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Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time? (Read 6498 times)

Offline fleetfingers

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Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
« on: February 06, 2012, 08:15:11 PM »
I watched a 12-year-old boy who has been taking lessons for a year play a Chopin Valse. I couldn't believe my eyes or ears, but I was 20 ft behind the piano, so I know that it was real! I thought, "This kid has a gift." His playing was clear and precise and the expression he gave the piece seemed beyond his years. It was slower than professional versions I've heard, but not by much.

But, when I considered his training, I wondered - if you combine an excellent teacher with hours of practice a day, would you get the same results? Or does the student have to possess talent, too? If so, how much? I would love to attend one of his teacher's recitals to see if all of his students are so accomplished. I have attended a concert of his, and he is a very good performer himself.

So, how would you break up the percentages between teaching, talent, and time to achieve such results? For example, would you need 90% talent, 5% training/teaching, and 5% time? Or does the teaching matter more? And how important is it that the student practices for 2-3 hours each day? I wonder because I'd love to have dedicated students like that and experiment to see what I could do with them. I have one student who is motivated to learn classical music, so I've been having fun with her. She only practices 30 minutes a day, but I want her to reach her full potential, given the factors we have in play (relatively minimal practice time and teaching expertise). I also have my own kids that I've thought of pushing harder to see if they can achieve more . . . any thoughts on what it takes to get extraordinary results?

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #1 on: February 08, 2012, 09:51:09 PM »
Teaching and time are clearly important, talent is a bit more disputed; but you've left out a critical one.  Age.  Learning rates vary greatly with age of the student. 
Tim

Offline keypeg

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #2 on: February 08, 2012, 10:10:04 PM »
Teaching and time are clearly important, talent is a bit more disputed; but you've left out a critical one.  Age.  Learning rates vary greatly with age of the student.  
Supposedly.  But children do manage to catch up as they gain experience and maturity.

Offline gn622

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #3 on: February 08, 2012, 10:20:08 PM »
chopin waltz are really that difficult you know.

Offline fleetfingers

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #4 on: February 09, 2012, 08:11:53 AM »
chopin waltz are really that difficult you know.

Do you mean to say they're {not} that difficult?

I don't find them difficult either, but I've been studying piano for longer than one year. Were you able to play a Chopin waltz accurately and musically after one year of lessons? That is my question, essentially: can anyone accomplish such a thing if they have excellent instruction and 3 hours a day to practice? I really want to know, because my students can't play this after one year. But they don't practice 3 hours a day, and I'm not a concert pianist.

It was this one, btw:



And he played it nearly this well.

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #5 on: February 10, 2012, 04:50:58 PM »
Supposedly.  But children do manage to catch up as they gain experience and maturity.

There are agist-deniers, true.  But the bulk of the evidence suggests that adults learn more slowly than children.  Any of you have adult students?  Do you have even one who learns as quickly as your average child? 
Tim

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #6 on: February 10, 2012, 05:20:41 PM »
So, how would you break up the percentages between teaching, talent, and time.....? For example, would you need 90% talent, 5% training/teaching, and 5% time? Or does the teaching matter more? And how important is it that the student practices for 2-3 hours each day?

Of all the students I have taught over the years those that manage their time with mastery shine above all the others. Those that have the discipline to work hard and do it EVERY DAY make the most ground. It is certainly like the "tortoise and the hare" fable when we compare talent with discipline. Talent fizzles out easily if it is not conducted with discpline. A teacher is merely like a coach or personal trainer to the student, if the student only listens to the teacher during the lesson (and does not practice when alone) then the teaching becomes the foundation which is very shakey. Unfortunately I have had a common experience of the students learning the majority of the piano during lessons and do not practice at home .... I think that is a common experience amongst most teachers! Certainly completely relying on the teacher and not practicing or practicing without considering the lesson when at home is very wrong but a common issue amongst music students.

The general time ratio (time in lesson vs time practiced at home) I find is usually changes as the students develop. For beginners I find a 1:1 ratio is common. Many young beginners especially find practicing 10 minutes a day all they can manage. As for exam (AMEB) I find practice on your own per day generally is Grade 1-2 20minutes a day, grade 3 30/40 minutes, G4 40/50 mins, G5 1 hour, G6 1-1.5h, G7 1.5-2h, 8 2h+, further 3h+. Of course everyone is different but I find this is the average rate for a student that hopes to at least pass.

Some students just "get it" faster than others with less time. I guess this is what is considered as talent. But talented students often take what they do for granted. I have lost many talented young students who grow up and become interested in other things! They don't really realize (or don't care) that they play at a high standard and with an efficiency that is so much better than the average. So talent can stuff you up long term.

Humans are funny creatures, we often want what we do not have. So often I meet talented pianists who do not really want to become good pianists (they make no change in their life to make room for it). Then I meet the "untalented" students who want with all their being to become a good pianist and works hard constantly improving themselves these students are the most exciting to work with as a teacher by far for me personally. Many of these untalented pianists never will be able to play the most technical works but that is not important. There are many musical journies in this world, getting to the highest grade certainly is not the only one (although so many zombies follow this path).

"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
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Offline mcdiddy1

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #7 on: February 11, 2012, 02:26:25 AM »
I think motivation is a much bigger factor than talent. There is a saying that hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard and I find this very true. You can have all the talent and potential in the world but if you do not have the motivation to develop your skill set, ability to learn etc then you will not achieve anything.

You can also not be motivated for the student, the student needs to be motivated for themselves. You can build up a student's confidence and continue to challenge as a teacher but if the student does not have the "talent" to find it easy to do and find success then the students tend to not have the discipline to do it.

Finding the student with the discipline to work hard past their talent level, motivated and enjoys to practice and the student will succeed. I think talent simply accelerates the progress because the student by passes many common difficulties much faster than others. I think teaching like talent will make the progress faster and smoother or it can hinder a student but it does not guarantee success. I like many teacher have a range of students who progress very fast and

some who progress very slowly despite having the same teacher who says the same things. You can give the world's greatest piano teacher a student who refuses to listen or practice and that kid will not progress. That is not to say teaching is not important just that is all it boils down to the one magic word every teacher knows but we try to grasp for other reasons one student gets great results vs the other who gets mediocre. It all boils down to the amount of practice, effectiveness of practice and the case of young students the actions of the parents have a much bigger factor in what students talent is.

 It never fails the student who has a mother who is attentive, asking question, makes sure the student practices everyday has a student that is progressing quickly and labeled "talented" vs the mom who drops the kid off, knows nothing of music and leaves everything up the teacher and the results are inconsistent.

My advice is if you want a kid who is going to make huge progress in a year it is a simple as find a student who wants to learn, is attentive, picks up things quickly and has a parent who will make sure everything the teacher wants done is done to the letter.

As a teacher the best thing you can do is try to figure what motivates each kid to practice and mostly it needs to be enjoyable and fun. You can give each student and parent the best "practice speech" but there will be some who go above and beyond and some who will simply not do it. So I think talent and teaching can make it easier to progress faster but is not as large a factor as being motivated to work hard. Time is not as essential either because if you are spending the time doing poor practice routines, reinforcing bad habits, and clock watching then you will not progress far at all. If you have a hard working, motivated  student vs a lazy, unmotivated yet "talented" student, the hard working one will progress the furthest every time.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #8 on: February 11, 2012, 04:45:38 AM »
  But the bulk of the evidence suggests that adults learn more slowly than children. 
Except, of course, for the evidence that suggests the opposite.

Offline Mayla

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #9 on: February 11, 2012, 06:20:49 PM »
.
"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving"  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Offline mcdiddy1

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #10 on: February 12, 2012, 12:06:53 AM »
Except, of course, for the evidence that suggests the opposite.

I think on more practical terms children have the potential to learn technical actions at a greater ease than adults. Adults are can be much better learners because they are much more analytical and apt at taking previous knowledge and applying it to new situations. They just learn in different ways so it is very subjective to say one learns quicker than the other. It depends on the individual and the situations because I can think of slow learners who are children and adults. I will say adults have a much harder road to travel but can achieve a great deal with determination, effort, and teaching

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #11 on: February 13, 2012, 02:00:59 AM »
Except, of course, for the evidence that suggests the opposite.

Right.  Try teaching the average six year old and the average sixty year old Chinese, or any ofreign language, and see how you do.

Do you really insist there is NO difference, and that there is evidence for this? 

Of course there are exceptions on both ends, slow kids and fast adults.  But the vast majority will show decrement in learning speed over the aging process. 

Probably you're also going to claim adults don't lose muscle mass, flexibility, hair, hearing, vision, etc., with age, based on that one 70 year old who retained them. 

Most of the repertoire I learned before age 20 is still with me, with no need to refresh;  most of the repertoire I learned last week is gone, unless I keep refreshing it, EXACTLY as the memory experts predict.  How do you explain that, if there is no difference?   
Tim

Offline keypeg

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #12 on: February 13, 2012, 02:27:35 AM »
Right.  Try teaching the average six year old and the average sixty year old Chinese, or any ofreign language, and see how you do.
Do you teach foreign languages?  Is this coming from experience teaching languages?  I have reasons to what I am saying which I'd be happy to share.  But you are coming up with language teaching or language learning in order to make a statement about music learning so that has to be cleared up first.

I do know that I first read the idea that adults learn more slowly than children after my third year of lessons.  At that time I had watched the kids generally go much slower and I remember above all while waiting to do my exam that my teacher told me that the little boy ahead of me had taken 2 years to reach what I had in 5 months.  "You have to remember that children learn more slowly."  And then I read the opposite.  Didn't know what to make of it.  Now I do have some thoughts.

Offline mcdiddy1

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #13 on: February 13, 2012, 04:53:26 AM »
Right.  Try teaching the average six year old and the average sixty year old Chinese, or any ofreign language, and see how you do.

Do you really insist there is NO difference, and that there is evidence for this? 

Of course there are exceptions on both ends, slow kids and fast adults.  But the vast majority will show decrement in learning speed over the aging process. 

Probably you're also going to claim adults don't lose muscle mass, flexibility, hair, hearing, vision, etc., with age, based on that one 70 year old who retained them. 

Most of the repertoire I learned before age 20 is still with me, with no need to refresh;  most of the repertoire I learned last week is gone, unless I keep refreshing it, EXACTLY as the memory experts predict.  How do you explain that, if there is no difference?   

You want to keep in mind language and music learning is very different. Music learning has a physical component which tends to favor kids over adults. The human body is complex and individuals are very different. If you have cognitive experiences that involve coordination and regularly involved in learning new skills then this adult would be better suited to learning quickly. 

When the environment is right, kids have a huge advantage to incorporate new skills much quicker just by being surrounded by music compared to an adult who is surrounded by music. But my feeling is if everything is equal an adult have an advantage over children due to their advanced ability to understand written symbols and multiple experiences with that can aid them .

I think arguments that say kids learn fast and adults learn slow are often misused to dissuade adults from music learning and I think that is just wrong. The research is intended to examine the phenomenom of children playing advanced piano literature. I think that is fine but there is too little discussion about the benefits adults have over literature. The best prodigy will of course play better than the best adult who began at a older age but does that reflect the students ability to learn or the physical capacities. The child may be able to execute the music but there elements of music making adults can do better because they have a frame of reference.

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #14 on: February 13, 2012, 02:36:11 PM »
The best prodigy will of course play better than the best adult who began at a older age but does that reflect the students ability to learn or the physical capacities.

I think that we all accept that.

But why should it be true?  why should not a 16 year old who started at age 6, and a 60 year old who started at age 50 not be at EXACTLY the same level? 

You mention the best prodigy and best adult.  But we can sometimes go astray focusing on the outliers.  The average is more important to me. 

I do not dispute that adults are capable of stupendous learning feats even at advanced ages.  I would not want to discourage anyone from attempting to learn piano or anything else.  But they should know and expect more difficulties, and work on strategies to cope with those difficulties that are unnecessary for the average child. 

Why are so few teachers willing to take adult beginners?  After all, most of the typical children's problems don't exist.  They are self motivated.  They take lessons because they want to.  They make time to practice.  They don't forget their lessons, or their music.  They pay on time. 

But, by and large, they don't succeed.  This is frustrating for teachers, who sincerely want their students to do well, and after trying a few adults become convinced it's just not going to happen.  (or they specialize in adults, being willing to enjoy the small steps that do happen) 
Tim

Offline keypeg

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #15 on: February 13, 2012, 03:11:15 PM »
Still no answer re:
Quote
Right.  Try teaching the average six year old and the average sixty year old Chinese, or any foreign language, and see how you do.
Whether this comes from your own activities of teaching language to children and adults.  Are you saying that your experiences were different with one group than the other?  Or is this from what you've read about it?

While waiting, here is my answer.
If you try to teach a language to a child, you will probably interfere with the child's language learning.  You will also probably be trying to teach language to the child in the way that adults get taught language, which is why you will be making it hard for the child to learn.  When a second language is taught in the classroom, the results are not that good.  How many people "had French" or "had Spanish" as children and talk about how hopeless that was?

My experience teaching language to adults was rather good because of the approach we used.  My experience teaching in the classroom (children ages 7 - 10) was not good because of the system I was forced to use.  However, teaching two teens one-on-one: good again.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #16 on: February 13, 2012, 04:55:03 PM »
Timothy, how about exploring the types of things that go on which will affect learning.  I believe that a lot has to do with attitude and approach.

- Many adults who have never had music lessons before approach them with preconceptions which prevent them from responding directly to things.  Conceptualizing is an advantage, but it can also be a barrier to direct experience: you absorb what you think you should be hearing rather than what you do hear (and feel etc.)  Knowledge of this can circumvent it.

- Our training in school academically, especially in higher education (many adult students are those who can afford lessons) forms a barrier, because a beginner should not work like a university student.  We're in a world of counting to three while getting a handle on our limbs and getting those bouncy black and white things to make interesting noises.  The more physical and direct with no preconception of what to expect, the better.  Again, this is habit.

- Adults may start lessons with an idea of what pieces they want to be taught, how those pieces ought to sound, and maybe how they think they should be taught, and (unconsciously) how they should be listening to their teacher.  They may go home and practice how they think it should be done, paying attention to what they think needs attention.  This is habit and attitude, rather than ability or potential.

- There is an atmosphere that the older student should not take himself seriously, this being reinforced by society, a kind of embarrassment or shyness that will interfere with success.  Also, being taken in by the illusion of the trained artist that all is done with ease and "talent" so that when that fluency isn't instantly there, the older student will think he is lacking something.  Small children's studies are taken seriously by society, and being clumsy novices is a way of life for them.  They know they are "growing up".

- In the past we saw attitudes by teachers that adults should not be taken seriously, any kind of music could be thrown at them.  The type of aimless teaching that I saw recommended a decade ago would make any student of any age fail.  This seems to have turned around.

- If you compare "adult methods" with regular children methods written by the same publisher, you'll find that the regular method aims to teach numerous skills and give various musical experiences, while the "adult" books ride the surface, catering for a wish to go fast and play well known tunes.  If only one group is given solid foundations of musicianship, is it surprising that the results are different?

- I suspect that our sophistication works against us.  Just because I understand something intellectually does not mean that I have it in my body and my ears.  But will teachers give adults the same richness of experience that children get, or will we be immersed in concepts and sophistication too early?  (Noting my repeated emphasis of experiences of sophisticated things).  Do we know how to practice, and is this taught?

That is quite a list of things that can get in the way of progress in learning to play an instrument.  Unless they are addressed, you cannot know what someone's potential actually is.  Or put another way, statements about teachers avoiding adults and possible failures have to take possible causes into account.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #17 on: February 13, 2012, 05:03:15 PM »
I'm deleting my second post because this is moving seriously away from the main topic into an old worn out one.

Offline decemberbell

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #18 on: March 21, 2012, 05:01:37 AM »
Hi,

I have the same point with lostinidlewonder. The percentage is roughly like that. Practice : 80%. Talent : 10 %. Teacher : 10 %.

Having a gifted talent is an advantage. It is nothing if students don't really devote themselves into practice. They tend to forget what the teacher discussed with them during the last lesson and make the same mistake again. They have the potential to become a solid technique player if they really practice. In my humble opinion, these lazy talented students are good in interpreting a piece beautifully and delivering the message or emotion in a piece without having much problem. Their music is really coming from their heart and soul. I mean if you compare them with those untalented. In preparation for exam, lazy talented students always make the last minute effort but they normally manage to pass or even get better result in the end.

However, I don't think their sight reading skill is superb since they rarely train their eyes to read score and familiar themselves with the topography of keyboard through practicing. Of course there are some exceptional cases for those who are gifted with the ability. My teacher told me a story about a blind autistic man who can play any piece of music after hearing it only once. It is amazing ! I feel ashamed of myself.

The same thing happens if you have a great teacher to teach you but you don't practice. It won't affect so much. Teachers' responsibilities are giving advices and suggestions. You are the one who are responsible to make yourselves a great pianist. In my town, there are students who don't work hard to improve themselves but blame the teacher when they fail in exam. They will spread bad things about the teacher behind the teacher's back. If they get flying colour result, they never say thank you to the teacher but tell the whole world that they are talented and great.

I always tell my students if you don't practice you are nothing no matter how talented you are or you are a prodigy. If you want to be on top of your game, you must work hard. There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

A netizen told me one thing. Apart from practice, talent and teacher, a musician must be humble and willing to receive criticism and learn from other musicians. An arrogant musician won't go far.

Best Regards,

DecemberBell



Offline werq34ac

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #19 on: March 21, 2012, 05:11:15 AM »
There was a lot to read so i didn't read everything.

So you're impressed with a 12 year old who can play a Chopin waltz? How about 6 year olds who can play Chopin etudes? Some of those are on youtube too!
Ravel Jeux D'eau
Brahms 118/2
Liszt Concerto 1
Rachmaninoff/Kreisler Liebesleid

Offline j_menz

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #20 on: March 21, 2012, 05:36:33 AM »
Actual quote from a forum on kids and music:

"The baby (15mo) is already on Suzuki teachers' waiting list for piano (first) and violin (later on....) The baby loved music in utero. "

Can't wait for the first YouTube vid of an ultrasound of a foetus playing the OC note perfect.
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Offline fleetfingers

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #21 on: March 22, 2012, 05:19:25 AM »
So you're impressed with a 12 year old who can play a Chopin waltz? How about 6 year olds who can play Chopin etudes? Some of those are on youtube too!

Six years old and playing an etude? Is that an exaggeration? I don't believe there is a 6-year-old on youtube playing a Chopin Etude . . . if you know of one, post it. :)
 
The 12-year-old I mentioned had been playing the piano for only a year. Yes, that is impressive. But . . . the point of my thread was not to discuss what is the most amazing thing we've seen. I was asking, as a teacher, what are the odds of getting extraordinary results? Not so weird a question, I think.

Thank you everyone for the responses so far.

Offline werq34ac

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #22 on: March 22, 2012, 10:13:04 PM »

She might not be six in this video, I don't know, but I'm 90% sure I've seen a video of her when she was six playing this.

Quote
But . . . the point of my thread was not to discuss what is the most amazing thing we've seen. I was asking, as a teacher, what are the odds of getting extraordinary results? Not so weird a question, I think.

Well, that's not the most amazing thing I've seen.. the issue with child prodigies is that many of them burn out before becoming truly a great pianist.

Anyway, in my opinion, Talent=potential. Teacher=allows for the potential to be tapped into. Practice(Time)=makes sure potential doesn't go to waste. I mean, all of us have some level of talent, some more than others. A good teacher enables the student to use that potential, but without practice, potential stays as potential, never being fully utilized. As for larger units of time, years, more years means more practice. But in addition, the student has more experience in music as the years go by and become more mature as the grow older.
Ravel Jeux D'eau
Brahms 118/2
Liszt Concerto 1
Rachmaninoff/Kreisler Liebesleid

Offline pianodannn

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #23 on: March 28, 2016, 02:26:34 PM »
 Talent is at least 50% of the equation. Do you really think a child an be "taught" to move their fingers with lightning speed and precision in just 1 year? Of course not. Somebody who can play that Chopin Waltz within 1 year is already tremendously talented.Many students  would take 10 years of daily practice to reach that level. Some 20.Some never, after any kind of training. I really don't believe dedication can allow a student with minimal aptitude to become very good, even when the persistence is extraordinarily high. You cannot become advanced without some natural talent or aptitude. This is true for any skill or pursuit, not just piano. Some individuals are just naturally lacking in aptitude, and excellence cannot be taught to these individuals. After many years, I have sincerely lost belief in the value of hard work, as I can see it is of little value to those who are not gifted from the outset....

Offline keypeg

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #24 on: March 28, 2016, 05:39:23 PM »
oops - saw I was responding to an old post that I had responded to before.

Offline jimroof

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #25 on: March 31, 2016, 06:36:34 PM »
There are agist-deniers, true.  But the bulk of the evidence suggests that adults learn more slowly than children.  Any of you have adult students?  Do you have even one who learns as quickly as your average child? 

It has been a while since I have taught, but when I did, there was an interesting attribute that most adults had...

They could intellectually pick things up a little faster than a child in many cases, but they hit a plateau very quickly where they were held back by a lack of dexterity.  The only time I had an adult who was 'OK' was when that student had already mastered some skill early on that required individual finger movement.  Physically, children are easy to teach and mold.  Their brains are just soaking up skills and their neural pathways are still in very formative stages.  If I had an adult who came to me at say, age 30, and all they had ever done with their hands was work on cars... they never had a chance.

I know we like to try to be fair to people and not pigeon-hole them, but of the 60-70 students that I taught, the kids ran circles around the adults after 'When the Saints Go Marching In' was reached.  In all of my years as a musician I have only known ONE musician of ANY instrument who excelled when starting their instrument as an adult.  That was a guitarist who began playing at 19.  He was a very good player.

To the original question - I would estimate that the talent part of the equation is the real interesting area.  If musical talent is anything like IQ, there will be a large percent that are average, a 10-15% who are clearly above average, and 2-3% who are very talented and a fraction of a percent who simply have a freakish gift. 

Talent is the starting point.  The teaching and time are multipliers.  Take a very dense student (low talent) and if that person COULD work with a good teacher and spent a lot of time, they still will not play in an accomplished manner.  Take a very bright talent and hook them up with a halfway decent teacher and get them to practice an hour before each lesson after having not practiced a single day since their last lesson... and that student will be hailed as a success.  I know.  That describes me as a child.  Had I put the TIME in early on... but I did not do that until my late teen years.

Every now and then you get all things to line up and that is where the current crop of great pianists comes from. 

I am totally convinced that part of this IS a gift that no teacher can create and no amount of time can produce.
Chopin Ballades
Chopin Scherzos 2 and 3
Mephisto Waltz 1
Beethoven Piano Concerto 3
Schumann Concerto Am
Ginastera Piano Sonata
L'isle Joyeuse
Feux d'Artifice
Prokofiev Sonata Dm

Offline bernadette60614

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #26 on: May 21, 2016, 09:06:31 PM »
Coming in late:

I have one datapoint...and I made him.  As a young child (he's an early teen now), he could fixate on something in a way that could have been troubling.  We went through fixations on cars, trains, water, magic, etc.  Kids don't have that constant undercurrent of:  am I good enough, am I practicing enough, as I moving my cars as fast as the other kids. What they are absorbed in, they are absolutely absorbed in.

A few years ago, DS and I went to a restaurant which had a weekly quartet with a singer.  Around us was noise, dishes clanking, people ordering. DS pulled up a chair in front of the vocalist who sang Autumn Leaves.  I was calculating the check and thinking about groceries. DS listened with such absorption to the vocalist that when she finished, he literally fell off his chair.

There is talent, practice and time...these is also undiluted focus, which I think we lose as we age.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #27 on: May 22, 2016, 07:41:11 AM »
There is talent, practice and time...these is also undiluted focus, which I think we lose as we age.
We don't.

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #28 on: May 22, 2016, 12:15:55 PM »
We don't.

I tend to agree.  There are things we lose as we age, but I think we can still choose to focus intensely if it's important to us to do so. 
Tim

Offline bernadette60614

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #29 on: May 22, 2016, 03:31:42 PM »
I should have stated in that last line that I have found it difficult to have that undiluted focus.

I admire people who seem to have the gift of entering "flow" or who can put themselves in that profound state. Probably for me, that is the greatest barrier to progress as a pianist.

For those of you have this ability, any thoughts on how this may be consciously developed?

Offline falala

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #30 on: May 22, 2016, 08:25:54 PM »
it's a difficult subject because we don't really know or have a clear understanding what we mean by this word "talent". Is it supposed to be something in the genes? If so I don't see how you can prove its existence by looking at a 12 year old, who has already had 12 years of different experiences from other people and literally billions of neuronal connections forming in their brain that we can't nearly understand.

Probably the best we can say is that some people in some situations learn a hell of a lot more quickly than others. Some of the reasons for that have already been touched on - motivation is a huge one, and also the fact that kids still in the critical period learn quick and accurate finger dexterity much better than adults.

Another one that I think is often overlooked is the role of informal learning. Just being around music, being sung to (in tune), having a home life that values music and having musical role models among your acquaintances. I'd be interested to know how these factors played out in the life of the 12 year old, even if he didn't have his first formal piano lesson till he was 11.

There's also a particular TYPE of learning that can sometimes happen astonishingly quickly, which is the technical, literal copying thing. I have a kid like that in one of my primary school classes. I'm pretty sure he has perfect pitch; he can sing anything from memory or score, pick out backing parts in songs etc. He's slightly on the autistic spectrum and I think that helps - he has a way of just sitting completely quietly and analysing what he hears and then bang - just does it. Whether he'll ever learn an instrument to a high standard or be an original interpreter or creator I don't know, but there's no doubt there's something very different, more straightforward and efficient, about the learning process of basic musical patterns.

Without wishing to open up a whole can of worms, Asian kids often seem to have this quality too. There's a chinese guy in the UK called Yanfan Yang - he was in this year's BBC young musician keyboard final. Took up the piano at 6 and did Grade 8 when he was 8. How?

There's no doubt there's a huge amount we just can't account for.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #31 on: May 23, 2016, 02:33:52 AM »
I should have stated in that last line that I have found it difficult to have that undiluted focus.

I admire people who seem to have the gift of entering "flow" or who can put themselves in that profound state. Probably for me, that is the greatest barrier to progress as a pianist.

For those of you have this ability, any thoughts on how this may be consciously developed?
I'm thinking about this.  I guess it's just kind of my nature.  I love to be totally absorbed by something that interests me.  It's like you are drawn to pay attention to certain things, or look for things you didn't even know you were looking for but when it's there it catches your attention.   Well, I noticed something in your other post:
Quote
Kids don't have that constant undercurrent of:  am I good enough, am I practicing enough, as I moving my cars as fast as the other kids.
Maybe our society drums that interest out of a lot of people for exactly that reason: the judgment, along with the "motivation devices" used in many schools that gets kids to compare themselves, earn stars and such.  Maybe it sort of externalizes a person if that makes sense.

For the same reason certain kinds of lessons or courses bother me.  They want to "make it interesting" or "make it motivating" so they prevent you from going deeply into the subject since that would be "boring" or "strenuous" and after all, we want to "move fast".  If you are the type to get engrossed, this flitting from thing to thing is unpleasant.

And maybe too in our society we are taught to be polite: if you are totally absorbed by something so that everything else (maybe other people) disappear, well that is not very sociable.

I'm just stabbing around in the dark here.

Offline mjames

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #32 on: May 23, 2016, 02:57:48 AM »
I should have stated in that last line that I have found it difficult to have that undiluted focus.

I admire people who seem to have the gift of entering "flow" or who can put themselves in that profound state. Probably for me, that is the greatest barrier to progress as a pianist.

For those of you have this ability, any thoughts on how this may be consciously developed?

be really neurotic about piano playing.
basically become so obsessed about your playing that everything irrelevant to it ceases to exist. that's for practicing.

for performing...hmmm
Over-prepare. Know your piece(s) inside out, so much that you can perform and visualize every single note and crossover in your head. Second, you just have to get used to performing it front of people.
I have played over a dozen times in front of people (actual events) and I'm finding myself to be able to focus on the music more than the audience. Next semester I'll take a big risk and play the op. 44 in a public concert... ;D ;D ::) ::)

Let's see how that will turn out. XD

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #33 on: May 23, 2016, 06:51:17 PM »
  Kids don't have that constant undercurrent of:  am I good enough, am I practicing enough, as I moving my cars as fast as the other kids. .

Well, boys don't.
Tim

Offline keypeg

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #34 on: May 23, 2016, 07:02:58 PM »
Well, boys don't.
Girls don't either. ;)

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Speculate a ratio between talent, teaching, and time?
«Reply #35 on: May 23, 2016, 07:20:26 PM »
Girls don't either. ;)

No, there's substantial research that girls have much less confidence in their own abilities at the same skill level as the boys.  I'm not sure of the age range where this starts but for sure in high school, college, and careers this is true.  Girls are twice as likely to drop a class if they have one bad exam, and often change majors after getting a B in college. 
Tim