring pieces assigned by the teacher. His teacher will only hear him playing the pieces he never practices an will probably label him completely untalented. Yet the kid might very well grow up to become a composer. The talent is not recognized, because it isn't focused on the subject the teacher wishes. This is very common with scientific talents. A lot of them (Einstein being the best known) have had mediocre success in school as they haven't been particularly interested in the subjects taught. Only later in life, when they have been allowed to focus on the subject of their own choice, their talent has been recognized. In performing arts this is probably more uncommon, because the motorical skills needed to achieve the status of a "world class genius" has to be developed from a very early age on.

I think there are two major kinds of "intelligences" involved in musical talent. The most obvious, and the first to be developed, is the ability to hear accurately and put a meaning into sounds. It is a common misconception that sound is universal and we all hear them in the same way. We don't. The brain analyzes and picks out the essential part of the aural information before we consciously experience the sound. An infant has the ability to discern all possible sounds, but the brain quickly starts discarding the differences it doesn't find useful as meaningless. This is why a child easily can learn a lot of languages, but it is much harder for an adult. The adult simply doesn't hear the sounds of the foreign language like the native speakers do, thus he will not learn to reproduce them (anybody ever been in a situation when a foreigner tries to explain what you are doing wrong when pronouncing their language: "No, no, it's not , it's ..." ?).

In music we must discern and understand several qualities of the sound. There is pitch, duration, timbre and amplitude. If the brain doesn't consider small differences in duration important, then the person doesn't hear small differences in duration. Trying to explain this difference to such a person easily becomes as awkward as the "it's not ká, it's ká" situation. No matter how many times you try to show the person the difference between the wrong and the correct duration, he won't understand, because he cannot hear the difference. To be able to understand the difference, a much more fundamental change is required as it goes beyond the conscious level of the person's thinking.

As an infant can hear all sounds correctly, what happens in the early childhood is essential for musical development. It is no coincidence that the majority of the great composers came from musical families. However, this doesn't imply a "musical gene", it's the result of growing up in a musical environment. A child that hears classical music in the home every day will withoubt doubt develop a more accurate ear for musical nuances than a child who only hears pop music streaming from the radio, all compressed to the same dynamic level.

The other important type of intelligence required to achieve a high level of musical mastery is a good sence of time. You could call it "time-spatial intelligence". On a small scale time is easy to handle. Most children quickly learn simple individual rhythms and so on. But the skills required for handling the passing of time on a larger scale takes very long to develop. A teenager might have phenomenal technical skills, but when facing a large scale work, they usually can't nail the dramaturgy. A common problem that I've noticed with young pianists is that they live too much in the moment. They tend to add a huge emotional climax into every single phrase, leaving no room for the overall dramaturgy to develop. They play every note in relationship to only it's immediate surrounding. When listening to the greatest masters, I get the feeling that they can somehow visualize the whole piece at once. They play each note in relationship to the rest of the whole piece, resulting in much more logical and effective dramaturgy.

The same is true for composing. Creating a logical continuum that lasts 30 seconds to 1 minute is rather easy. But to effectively control longer pieces is much more difficult and takes a lot of training. While composing, you must be able to visualize the whole piece at once in order to get the durational relationships right. This is easily noticable in the history of classical music. When looking at individual composer's outputs, the longest works were usually written late in life. Also when examining the timeline of classical music as a whole, we can notice how the length of individual pieces or movements gradually grows when composers grow more capable of handling the passing of time. Beethoven was the first true genius in this field. Perhaps because he was deaf he could focus more energy on his inner visualization of large forms.

Apart from the specific areas of intelligence essential for making music, performing arts also requires very complex multi-tasking abilities of the brain. At the same time you must read the sheets, interpret the symbols (pitch, duration, dynamics, expression, articulation etc.), control your ten fingers individually, listen to the output produced and keep in mind the overall progression of time and the dramaturgy of the piece.

As for the "some has it, some don't", I believe this only has to do with a more general form of intelligence. A smart kid who is exposed to music at a young age and develops an interest in the subject will be perceived as musically talented. If his interest and effort instead was focused on chess, he would be perceived as a very talented chess player. As far as I know, there is no scientific research that would have showed that some person would have an inborn ability to excel in one specific area (apart from a few autistic savants). All known child prodigies have been recognized as such only after they have received intensive training in the subject and spent thousands of hours developing their skills.

Top
#930249 - 02/05/09 06:36 AM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2846
Loc: UK.
Yes OK, talent is perhaps a poor choice of word, I'll give you that.

There is definitely something in natural ability although it's hard to put your finger on it. I notice that some students are natural with some aspects of music but not others. For example some seem to have a very good ear right from the start where others might read better early on. Some have good physical movement and coordination. Others have focus and dedication.

I don't agree that it is all down to learning good practice habits. That has nothing to do with the kind of natural ability you might see from the very first lesson.

I remember being at school (age 4 or 5) and picking out tunes on a toy glockenspiel. I had no real exposure to music before this and did not take lessons until a couple of years later. My parents were not particularly gifted in music although my grandfather was a self taught pianist. However, we lived nowhere near my grandparents so this was not an influence. It just made sense to me, I could hear a tune and pick it out with ease. Where did that come from?

I have heard about that 5000 - 10000 hours before. After all that time you would expect anybody to be good. I wonder though if those musicians would have made it if they had not had any kind of natural ability to begin with. I have seen and taught kids who worked very hard and accomplished a lot but it was always a struggle. They play well enough but there is something lacking which would prevent them from becoming first class performers.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

Top
#930250 - 02/05/09 06:54 AM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
 Quote:
Originally posted by etcetra:
I think "talent" is a very misleading word.. A lot of people that seem talented are that way because of early exposure. their grew up in musical family so music is more familiar to them.
[/b]
This is an astute observation. Talent seems to be a generic label that is applied that seems to mean "relatively speaking you seem to be better at x than I would expect from your peers".

It has to do thus with:
- subjective judgments;
- the expectations of the person making the judgment;
- the assumption that one can and is truly comparing against comparable peers

It is useful to the extent that it prompts us to ask the question "what causal factors are/were present that could explain their exceeding my expectations and what can I learn from these?" and in turn leads us to nurture and duplicate these factors.

It is dangerous when it is applied without thinking as a way to put a "label" on someone either to discourage them or to give them a supposed "self-esteem" boost.

One of my favorite examples from the literature is the study of talented, successful high school hockey players in Canada. They discovered by looking back at years of data on those who were considered talented and thus chosen for varsity teams and advanced training, most all happened by "coincidence" to be born in certain months of the year. Those months were clustered just after the yearly cut off date for applications. Canada thought they were choosing the most talented hockey players when in fact they were just choosing boys who were about one year older and thus bigger and more mature, who in turn were provided with the opportunities to develop their "talent".

I suspect there are similar biases in making judgments on who is "musical".

Top
#930251 - 02/05/09 07:25 AM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
Andromaque Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 3886
Loc: New York
T.J.
Malcolm Gladwell makes these arguments in his book "Outliers". I agree that to a large extent, it is true that talent is a complex parameter subject to interpretation. But the corollary of what you and etcetera just said is also true. So that if an individual does receive early exposure and happens to possess some unrelated or undeserving quality such as being born in the summer, then said individual would be in possession of a clear advantage over others. Often this is referred to as talent by some people. In my opinion, the majority of 'talent' lies in this category of acquired advantage. Nonetheless, there are rare examples wher people's brains develop in such a manner as to give them advantages in certain fields, an advantage that must be nurtured in order to bear fruit. One could argue that if Mozart were born in Nairobi rather than Salzburg, we may not know about him now- for many reasons. Nonetheless his brain would still "carry' that advantage.
Underlying this discussion is a certain unease we all have with genetic "supremacy", ie our own interpretation of this subjective topic is subjective. Scientists did not do better, since their methods of "measuring" talent or intelligence turned out to be tainted by their own biases,as was the case for example with the design of IQ testing.

Top
#930252 - 02/05/09 07:30 AM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
I think RogerW makes a great point about intellegence.. When i see talented kids or even adults, it seems like they just do what is natural to them.. it never occured to them that what they are doing is difficult. I am guessing the for the African children playing complex rhythms.. playing the percussion instrument was just "fun" and in some ways just as ordinary as walking or cooking.

I think the biggest difficulty in assesing the talent vs. hard work is that we learn so much thought-patterns, conventions, so called "norm" by the time we are 5-6 that it's hard to discern whether who they are is a result of genetics or socialization. For example someone who is uncordinated may be that way because of how they are brought up.. it could be a result of trauma. Or it might be like what Rogerw said..

I had experiences teaching both music and English, and the people who struggle the most are the ones who are extremely fearful of making mistake, that person can be 5, or 40 years old. I think these psychological issues are often overlooked in teaching, and sometime labeling someone as being 'untalented' further obscures the problem.

Also, it's not unusual for these untalented people to have breakthroughs later in life. Bill Evans said in an interview that there were people who were much more talented then him in college. I know someone who was not so great when he started college, but he found a teacher that was just right for him.. he was able to reputable grad school with full scholarship.. I don't think anybody would thought he would go that far in music.

theJourney,

that's a very interesting observation.. its funny how we can overlook simple problems like that, even with the rigorous method of scientific research we use now days. maybe the issue we are debating requires a change in perspective in similar vein.

Top
#930253 - 02/05/09 07:52 AM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Andromaque

If Mozart lived in Nairobi.. hmm.. well you can argue that if he grew up in time of war, he might have been trained as a soldier and never had the oppertunity to explore his talent. He might be known as an odd-ball, and perhaps incompetent soldier, and his musical talent might go completely unsuspected. Who knows what kind of amazing talent are lost because of civil war, terrorism and poverty.

I see this problem a lot in Asian culture.. adults tend to 'decide' who is talented in which area.. there are a lot of prodigies that come out of Asian culture, but its very rare that these people continue to be successful as an adult.

I remember excelling in academics as a child, and everyone thought I was brilliant, but the reality is that my parents pushed me to study 4+ hrs every single day. I had interest in music but I never had the time to make that a priority, and I was already "convinced" at age 6 that I was jut not talented, because I heard my classmate play Bach minuet. I know this is personal example, but it shows how much we 'decide' who we are even at a very young age.

I remember a piano teacher talking about how walking is an extremely refined motor skill which requires a lot of coordination... and yet pretty much everyone learn to do it naturally at young age.. he was arguing that piano playing should not be any different..I thought he had an interesting point.

Top
#930254 - 02/05/09 08:47 AM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
Minaku Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 1226
Loc: Atlanta
Oh boy - this is a subject that has been debated many times over, and was recently the subject of the night's discussion on my psychology seminar.

According to Françoys Gagné, giftedness is defined as a potential for achievement or excellence. Generally we take this to mean that this is the genetic stuff, the nature if you will. People are gifted at certain things, and this does not change.

Talent is reaching that high level of excellence through dedication and training. Giftedness plays a role, but there are many more factors in producing someone who is talented. I'm going to quite literally copy a page from the text I have.

This is adapted from the Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent in Music.

Giftedness - Natural Abilities
Domains

- Intellectual
- Creative
- Socio-affective
- Sensori-motor

Acting upon the natural gifts, we have:

- Chance
- Catalysts:
- Motivation
- Volition
- Self-management
- Personality
- Physical characteristics

- Environmental

These catalysts all funnel into the developmental process that produces musical talent, which as you recall from above is defined as high achievement or excellence through focused, dedicated training. The developed skills of musical talent are:

- Performing
- Improvising
- Composing
- Arranging
- Analyzing
- Appraising
- Conducting
- Music teaching

Really our job as teachers is finding whatever spark of giftedness a student has - and I believe in a baseline, I believe every student can access something musical - and nurturing it. Be a good teacher, and train the student well. Encourage those aspects of personality that are conducive to study, like self-management, self-motivation. Build a desire to produce music, and do your best to maximize luck, whether it be through finding a good piano, getting yourself a new piano, or going above and beyond the call of duty to bring students to concerts.

The rest is up to the student, and the environment at home.
_________________________
Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina

Top
#930255 - 02/05/09 08:59 AM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4977
Loc: boston north
Excellent topic and contributions.

For those with very young children, I often recommend taking dancing lessons. Use of larger motor skills which develop the ability to express rhythm with ones body. Great exposure for piano lessons later.

From ectetra:
"I remember taking a world music class, and I was amazed to see some kids in small African tribes were able to play very complex rhythm at a young age.. For them these complex rhythm were 'normal', it's what they grew up with.. rhythm and music was an essential part of their culture and everyone played music.

I guess so much of what we define 'normal' happens at a very early age.. there are exceptions but I really think a lot of it has to do with early exposure rather than inborn ability."
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

Top
#930256 - 02/05/09 09:18 AM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
RogerW Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/08
Posts: 430
 Quote:
Originally posted by etcetra:
I guess so much of what we define 'normal' happens at a very early age.. there are exceptions but I really think a lot of it has to do with early exposure rather than inborn ability. [/b]
I read somewhere about an interesting example. Apparently there is some tribe in Africa whose children usually learn to walk at a much younger age than children elsewhere in the world. As the tribe has lived separated from the rest of the world, this would seem like a case where genetics could play a role in the talent for early walking. However, studies showed that members of the tribe who were brought up in a different environment didn't learn to walk any earlier than "normal" children. It was just part of the culture of the tribe to encourage and train walking at a younger age than in other cultures.

Top
#930257 - 02/05/09 10:08 AM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
I am relating a lot with my recent experiences.. I've always had difficulty feeling rhythm, and I always thought it was something I just didn't have, but lately it's becoming a lot easier. I realized that my problem had more to do with me repressing the 'pleasure' in feeling rhythm.. I excel in ear-training and harmony because that was intellectual.. which makes sense considering my background.

I think children are naturally uninhibited and they are motivated by physical pleasure and intellectual curiosity.. we try to protect them as best as possible, but sometimes we can become too restrictive and stop their natural flow/desire for those things, and it becomes extremely hard to let go again.

I notice this in the attitude of students too.. the people who are 'ungifted' tend to treat piano as something intimidating, and difficult. They are very inhibited and is often motivated by negative reenforcement. the fear completely undermines whatever joy they feel in music. They end up in this paradox where they desperately want to enjoy music but everything in their piano experience defies that.

I know this may not apply too everyone, but It's probably important to consider these things before one decided that a student is 'ungifted'

Top
#930258 - 02/05/09 10:28 AM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
Larisa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/08
Posts: 498
Loc: Philadelphia
 Quote:
Originally posted by Chris H.:
Yes OK, talent is perhaps a poor choice of word, I'll give you that.

There is definitely something in natural ability although it's hard to put your finger on it. I notice that some students are natural with some aspects of music but not others. For example some seem to have a very good ear right from the start where others might read better early on. Some have good physical movement and coordination. Others have focus and dedication.

I don't agree that it is all down to learning good practice habits. That has nothing to do with the kind of natural ability you might see from the very first lesson.

I remember being at school (age 4 or 5) and picking out tunes on a toy glockenspiel. I had no real exposure to music before this and did not take lessons until a couple of years later. My parents were not particularly gifted in music although my grandfather was a self taught pianist. However, we lived nowhere near my grandparents so this was not an influence. It just made sense to me, I could hear a tune and pick it out with ease. Where did that come from?

I have heard about that 5000 - 10000 hours before. After all that time you would expect anybody to be good. I wonder though if those musicians would have made it if they had not had any kind of natural ability to begin with. I have seen and taught kids who worked very hard and accomplished a lot but it was always a struggle. They play well enough but there is something lacking which would prevent them from becoming first class performers. [/b]
I wonder. I think that there are multiple attributes, and multiple skills, involved in what we call "musical talent", and that those whom we consider "talented" are just more motivated at using their strengths and at making up for their weaknesses. Motivation, and interest, really does matter quite a lot.

As a child, I would sing or hum all the time, making up my own tunes (to the point that my day-care provider once asked my mother if I was sick, because I was silent all day...) My parents got me music lessons, and I found music to be much easier and more enjoyable to learn than a lot of the other things I learned at the time. But there were, and still are, things about music that I found hard. Complicated rhythms are hard for me to figure out. I can't improvise polyphonically. I can't hear jazz chords as clearly as I hear classical chords. I don't do jazz improvisation very well. I've got a bad memory. All of these, and many more, are things I work around, because I want to learn music and I want to get good at it.

I can easily envision someone with the same set of strengths and weaknesses - a good ear, good audiation skills, an average sense of rhythm, a poor memory, average finger dexterity - being completely unmotivated to learn music, and citing the poor memory and poor sense of rhythm as "evidence" that s/he has "no talent."

Top
#930259 - 02/05/09 01:02 PM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11439
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I think that genetics can only give a predisposition to behavioral things. Is a person with longer fingers or one that can play fast considered a "gifted" or "talented" student? Usually those words are reserved for behaviors such as the ability to pick up certain concepts quickly. Of course, I have witnessed many "gifted" students who stop piano because they are used to things coming easily to them and have no desire to work. They don't progress after the initial "leaps" and they expect to continue leaping. When that doesn't happen, either they learn to work hard like everyone else, or they quit.

There are also those who may not have those initial leaps in progress, but they work hard the whole time, and a talent becomes apparent later on in their musical development, such as in expressiveness. I've seen far more "talented" students who don't work and thus let it go to waste, than ones who have the talent and work hard.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top
#930260 - 02/05/09 01:31 PM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2699
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
I'm surprised no one has mentioned a parental experience. My family is musical in that both my wife and I play piano, we both still do though in different places. When my son was about 18 months he was matching pitch. As ge grew older we coldn't keep him from singing. He's now a college freshman and he still sings, he's a choir ace. Five years after he was born came a daughter, she couldn't match pitch until she was 5 or so. She has other talents so I'm not worried about her, she'll just not have a career in music (maybe that's a good thing?). From this experience I conclude that there is such a thing as inborn talent.

As Morodiene pointed out my son still had to learn about singing and put in a lot of work. Sadly this has not translated to a commitment to playing an instrument, but that doesn't diminish his abilities as a singer.

Top
#930261 - 02/05/09 01:49 PM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
Andromaque Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 3886
Loc: New York
Parental involvement encompasses both the environmental influence / exposure advantage (or disadvantage) as well as the genetic factor!

Top
#930262 - 02/05/09 02:02 PM Re: "He's a natural..." Does study and hard work matter without instincts and talent?
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11439
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Steve,
It is perfectly normal for your daughter to not have been able to match pitch. It is great that both your children grew up in a musical environment. I think this is extremely important and helpful for children because it opens doors that will be shut (and difficult to re-open after the age of 12). Cultivating music as a part of the routine in a home allows the child to be more musical "naturally" or with less effort than without this environment.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

Top

Moderator:  Ken Knapp 
What's Hot!!
Our latest Issue is available now...
Piano News - Interesting & Fun Piano Related Newsletter! (free)
-------------------
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Seiler Pianos
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Who's Online
100 registered (AndrewJCW, ando, Anticlock, aDino, aesop, 32 invisible), 1357 Guests and 19 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
75581 Members
42 Forums
156275 Topics
2295041 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Impromptu in A
by Ritzycat
07/30/14 12:42 AM
what do you think piano teachers about it?
by Maximillyan
07/30/14 12:15 AM
picking a fight: how many movements in op.110?
by beet31425
07/29/14 11:36 PM
Old Wurlitzer (circa 1940s) baby grand, Worth Picking Up?
by Paul678
07/29/14 10:38 PM
Swamp Cooler and Air Conditioner- Use only One of them!
by Paul678
07/29/14 10:33 PM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission