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#936234 - 12/16/08 02:12 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
 Quote:
Originally posted by sotto voce:
 Quote:
Originally posted by -Frycek:
Just had an odd little thought - I wonder if many of those with a talent for playing the piano are really those with a talent for learning how to play the piano. It's not necessarily the same thing. [/b]
Frycek's comment was back on the second page of this thread. I'm not sure it was addressed, and I think it bears repeating now.

Some people are indeed more efficient at the process of learning than others, and I think that can be regarded as a talent in its own right. I don't know that it's of the inborn variety, but it's certainly a valuable skill to have.

Steven [/b]
So, where are the examples of the "talented" top pianists for whom piano came "naturally" and they didn't have to spend much time at all learning, working or practicing? Aren't we simply moving the mysterious black box of "talent" up one meta-level...or might knowing how to practice and actually doing the practice be something that has more to do with e.g. "motivation" and "student-centered teaching" and "(family/social) support structures"?

One of the central points in my response to the OP as well as from the studies which Monica originally referenced is that one important key common attribute amongst those who progress at piano as adults and those who are top in their field, or "experts", etc. is that they:

1) practice properly and
2) practice enough.

To help make the concept stick in people's minds and increase it's meme appeal (apparently the people behind the study have a "talent" for psychology or marketing) those behind the study talk about the to a degree arbitrary "10.000 hours" of dedicated, mindful practice under masters.

Two hours/day of self-taught piano or just playing through things or mindlessly repeating mistakes and bad habits or kidding yourself that the 30 minutes of work were really two hours or forgetting the three days you took off this week or spending time repeating what you already can do instead of working on what you can't do, etc. won't get you very far. Working like Larisa's internally motivated, carefully supervised and home supported 13 year old, might get someone very far, very fast. Working like the circle of adult learners I am friends with will get you from zero to ABRSM Grade 8 Piano with distinction in 4 to 5 years in your forties.

There is a brand of piano teacher that leaves what happens at home or in the practice room to chance and sees their role as taking place within the four walls of their studio. IMHO these teachers do more to destroy talent than any digital piano every could do.

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#936235 - 12/16/08 02:55 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
btb Offline
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Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
First it’s that the chaps don’t practice enough ... then it’s dummies who bash the piano 2 hours a day and make no progress ... then, of
course, there are anti-social singers who internalise their rapture ... (whatever that means).

What a load of bunkum!!

And essentially the question was
"Does piano-playing increase in difficulty with more notes ... Morodiene quickly answered a logical ... "Yes".

But in the meanwhile ... the posters have added their views of the mountain which challenged their personal passage ... but essentially saying the higher the steeper ... (leaving pearls of wisdom by the exhausted practice wayside) ... amongst others:

1. Playing the piano is an integrating and synthesizing skill; you are building up a pyramid of interrelated capabilities

2. The path to competent intermediate level playing takes a minimum of 1,500 hours focussed, careful study, for most piano student

3. Daniel Levitin book certainly talks at length about the 10,000 hours

4. I think it’s worth re-emphasizing that the role of a natural facility for performance skill shouldn’t be dismissed, discounted or underestimated

5. The amount of hard work required to attain mastery, and the degree to which that work is perceived as hard, are inversely proportional to one’s innate gifts

However IMHO ... the common denominator to PROGRESS is directly proportional to PERSONAL AURAL MEMORY ... sadly a limited commodity.

Thus everybody has to make do with a limited repertoire ... each masterpiece requiring daily refreshment ... however, for what it’s worth in a personal observation ... strangely, there appears to be a unexpected corollary ... chappies with low aural memories are often found to be the most artistic.

Don’t judge a dog by it’s ...

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#936236 - 12/16/08 03:30 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
theJourney Offline
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Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
btb, Thank you for your opinion. Anything substantive to back it up? Don't forget about those who have practiced sight reading enough that they developed a talent for it too...

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#936237 - 12/16/08 06:18 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
btb Offline
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Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Thanks Amsterdam for the comment on "talent".

However, this ephemeral description of a superior ability sticks in my craw ... so often waffle ... an excuse for slacking.

The issue at the heart of the matter ... that of sight-reading has all too often been bandied ... only to fizzle inconclusively .

My evaluation involves both the reading and playing of a fresh piece of keyboard music ... but quality performance is dependent on
adequate preparation period (with diligent practice) to:

identify the notes,
sort out fingering and
ultimately gain the support of muscle and aural memory

Your comment on "talent" might be suggestive of a speeding up of the preparation period (days perhaps instead of months) ... but never the ultimate off-the-cuff short-cut.

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#936238 - 12/16/08 07:34 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
sotto voce Offline
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Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Gary D.:
But the important thing is that we can't define what talent is. And because we can't, it has become almost PC to say that it either does not exist or is of very little importance.[/b]
Is it true that concerns of political correctness account for the reticence of so many to acknowledge the essential role of talent? Is it the worldwide cultural imperative that everyone has the right to feel good about themselves, and the wish to protect the sensitivities of those who might not have any talent?

Hard work is available to anyone as a laudable exercise of choice. Discussion of inborn traits, though, is practically taboo; it's very unfashionable to draw attention to the inconvenient ways in which we are unequally endowed.

Personally, I would never minimize or dismiss the role of personal effort in achievement. So even if talent happens to be an intangible, "mysterious black box," what exactly is the motivation of those who seek to suppress, ignore or invalidate its role? Why does its very existence seem to chafe? Is it jealousy, altruism, iconoclasm ... or what?

The cruelest twist must be when those who've been persuaded that hard work alone is sufficient to reach lofty goals find that they crash and burn instead despite their enthusiastic diligence. The mollifying indoctrination intended to protect fragile egos from the fact that individuals are "differently able" leads them to the inexorable conclusion that they have only themselves to blame for their failure because they just didn't try hard enough or work hard enough. Who picks up the pieces?

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#936239 - 12/16/08 08:36 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
theJourney Offline
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Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
sotto, you seem to be the only one indicating that there are those arguing for hard work alone. I perhaps am missing who exactly is arguing here that talent does not exist...or deny it a role.

There is a difference between not assigning what we don't understand to black boxes and thinking in black and white terms. We all seem to agree that enough good practice would be a good thing for everyone. Presumably lots of talent would be a good thing too.

The point of contention seems to be what the definition of talent is and whence it comes. Is it 100% genetics, 50% environment/genetics. 33% genetics/environment/conscious effort or perhaps even much more motivation and conscious effort? Would you be willing to trust your personal decision on whether or not you ever touch the piano again on the opinion of a someone else as to whether or not you are "talented" enough ? Or do you love it enough to not want to miss practicing today and tomorrow?

I agree that since the time of eugenics, race studies, IQ testing and the popular culture illusion of equal opportunities for all, discussing inborn traits can be dangerous (e.g. it recently cost the President of Harvard University his job by even admitting that there are innate differences between men and women).

However, are we really able to say specifically and definitively what inborn traits would enable someone to be talented at the piano? Or can we only point at someone who has already done some work and after the fact make a personal, relativistic judgment that he or she is talented, based e.g. on speed of learning or musical result or comparing them to whomever else we are personally acquainted?

Clearly height is important to become a professional basketball player. Do pianists need to have big hands and/or long fingers to have any hope? Can someone who is not gay or Jewish really avoid a future as a bad pianist? Is there any hope of a career for someone who does not start by age 6? If it takes one twice as long as Sally down the street to progress through John Thompson does that mean one is less talented? How do we isolate innate traits from quality of practice or instruction? If one is told they are not talented should they stop? What if one really enjoys it or plays better than she? Or, what if one learns slower and also plays worse than she, should one stop practicing? Are there guarantees that these measurements of talent are objective, fixed or static or could they reverse as a person develops or practices.

Back to adults. Presumably, there are few thirty or forty + year old who decide to take up the piano because they expect a concert career. Their reasons are multi-faceted. However, if the student is doing it for themselves and not for others, I fail to see how being told in no uncertain terms "you have not talent for the piano" would have any relevance to their journey other than to nip it in the bud and create a self-fulfilling prophecy. What objective correlations and measures exist for traits, aptitude or talent? How many teachers are experienced in evaluating piano naive adults' aptitude? What if they are wrong? How could anyone possibly know if they can play piano without learning first how to play the piano?

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#936240 - 12/16/08 09:27 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
sotto voce Offline
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Registered: 08/15/06
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Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by theJourney:
sotto, you seem to be the only one arguing for hard work alone. I perhaps am missing who exactly is arguing here that talent does not exist...or deny it a role.[/b]
I believe I understand the remainder of your post, but not this paragraph. I don't understand why you think I'm arguing for hard work alone, or how you don't see who is arguing that talent is unimportant.

I've never said achievement comes from hard work alone, and Otis S already expressed my sentiments better than I'm able to about the balance between natural facility and training that enable success. Larisa represents the viewpoint that talent is of minimal importance at best as well as the energetic insistence of its irrelevance that I've referred to.

I don't have the need to overanalyze the phenomenon we've loosely called talent or aptitude, or even the ability to analyze it at all. Rather than vainly trying to dissect what it is and what it is not, I am most interested in understanding what impulse prompts those who minimize its impact and downplay its existence to do so.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#936241 - 12/16/08 09:40 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
childofparadise2002 Offline
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Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 542
There are lots of research on "intelligence" and "talent", musical or otherwise. The recent book by Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers) is a good read for the general public on talent, hardwork, opportunies and success--many similar books are out there.

But for the majority of students, a successful career is not what they have in mind when they start learning something. Many things, music included, are just part of a general education that everyone should get some if possible. For some others, they love something so much that they will study hard anyway regardless of whether they have the talent to bring about a successful career. If anything, identifying talent should not be used to discourage anyone, it should be used to encourage.

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#936242 - 12/16/08 10:01 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
theJourney Offline
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Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
 Quote:
Originally posted by sotto voce:
I don't have the need to overanalyze the phenomenon we've loosely called talent or aptitude, or even the ability to analyze it at all. Rather than vainly trying to dissect what it is and what it is not, I am most interested in understanding what impulse prompts those who minimize its impact and downplay its existence to do so.[/b]
I will have to let someone speak then who is minimizing its impact or downplaying its existence.

 Quote:
Originally posted by childofparadise2002:
If anything, identifying talent should not be used to discourage anyone, it should be used to encourage. [/b]
Agreed. However, by definition, those who are withheld the judgment of talented in presence of those judged talented are in fact discouraged. For a studio focusing on building as many success stories as soon as possible as far as possible such discouragement can be desirable and advantageous for the studio.

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#936243 - 12/16/08 10:16 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
keystring Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11721
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
. However, by definition, those who are withheld the judgment of talented in presence of those judged talented are in fact discouraged. For a studio focusing on building as many success stories as soon as possible as far as possible such discouragement can be desirable and advantageous for the studio.
I am having trouble following the sentences. "judgment of talented in presence of those talented..." Can you differentiate which is student, which is teacher, who is judging, whose presence? I am assuming a private studio in which there are two people, teacher and student. "such discouragement can be desireable..." in what manner? But then, I'm still stuck on the first sentence.

In any case, many pages ago I wrote a description of a late starter in his teen years identified as talented by the third lesson by a teacher chagrined to find this ability at that age, who managed to succeed in auditions only a few years later against others with 3 times as many years training. Your only response was to ask me about my own life, which is something I still don't get.

The bottom line is that teachers must work with what is there, strengths and weaknesses, balancing out, using the good to advantage without allowing it to overpower what needs strengthening. Talent itself has weaknesses and can be considered a handicap at times.

Rather than asking whether a student has "talent", I am sure that teachers ask themselves a more mundane question: what strengths and weaknesses does this student at this time have, and where do we go from here?

A while back there was talk of a blind (jazz??) pianist who was very talented. I could not help noticing that he also was driven to persevere, and learn and learn and learn.

I'm not catching the point of this discussion, nor why it's being slugged out in the teacher forum.

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#936244 - 12/16/08 10:34 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
 Quote:
. However, by definition, those who are withheld the judgment of talented in presence of those judged talented are in fact discouraged. For a studio focusing on building as many success stories as soon as possible as far as possible such discouragement can be desirable and advantageous for the studio.
I am having trouble following the sentences. "judgment of talented in presence of those talented..." Can you differentiate which is student, which is teacher, who is judging, whose presence? I am assuming a private studio in which there are two people, teacher and student. "such discouragement can be desireable..." in what manner? But then, I'm still stuck on the first sentence.[/b]
If a teacher believes and tells Sally she is talented and Harry that he is not, Harry will likely stop. That can be a good thing for the teacher (easier or more attractive workload) and desirable for the studio (more success stories faster). That doesn't necessarily mean it is good for Harry.
 Quote:

In any case, many pages ago I wrote a description of a late starter in his teen years identified as talented by the third lesson by a teacher chagrined to find this ability at that age, who managed to succeed in auditions only a few years later against others with 3 times as many years training. Your only response was to ask me about my own life, which is something I still don't get.
[/b]
I thought you were talking autobiographically including the idea of only studying just enough to get by. If this student also just studied enough to get by, I would be interested to hear the results he has finished with in his studies and if he is considered by others as an "expert" pianist.
 Quote:

The bottom line is that teachers must work with what is there, strengths and weaknesses, balancing out, using the good to advantage without allowing it to overpower what needs strengthening. Talent itself has weaknesses and can be considered a handicap at times.

Rather than asking whether a student has "talent", I am sure that teachers ask themselves a more mundane question: what strengths and weaknesses does this student at this time have, and where do we go from here?[/b]
That would indeed seem to be more productive approach and in the interest of all concerned.

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#936245 - 12/16/08 10:47 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
keystring Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11721
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
I thought you were talking autobiographically including the idea of only studying just enough to get by. If this student also just studied enough to get by, I would be interested to hear the results he has finished with in his studies and if he is considered by others as an "expert" pianist
Ah, that explains it. Would you mind reading my post again, because I wrote a lot more than about amount of study - and that amount did not reflect "enough to get by". It reflected efficiency.

I'm not sure if we shouldn't move this out of the teacher forum but here goes:

Efficiency, which could be called "laziness" of a different kind, is in fact one of the things needed to play music well. What is formally learned technique, fingering, if not efficient strategy and motion? If you do not take the time to learn good fingering, or examine and understand what it is about, you will be working harder with unsatisfactory results for the rest of your life. This kind of "laziness" - a quest to find the easiest way possible - is in fact a lot of mental and physical work in the beginning.

I'm not sure what the views on the nature of "talent" are. Is it seen as a kind of magic potion that sits within some people and when it's turned on they're able to do what others have to strive for? I don't think it's as simplistic as that.

I also don't know whether teachers actually do go around telling some students they are talented, and others they are not. I can imagine some teachers actually sitting on the fact of perceived talent, for fear that the student will end up trying to ride his talent, and lose any potential he may have. Is the common story not that such a student will be pushed even to the point of hating music, but not told what he can do? Have we not heard of talented students who are convinced they are terrible because their teachers are highly critical of them in an effort to maximize what they can reach?

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#936246 - 12/16/08 10:57 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
theJourney Offline
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Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
Ah, that explains it. Would you mind reading my post again, because I wrote a lot more than about amount of study - and that amount did not reflect "enough to get by". It reflected efficiency.[/b]
Not at all. Could you first send me a link to your original post, I would find that more efficient. ;\)

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#936247 - 12/16/08 11:09 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
keystring Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
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Loc: Canada

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#936248 - 12/16/08 11:29 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
Larisa Offline
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Registered: 02/03/08
Posts: 498
Loc: Philadelphia

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#936249 - 12/16/08 11:43 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
linking link [/b]
Thanks. I am not sure I completely understand the first sentence or the point you want to make with that post.

It does remind me of a story told to me by a pianist who I have befriended: As a boy and young man he was a bon vivant with varied interests and was told repeatedly by others that he was a born musical talent. He found that the most efficient way to go from week to week of piano lessons was simply to play through his week's assignment a half hour before his lesson. He was a keen reader and he didn't really need more than the half hour of work in order to impress his teacher (compared to her other students). This gave him maximum playtime on the schoolyard and still kept him in lessons.

After entering conservatory he was quite the party- and playboy and thoroughly enjoyed his years in school. For the most part he was able to continue working to minimum time requirements and getting by with much less work than other students. One of his similarly talented but obsessively practicing classmates became a successful international concert pianist particularly well known for his fortepiano work. My friend has had a rewarding career accompanying some of the top voices in the country as well as working schnabbels in B venues in the Benelux. However, one nagging question will remain with him all his life: how much better and how much further could I have gone had I combined my talent with the professional working habits of the other students?

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#936250 - 12/16/08 11:48 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
sotto voce Offline
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Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Larisa, your opinions about talent come as no surprise given that your past posts have refuted the idea that it has any utility, suggesting instead that raw effort is quite enough for success and that talent simply doesn't matter.

But it does exists independently of anyone's opinion or understanding of it, and it doesn't even need acknowledgment or validation. All the things that are wrong with the concept for you seem to be consequent to how it's handled and treated; I understand those concerns and why a teacher, in particular, would have them.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#936251 - 12/16/08 11:52 AM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
keystring Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
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Loc: Canada
theJourney, I have subsequently defined that first sentence. Efficiency is defined as "laziness" in the sense that if you become efficient you no longer need to struggle. Acquiring efficiency actually requires effort. That is why I said the reference was a "wry" one. This young man does not in any resemble your bon vivant friend. It sounds as though he "rode on talent" rather than using it to its full potential.

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#936252 - 12/16/08 12:05 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
 Quote:
Originally posted by sotto voce:
But it [talent] does exists independently of anyone's opinion or understanding of it, and it doesn't even need acknowledgment or validation. [/b]
Not to interrupt. I suppose, if it works and helps to label them talented and untalented, why not?

However, the above quote reminded me somehow of one the past threads in the teacher's forum where a teacher was arguing adamently how important it was to know the astrological sign of prospective students to be able to teach them more effectively according to the personality attributes of their sign.

I certainly believe more in talent than in the Zodiac, but for it to be a useful pedagogical or human development concept, I would like to see more scientific underpinning applied than there is today.

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#936253 - 12/16/08 12:21 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
QUOTE]Originally posted by Larisa:
4. "Talent" tends to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. There was a study once, involving elementary schoolkids. The teacher was told that half of the class (chosen at random) were "gifted". They weren't, really - but by the end of the school year, they were doing significantly better than the other half of the class. If you tell a student he's talented, he'll work harder to prove you right; this has always worked for me with my students.

The only time I ever even mention the world "talent" is when someone tells me about their 3-year-old who is so fascinated with music, and so eager to make music, and is always singing and banging on the piano, and should the parents get him music lessons? In that case, the correct answer is "Yes, your child has musical talent, get him some lessons." But for an adult? Why do that? [/b][/QUOTE]

Never underestimate the power of suggestion. I was the toddler fascinated with music. My parents did their best by me but they are non musical and unsophisticated in that respect. I had the sort of teachers one might expect to find in an Appalachian poverty pocket and learned no more than to read the notes. For a very brief span I had one good teacher who remarked sadly that she "might have done something" with me if she'd gotten me a bit earlier and had me a bit longer. Thirty years later that bit of faint praise was all that kept me going when I returned to the piano. Preseverence is the saving grace of The Ungifted but a little encouragement can do wonders.
_________________________
Slow down and do it right.

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#936254 - 12/16/08 12:28 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 542
 Quote:
Originally posted by theJourney:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by sotto voce:
[qb]
I certainly believe more in talent than in the Zodiac, but for it to be a useful pedagogical or human development concept, I would like to see more scientific underpinning applied than there is today. [/b]
Good for you! \:\)

Do you mean the scientific evidence that people differ in their level of talent, or how to teach people with various levels of talent? I don't know much about musical talent--I'm aware of books and articles on how to identify musical talent from a young age but haven't read them. On general intelligence there is a vast amount of research both on identification and teaching, done with both case studies and statistical analysis. How scientific these are, I'm sure people would make different judgments based on the yardstick that they hold. On the other hand, while it might help to categorize kids into ability groups in a regular classroom so that the teacher can give the kids different levels of challenge, the one-on-one nature of music lessons means that grouping/categorization might not be as important. Private teachers deal with one student as a time, no matter what level the student is at (because of either talent or hard work or both), the teacher will tailor the teaching to the student anyway. But of course if a teacher wants to "weed out" those who will not go very far that's a different matter...

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#936255 - 12/16/08 02:26 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
 Quote:
Originally posted by Monica K.:
Well, the Daniel Levitin book certainly talks at length about the 10,000 hours, and he cites other researchers in the chapter. The latest Malcolm Gladwell book ("Outliers") also talks about it. [/b]
Outliers seems to be generating a lot of attention lately.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/16/opinion/16brooks.html?em

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#936256 - 12/16/08 02:30 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
theJourney Offline
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Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
 Quote:
Originally posted by childofparadise2002:
Good for you! \:\)

Do you mean the scientific evidence that people differ in their level of talent, or how to teach people with various levels of talent? [/b]
I am particularly interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the confluence of circumstances that generates opportunities for people to exhibit behavior that we call talent.

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#936257 - 12/16/08 02:34 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
keyboardklutz Offline
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Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
But what is talent?
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#936258 - 12/16/08 02:36 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
theJourney Offline
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Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Whatever you want it to be? You might want to check out the last few pages kbk and see if you can bring us some clarity.

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#936259 - 12/16/08 02:44 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
I have been loosely following it but getting on with more non-loser activities (as the young, recently departed (again) Danny used to say). You'll get nowhere until the 'What is talent?' question gets answered and how do you do that?
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#936260 - 12/16/08 03:23 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11721
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
I am particularly interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the confluence of circumstances that generates opportunities for people to exhibit behavior that we call talent.
Leopold Auer, whose students included Jasha Heifetz, believed that two attributes that were important were poverty and possibly, coming from a large family.

"But one thing they must be - they must be poor! And it is best that they come from a large family."

"They should have known want; they should have known hunger. Zimbalist, Elman, Heifetz, Rosen, Seidel - they all came of poor people. There is something, I know not what, that is bred in the soul by poverty. It is something mystic. To feel this terrible need is the motive power that drives genius. It develops feeling; it makes both force and tenderness."

The full article:
http://www.web-helper.net/PDMusic/Articles/91919/article2.asp

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#936261 - 12/16/08 04:09 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
Larisa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/08
Posts: 498
Loc: Philadelphia
That's really the problem with "musical talent" - no one seems to know what it is.

I vaguely recall a story about a music student who came to a virtuoso on that instrument and asked if the virtuoso could listen to him and tell him if he had talent. The virtuoso did so, and told him that he had no talent and that he should not become a musician. The student went off, discouraged, and quit music.

Years later, he met the virtuoso again, and asked him how he could tell whether or not he had talent, and how he could be so certain. And what the virtuoso told him was that he always told people that they should not become musicians - because then, only those who really could not live without music would continue to play.

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#936262 - 12/16/08 04:17 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Larisa, your supply of anecdotes to support the idea that talent just doesn't matter seems endless. \:\)

Why does it matter what it is? I'm reminded of when the U.S. Supreme Court couldn't define what pornography is, but acknowledged that it's something that one knows when one sees it. In response to your statement that no one knows what it is, I would say that everyone knows what it is.

Talent isn't the only intangible in life that's hard to quantify. How about beauty, for instance?

In any event, why doesn't a textbook (well, dictionary ;\) ) definition suffice?

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#936263 - 12/16/08 05:33 PM Re: Realistic Expectations for Adult Beginner
Larisa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/08
Posts: 498
Loc: Philadelphia
Steven, it matters because these definitions can be, and are, used to hurt, and that countless students are turned away from music because of such definitions. I think the world needs more music-makers, not fewer, and that the world needs fewer miserable people who realize, too late, that their childhood piano teacher was wrong and that they did have "talent" after all.

As for "everyone knows what it is" - only in obvious cases. Yeah, if you've got a kid who can play a piano arrangement of a symphony after hearing it once, it's easy to tell he's got talent. What about the example I cited earlier - my father? Is he "talented"? How would you tell? And what would you tell him if he asked you? What about a random 8-year-old who comes to you for lessons? How do you tell if he's talented, and does it matter? Would you teach him any differently if you knew he was "talented"?

Are you talented? How do you know? Who told you, and how did they know? How did that affect you, and how did that affect the instruction you received? As a grownup, do you think they were right?

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