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Author Topic: What is talent? How do you know you're musically talented?  (Read 27318 times)
ranniks
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« on: June 26, 2013, 09:54:30 PM »

Usually when I hear the term 'musically talented' I think of young kids/people in the age group of 8-15 who can play the piano really well. let's say a 13 year old playing Rach's prelude in G minor or a 10 year old playing Chopin's valse brillante. I'm sure there are videos of such people.

But what is talent? How do you know you are musically talented? I have no confidence; it stems from being bullied in my younger teens.

Are you musically talented if you can learn 10 piano pieces in the first year of your piano journey? Be it 10 years old, 20, 30 or even 60 to 90 when you started? Albeit I think that older than that your hands might not be as efficient, but I don't really know.

If someone plays 5 hours a day, they are bound to hit that 10 piece number in one year.

Doesn't that mean that talent doesn't exist and that it's all hard work?

Isn't it obnoxious to say that talent does exist? Is this not something pianists/musicians use to justify the perhaps-not-a-fact saying 'some people learn slower than others and some are even unable to play/learn music'?

If not, explain to me what talent is.

Because the only thing that comes to my mind when speaking of 'talent' is a person, doesn't matter what age, who is able to learn 5 chopin, mozart, bach and beethoven pieces including making 5 compositions of his own in his first year of playing piano or another instrument. But for the sake of classical music, let's keep it to the piano, violin, viola cello and some flutes. And instruments that are often used in concerts of classical music.

But then again, that person might not be classified as being 'talented', no, that person would be someone who is gifted and the next Rach.

With own compositions I mean complex and heart taking pieces.

Yes, Gould was brilliant, yes Rubinstein is a genius, yes Horowitz was an artist and yes Borenboim is very good. But - and this may be to a lack of knowledge - where are their famous pieces? Why don't we see any of there pieces played so commercially like Rach's?

This is not to say that they are not masters of the piano, because they are, but where is the greatness element that the last great composer Rach has echoed to the entire world?

That being said, what is talent?





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j_menz
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« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2013, 12:31:48 AM »

That being said, what is talent?

Something one acquires along the way, incidentally, as one pursues something one loves.
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ajspiano
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« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2013, 12:57:47 AM »


That being said, what is talent?


The word non-musicians use to describe good musicians while simultaneously justifying their lack of ability and letting themselves believe that that does not result from an insufficient amount of dedication and thoughtful practice.
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awesom_o
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« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2013, 02:14:36 AM »

The word non-musicians use to describe good musicians while simultaneously justifying their lack of ability resulting from an insufficient amount of dedication and thoughtful practice.

Perfect definition!
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dima_ogorodnikov
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« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2013, 05:44:21 AM »

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iancollett6
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« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2013, 07:45:18 AM »

I think the real talent is in the actual composing of the music..The playing of the pieces is a combination of hard work, determination, quality time, an understanding wife, a quality instrument..and talent.
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outin
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« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2013, 10:02:52 AM »

I am convinced that "musical" talent has not so much to do with music, but rather with an unusual gift for coordination of body movements.

This and certain efficency in brain functions that enable one to concentrate well and on multiple things at the same time. That's my definition of talent in playing music. Things you may be born with that make it so much easier than for an average person. But also things that one can develope up to a certain level even when not blessed with as much from the beginning. Talent makes is easier so allows one to climb higher, but it rarely means that a lot of hard work is not needed to get there.
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bronnestam
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« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2013, 10:18:39 AM »

Yes, talent = passion, the willingness to do whatever it takes to reach a certain goal.

I am not fond of this progidy thing - you know, little kids playing with excellent technical skill (for their age) ... are they more "talented" than a person who has to work 20 years to gain the same skill? I don't think so. Some veggies need the whole summer to develop, some are ready early - are the early veggies always better than the late ones? There are no guarantees that the kid who plays the Chopin etudes fluently at the age of 8, will sky-rocket his/her career and peak  somewhere close to heaven when he/she is an adult. They can just as well stop developing, get tired of the whole thing and give up when they are late teens.
I also have reached the conclusion that life experience is an essential factor when it comes to deeper understanding of music. I think it is better to let the children be just children while they are children. Growing as a human being is more important than growing as a pianist - even for a pianist!!!

I think it is very bad that our whole society and culture only encourage the fast learners and tell the slow learners that they "lack talent". God knows how many BIG talents that have left both football training and piano playing before they got a change to get in bloom, only because they needed a longer time to fully develop, and in the meantime they were told they were no good and had no talent, until they started to believe it themselves.

I also know a lot of people who claim they want to reach a goal in, let's say, piano playing (I hope I'm not one of them, but I am not sure!)  but then they don't seem to be very willing to develop after all. They don't listen enough to their teacher, they don't work hard enough, they don't seem to LISTEN to what they really play. A "talent", IMO, never gives up, is never too lazy for anything and is extremely willing to take any kind of advice and at least try it out before dismissing it.
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outin
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« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2013, 11:36:33 AM »

A "talent", IMO, never gives up, is never too lazy for anything and is extremely willing to take any kind of advice and at least try it out before dismissing it.

I have another word for that, persistence. Also if one is smart in how one works, one can go around much lack of talent.

I have always considered myself talented in those areas where I can just do things better than most other people without putting much effort into it. That's why I don't consider myself talented for the piano because I can just achieve mediocre results with a lot of work.
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bronnestam
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« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2013, 01:11:37 PM »

I have another word for that, persistence. Also if one is smart in how one works, one can go around much lack of talent.

I have always considered myself talented in those areas where I can just do things better than most other people without putting much effort into it. That's why I don't consider myself talented for the piano because I can just achieve mediocre results with a lot of work.

But maybe you underestimate the amount of work the "talents" put in the same thing. Sometimes I have considered putting up a video on YouTube showing me during different stages of studying a certain piano piece. I hesitate, though, because I think I would be the laughing stock of the day. My first attempt (no: my first 50 attempts ...) with a new, medium level piece are like a bad joke. My mother used to say "well ... that piece is a bit too hard for you, isn't it?" and that always annoyed me to death. She could never understand that the road for me is that bumby, always. At the end, after one zillion practice hours, it suddenly started to sound quite good, and then people would say to me: "wow, you are talented! I can't believe how you can do that!"  And I thought  Roll Eyes  "if you only knew ..."

Yeah, sometimes I feel like the most untalented piano player in the world, because I have to put in ridiculously much work in order to make it sound ok.  Lately I have learned, though, that there are smarter ways here and there, which has made my practicing more effective.

So don't mix up the road to the end result, with the end result itself. If you practice like an idiot with, let's say, tha Appassionata sonata and the end result is magnificent, wouldn't you be considered a great talent then? Even if you have to work 10 times longer in order to learn it, than Rubinstein had to do? 
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perprocrastinate
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« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2013, 01:21:51 PM »

The word non-musicians use to describe good musicians while simultaneously justifying their lack of ability and letting themselves believe that that does not result from an insufficient amount of dedication and thoughtful practice.

I'm writing this down and saving it.
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awesom_o
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« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2013, 01:37:53 PM »

In all seriousness, though, talent is very real.

How quickly you can master difficult music, the actual thoroughness and extent of the mastery itself, how musically you can sight-read, how skillfully you can improvise, transpose, learn by ear, etc.

Then there is the actual caliber and quality of your compositions themselves.

If you are musically talented, you will compose your own music. It will not be enough to play the music of others. You will probably also seek mastery of more than one art form.

If your talent is of the first rate, your musical compositions will reflect that. Both in their quality AND their quantity.

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outin
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« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2013, 06:33:19 PM »

But maybe you underestimate the amount of work the "talents" put in the same thing.  
I don't. I am 100% certain that some people have it a lot easier with certain things important in piano playing (physique being one of them). That's just my definition of talent. The more talented you are the easier it is to work in a right way from the start and progress fast so you'll be able to progress higher.

I don't consider people "talents", talent is just a quality one can have. Some have more, some have less. I think it's pretty rare to have none. So we obviously have a different definition here.

I didn't mean that every talent can be realized into skill without a lot of hard work, although some on mine seem to be of that sort Smiley

On the other hand I do not see talents as specific to a certain task. The physical talents that help in playing the piano also help in many other things. The same with brain functions. This is why some people seem to excel in almost anything they decide to do and others in nothing. Some of us are blessed with a smaller set of talents than others, but if we happen to find something where our talents work, we can achieve great things.
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outin
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« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2013, 06:35:50 PM »

So don't mix up the road to the end result, with the end result itself. If you practice like an idiot with, let's say, tha Appassionata sonata and the end result is magnificent, wouldn't you be considered a great talent then? Even if you have to work 10 times longer in order to learn it, than Rubinstein had to do? 

No, I do not consider that talent. That's skill, which can be obtained many ways, with or without much talent.
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cabbynum
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« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2013, 03:10:13 PM »

The word non-musicians use to describe good musicians while simultaneously justifying their lack of ability and letting themselves believe that that does not result from an insufficient amount of dedication and thoughtful practice.

Love it!!!
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faulty_damper
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« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2013, 12:34:23 AM »

Love it!!!
Seconded.

Also, there are over a dozen books about the talent myth such as:

Talent is Overated: http://www.amazon.com/Talent-Overrated-World-Class-Performers-EverybodyElse/dp/1591842948/ref=pd_sim_b_2

The Talent Code: http://www.amazon.com/The-Talent-Code-Greatness-Grown/dp/055380684X/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_y

Outliers: The Story of Success http://www.amazon.com/Outliers-Story-Success-Malcolm-Gladwell/dp/0316017930/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_z

Bounce... the Science of Success: http://www.amazon.com/Bounce-Federer-Picasso-Beckham-Science/dp/B004NSVE5U/ref=pd_sim_b_3

Drive: http://www.amazon.com/Drive-Surprising-Truth-About-Motivates/dp/1594484805/ref=pd_sim_b_12

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outin
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« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2013, 06:27:04 AM »

This will be a never ending discussion because people use the word talent in very different meanings. For some people talent is an on-off thing and they may even use is as a word to decribe an individual (someone is "a talent"). I have never used the word in that meaning, for me talent is a measurable thing, which has both quality and quantity. People have different amounts of different types of inborn (or early acquired) talent which definitely have an impact on how well they will succeed in any given task when the amount and quality of work is constant. What makes the equation complex is of course the fact that the quality and amount of talent and the quality of the work are not independent of each other, thus making it almost impossible to reliably measure the effect of pre-existing talent. But when you go to the far ends of the bell curve, the effect clearly exist and trying to deny it will not help anyone's learning process.
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« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2013, 08:19:59 AM »

I have yet to read any research that indicates that there is, in fact, talent.  Even if you go to the end of the curve, it will more likely be explained by other factors such as culture, SES, opportunity, and social reinforcement.  E.g. a person has an IQ score of >160 is well at the end.  Immediately, I can tell you that the person is male, white, college-educated, college-educated parents, first born or only child, lives in a socially stable region... and many other things.  All of these things contribute to his high IQ.  Remove any one of them and he won't have that >160 IQ.  It will still be high, but not as high due to removing one of these factors.  These are subtle factors that allows a person to achieve things most people never even get close to.  What these factors can be generally called: privilege.

It's rare that privilege is acquired; privilege is almost always given prior to birth. And you cannot account for every single piece of privilege a person has been born into.  But that privilege is what can create the appearance of talent.*


*I am not referring to talent as a physical attribute, like being able to sprint or being tall.  Bipedal racing and basketball depends on physical ability as well as physical stature.  I taller person will generally be a "better" basketball player.  A person born with more fast-twitch muscle fibers will generally be a better sprinter.  But I do not consider this talent.
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dima_ogorodnikov
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« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2013, 08:46:27 AM »

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No amount of how-to information is going to work if you have the wrong mindset, the wrong guiding philosophies. Avoid losers like the plague, and gather with and learn from winners only.
pianoman53
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« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2013, 09:40:56 AM »

Talent is everything you are GIVEN at birth. That's why we call such people GIFTED. It is a natural ability to excel at a duty or action. How does that not include physical attributes?
Why does it have to be something from birth? Seems a bit strange. And why is talent only one thing? Some people have a talent of understanding things, other has talent for working hard, and others has physical talent.
The talent for working hard is somewhat considered less of a talent than, say, being able to play really fast at a young age

I don't think many people would consider a hard working student very talented, unless s/he played something difficult. Though, a few years later the student might be a much better pianist and musician than those fast players from her youth.

Talent is a stupid word, that probably ruined more careers than the opposite.
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dima_ogorodnikov
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« Reply #20 on: July 12, 2013, 10:43:20 AM »

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No amount of how-to information is going to work if you have the wrong mindset, the wrong guiding philosophies. Avoid losers like the plague, and gather with and learn from winners only.
outin
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« Reply #21 on: July 12, 2013, 11:58:04 AM »

I have yet to read any research that indicates that there is, in fact, talent.  Even if you go to the end of the curve, it will more likely be explained by other factors such as culture, SES, opportunity, and social reinforcement.  E.g. a person has an IQ score of >160 is well at the end.  Immediately, I can tell you that the person is male, white, college-educated, college-educated parents, first born or only child, lives in a socially stable region... and many other things.  All of these things contribute to his high IQ.  Remove any one of them and he won't have that >160 IQ.  It will still be high, but not as high due to removing one of these factors.  These are subtle factors that allows a person to achieve things most people never even get close to.  What these factors can be generally called: privilege.

It's rare that privilege is acquired; privilege is almost always given prior to birth. And you cannot account for every single piece of privilege a person has been born into.  But that privilege is what can create the appearance of talent.*


*I am not referring to talent as a physical attribute, like being able to sprint or being tall.  Bipedal racing and basketball depends on physical ability as well as physical stature.  I taller person will generally be a "better" basketball player.  A person born with more fast-twitch muscle fibers will generally be a better sprinter.  But I do not consider this talent.

Your definition of talent is clearly very different than mine, which brings us back to the impossibility of ever getting somewhere with this discussion. There's a lot of research indicating that inborn talent exists in the definition that I use it. But I would never overlook the environmental or social factors, those are extremely important as well. I also don't think talent is something rare, what is rare is that everything locks into place, talent, right environment, interest and right kind of tutoring to create a virtuoso in a certain field.

BTW. There are traits (which can be called talents) one is born with, and they may be genetic or congenital. But there are also things that are normally acquired in the childhood that are difficult to acquire to the same extend if that window of opportunity is missed. Motoric control is one of these things. Children who due to health problems are not able to exercise or move normally will seldom be able to develope the same level of motoric control than someone who has been active for their whole childhood. The human body and mind can compensate a lot, but only to certain level. That's why I think that talents can in some cases also be developed or suppressed after birth.
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« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2013, 08:06:47 PM »

To me there is talented and then there is naturally talented . A person could be considered quite talented at the piano but every step along the way is a pure struggle for them. In the end he/she plays well, perhaps very well and everyone says that person is talented at the piano.. Then there is the naturally talented person who learns quite easily, picks up rhythm in a natural way, just doesn't struggle as much as the other person in order to get to the same spot. Music and piano is intuitive to them. It could be presumed I suppose that this person will get there more quickly, advance further with less effort. I didn't say no effort but less struggle, if you will.

Both can be talented at the piano in the long run.

Child prodigies are another thing all together, I have no clue what makes them tick !

Mozart, Beethoven and the like ( the famous composers lets say), people whose time was ripe I suppose. An average person, even a naturally talented  one, might want to steer clear of these types in terms of competition or comparison ! They were/ are beyond talented but musical genius instead. Writing the book vs reading the book of instruction so to speak.
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Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.
hfmadopter
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« Reply #23 on: July 12, 2013, 09:44:32 PM »


But what is talent? How do you know you are musically talented? I have no confidence; it stems from being bullied in my younger teens.

If someone plays 5 hours a day, they are bound to hit that 10 piece number in one year.


Being bullied is something that happens in one form or another to all of us at some point in our lives I think !

Hmmm, 5 hours per day, 10 pieces per year ? Maybe not me, perhaps not a lot of people here ( some I consider to be very talented), certainly not ten new larger pieces just speaking for myself. I may have done ten in a recital but not all new for that year.

David
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Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.
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« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2013, 10:30:20 PM »

To me there is talented and then there is naturally talented . A person could be considered quite talented at the piano but every step along the way is a pure struggle for them. In the end he/she plays well, perhaps very well and everyone says that person is talented at the piano.. Then there is the naturally talented person who learns quite easily, picks up rhythm in a natural way, just doesn't struggle as much as the other person in order to get to the same spot. Music and piano is intuitive to them. It could be presumed I suppose that this person will get there more quickly, advance further with less effort. I didn't say no effort but less struggle, if you will.
The difference between the "naturally" gifted and the "struggler" is primarily instruction.  Just like a great coach is worth his weight in gold, so are great teachers.  There are examples in sports of when instruction failed.  E.g. After Michelle Kwan (gold medal figure skater) dumped her long time coach, she failed to make it to the final rounds of competitions.  Ditto that for Tiger Woods (pro golfer).  They went from great to being subpar simply by dumping their teachers.  When they got coaches again, they returned to the podium.

What appears to be struggling is often times a simple lack of necessary prior knowledge or skills, not ability.  These athletes clearly had the ability, but without the necessary instruction, they couldn't put that ability to their full use.  Hence their failure.  The same can be said of school children who struggle. They are most likely lacking prior knowledge or skills necessary to do the task at hand.  Remedy this lack and they will thrive.
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faulty_damper
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« Reply #25 on: July 12, 2013, 10:34:26 PM »

Talent is everything you are GIVEN at birth. That's why we call such people GIFTED. It is a natural ability to excel at a duty or action. How does that not include physical attributes?

Yeah right... being born with the genetic disposition to be tall is a "talent".  By the same coin, having arms exactly 32" in length is a "talent".  Having two rows of teeth is a "talent".  Having 10 toes is a "talent".  This is why I say that these physical traits are not talents.
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hfmadopter
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« Reply #26 on: July 12, 2013, 10:51:12 PM »

The difference between the "naturally" gifted and the "struggler" is primarily instruction.  Just like a great coach is worth his weight in gold, so are great teachers. 


It's a matter of aptitude. The greatest teacher in the world can't get far if the person has no aptitude. Granted, if the person has great aptitude and a lousy teacher that may not work out so great either.
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Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.
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« Reply #27 on: July 13, 2013, 12:48:12 PM »

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No amount of how-to information is going to work if you have the wrong mindset, the wrong guiding philosophies. Avoid losers like the plague, and gather with and learn from winners only.
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« Reply #28 on: July 13, 2013, 10:40:43 PM »

The fact that a person has two rows of teeth is nothing special, but a good or bad overbite (or the form of the lips for that matter) may determine succes (or the lack thereof) in playing a brass instrument professionally.


Quote
About the 10 toes: the fact that there are 10 of them in a person may not be a talent, but the natural ability to move them 1 by 1 (I have seen such children) certainly indicates something special in the field of coordination of the lower extremities and such children will most likely end up on sport championships.


Quote
Future ballet dancers, gymnasts, etc. are often picked early in childhood mainly based on certain physical attributes that signal about possible future success.
No doubt, as women with narrow hips, similar to men, make better runners in both sprints and marathons.  The same body type also do well in gymnastics, or in physical activities that requires an even balance of the upper and lower body.  This is why those who participate in such activities usually have narrower hips... until they turn 22 and their hips widen to the point where the imbalance of weight causes them to lose their competitive advantage.  Hence the reason why most competitive gymnasts are under 20.

 I still do not consider physical traits to be talents since the opposite can be said that wiggling individual toes is useless... unless you lose your arms to an accident and have to learn to use your feet to do the very same tasks.
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« Reply #29 on: July 14, 2013, 12:21:52 PM »

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No amount of how-to information is going to work if you have the wrong mindset, the wrong guiding philosophies. Avoid losers like the plague, and gather with and learn from winners only.
faulty_damper
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« Reply #30 on: July 14, 2013, 08:58:53 PM »

"Aptitude for learning" is too general a term to describe anything useful.  What appears to be aptitude is usually acquired pre-requisite skills that are put to use so that it appears that a person learns quickly.  Remove one of these pre-requisite skills and the person will have "normal" aptitude.  As an example, most young people who immigrate from other countries to the US will almost always have greater aptitude at math.  Is it because immigrants are talented in math or is it because the country they come from has higher standards?  It's because they already learned it, sometimes a couple of grades earlier.

As for the girl writing with her feet, she would never have done it she had hands.  She was forced to use her feet.  It seems like a talent but anyone can learn it if they had to.  Yet you insist that it's her innate talent that allows her to do so.  Where's the evidence for innate talent? 

She's not the only person who can write with her feet.  Many people can write with their feet; but they usually don't have arms.  And people who lose only one arm will learn to use their other arm.  How is that a talent?  All they did is learn to use the other one for tasks the missing arm usually did.
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« Reply #31 on: July 14, 2013, 09:32:27 PM »

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No amount of how-to information is going to work if you have the wrong mindset, the wrong guiding philosophies. Avoid losers like the plague, and gather with and learn from winners only.
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« Reply #32 on: July 15, 2013, 02:03:16 AM »

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Like Artur Rubinstein at the age of 2 climbing up the piano bench and playing his elder sister's repertoire by ear? I see.
He did no such thing.  This is clearly a myth to perpetuate his "genius".

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I don't think math and piano playing can be compared because of the rather complicated physical/motor component involved in the playing of an instrument. Prodigies without the necessary "acquired pre-requisite skills" you talk about, though, break the rules and do what they do.
So one is a talent and the other is... what?  You don't have any evidence for what you say.

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Why do you need evidence for something that can be understood by logical thinking and life experience? Even people who learn to write with their hands develop at different rates and the end results will be quite different in quality, even if there is good guidance available.
Correlation-causation fallacy.  Even psychologists and other scientists regularly fall victim to it.  Now imagine how much more often it occurs among the lay persons.

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What you say essentially is: anyone who has no arms/hands can learn to write equally well with his/her feet? I don't believe that. It takes INCREDIBLE fine muscle control in an area of the body that is not designed for such a task. And even if that were theoretically possible, there is no denying that different people will go through that process at different rates.
Personal belief requires no evidence and you can believe whatever you want.  But in this instance, there is evidence to show that the mind and body is highly adaptable and capable of learning to do anything.

The talent myth has numerous books on it based on the scientific literature.  I've read the literature and some of the books and I've also read the criticisms.  The criticisms are always based on anecdotal evidence and upon further investigation, it appears to be just correlation-causation fallacies.  These criticisms have no merit.

According to a recently published article, 90% of people believe intelligence is innate.  That means that if it isn't easy, then you are dumb and shouldn't try since you'll fail anyway.  If you are smart, then it should be easy so you wouldn't need to try because you are smart.  (The demographic are Americans, btw.)

The remain 10% of people believe that what you attain is through effort.  Does effort alone determine success?  No.  There are numerous other factors that strongly influence it such as the environment and culture.
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outin
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« Reply #33 on: July 15, 2013, 05:01:04 AM »

Faulty is purposefully talking past us. That's common troll tactics (not saying his A troll though). He is throwing out seemingly scientific arguments to prove that talent does not exist without ever presenting any meaningful definition to what it actually is that does not exist. It's useless to try to present any counter arguments until he has given us a definition of his concept of talent. "Something not existing" or "a myth" is not a definition.

...there is evidence to show that the mind and body is highly adaptable and capable of learning to do anything.
Here is a good example on how people try to misuse scientific research. The first part of the sentence is backed up by a lot of research. The human system is highly adaptable.
But the rest ("capable of learning to do anything") is just something Faulty wants to believe, no matter how much it goes against our everyday experience or rational thinking. It is not something that any serious scientist would ever set out to prove because it is not even possible.
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This spring's plans: A couple of Scarlatti Sonatas, late Scriabin preludes and something by Shosty. Maybe a Chopin waltz and just started poking at the Berceuse.
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« Reply #34 on: July 15, 2013, 05:23:10 AM »

Didn't everyone just get one of these in the post like me?



 Undecided
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"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant
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« Reply #35 on: July 15, 2013, 05:32:23 AM »

Didn't everyone just get one of these in the post like me?



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I heard they cut costs by replacing real traveling brains with sponges for everybody, and feeding the same information to all on a need to know basis.
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« Reply #36 on: July 15, 2013, 06:41:52 AM »

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No amount of how-to information is going to work if you have the wrong mindset, the wrong guiding philosophies. Avoid losers like the plague, and gather with and learn from winners only.
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« Reply #37 on: July 16, 2013, 05:48:42 AM »

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No amount of how-to information is going to work if you have the wrong mindset, the wrong guiding philosophies. Avoid losers like the plague, and gather with and learn from winners only.
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« Reply #38 on: July 16, 2013, 06:02:09 AM »

Here is a good example on how people try to misuse scientific research. The first part of the sentence is backed up by a lot of research. The human system is highly adaptable.
But the rest ("capable of learning to do anything") is just something Faulty wants to believe, no matter how much it goes against our everyday experience or rational thinking. It is not something that any serious scientist would ever set out to prove because it is not even possible.

I'm fine accepting a person can learn to do anything even if it means saying it in absolute terms because most people (90%) think of talent as immutable when in reality, it is far more complicated.  And you're right, there is no research that indicates that a person is capable of doing anything because, simply, there is no research that has found out the answer.  However, many comments by researchers always ask this question: what is the limit of the human mind?  Because as far as the research indicates, there doesn't appear to be one.

However, as a teacher I've had many students who other teachers had given up on as not gifted or talented or won't amount to much.  But when I teach them, these students achieve just as well if not better than their peers.  How can this be when these other teachers thought they were hopeless?  This is why I say that a person's perceptions of something is strongly influenced by their biases and correlation-causation fallacies.

Does this go against my everyday experiences?  No, it's normal for me.  Does it go against others' experiences?  Hell yes, and I've intimidated a lot of people in the process.  Why?  Because I threw their world upside down by showing them that what they thought was impossible was quite possible.  No one likes to be wrong about something they believe in, just like being wrong about the concept of "talent".

If anyone reads any one of the books I mentioned prior (you only need to read one since all of them are based on the same research) you'll understand my point of view as well as my definition of "talent".
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« Reply #39 on: July 16, 2013, 06:12:50 AM »

The Genetic Basis of Talent

Please read this. There are enough links to scientific research to keep you busy for a while.

I'm aware of the cognitive neuroscience on intelligence and one thing is clear to me is that while it appears at first glance to say something profound about intelligence, it actually doesn't.  There is no intelligence gene, for example, as no one gene directly affects IQ test scores.  And there's the rub: in order to be objective about it, researchers tend to use IQ scores as a measure of validity.  While there are correlations, correlations are not necessarily causations.  There is an incredible amount of correlation-causation fallacies committed by researchers in this field.

I anticipate that very soon, researches will have to redefine "intelligence" because it appears that it isn't what we most commonly think it is.  The reason for this is that the research sometimes appears to contradict each other.  If one is right, then the other must be wrong.  But by rejecting one side, you end up rejecting a ton of literature in the process.  Can all of that research be wrong? (By wrong, I mean the interpretation of that research.)  Or is it the interpretation of the research, based on the concept of intelligence, wrong?  I suspect that it is the concept of intelligence is what is wrong.
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outin
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« Reply #40 on: July 16, 2013, 06:23:04 AM »

However, as a teacher I've had many students who other teachers had given up on as not gifted or talented or won't amount to much.  But when I teach them, these students achieve just as well if not better than their peers.  How can this be when these other teachers thought they were hopeless?  This is why I say that a person's perceptions of something is strongly influenced by their biases and correlation-causation fallacies.
While I cannot accept all the claims you make in your posts, I understand where you are coming from. "Lack of talent" can be used to cover many things, lack of competent tutoring, lazyness, social injustice... But what you are doing is overcompensating for that by denying the natural side completely. In the process you may help those who have been put down by the claim of not having talent. But at the same time you are not being fair to those who do lack some part/parts of the talent that makes learning both easy and pleasurable. Even with trying really hard, they can only achieve frustratingly slow or mediocre results. These people suffer just as much from not being understood.
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This spring's plans: A couple of Scarlatti Sonatas, late Scriabin preludes and something by Shosty. Maybe a Chopin waltz and just started poking at the Berceuse.
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« Reply #41 on: July 16, 2013, 06:24:51 AM »

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No amount of how-to information is going to work if you have the wrong mindset, the wrong guiding philosophies. Avoid losers like the plague, and gather with and learn from winners only.
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« Reply #42 on: July 16, 2013, 07:00:28 AM »

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No amount of how-to information is going to work if you have the wrong mindset, the wrong guiding philosophies. Avoid losers like the plague, and gather with and learn from winners only.
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« Reply #43 on: July 16, 2013, 07:01:19 AM »

While I cannot accept all the claims you make in your posts, I understand where you are coming from. "Lack of talent" can be used to cover many things, lack of competent tutoring, lazyness, social injustice... But what you are doing is overcompensating for that by denying the natural side completely. In the process you may help those who have been put down by the claim of not having talent. But at the same time you are not being fair to those who do lack some part/parts of the talent that makes learning both easy and pleasurable. Even with trying really hard, they can only achieve frustratingly slow or mediocre results. These people suffer just as much from not being understood.
I've mentioned in previous threads my piano background, how my first teacher kicked me out of her studio after about a year, the second did so in less than a semester, and the third was too kind to kick me out.  The first teacher had taught hundreds of students.  The second and third were also concert pianists.  Surely, these teachers knew a thing or two about "talent" and I certainly didn't have it.  Even though I tried really, really hard, it didn't matter since the results strongly indicated that I sucked.

But did I continue to suck?  No.  I ended up impressing the entire piano faculty and one of them became upset that he kicked me out of his studio.  In fact, I even started to intimidate him when I realized I made him nervous whenever I heard him play.  And after his recitals, he would always look over to me for my approval.

So what happened from sucking really bad to playing really well?  It was partly due to my instruction.  Over the course of a year without a teacher, I had to learn the mechanics of piano playing.  Why did M.-A. Hamelin make piano playing look so easy?  It was because it was easy.  And that became my goal which eventually led to this conclusion: Doing is easy. Learning how to do is hard.  The reason I can make difficult pieces look easy is because it is easy.  But learning how to make it easy was what took a lot of effort.

Most people who try to learn something don't have the right goals that allows them to achieve it.  They become frustrated and then quit.  If, oth, they had the right goals, then they would work on it so that they'd be successful.

Even is someone does achieve their goal, they won't progress beyond it because they've reached the "OK Plateau", the point at which they are satisfied with their abilities and either don't want to put in the effort to achieve even higher or don't know that they can achieve higher.  E.g. typing speed.  The average person types at around 28 wpms.  It's sufficient for their tasks but if you regularly post on PF or other forums, your average typing speed would be much faster simply because it's more time efficient.  Mine is over 60 wpm.  That's my OK Plateau since it's sufficient for nearly everything.
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« Reply #44 on: July 16, 2013, 07:22:18 AM »

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No amount of how-to information is going to work if you have the wrong mindset, the wrong guiding philosophies. Avoid losers like the plague, and gather with and learn from winners only.
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« Reply #45 on: July 16, 2013, 07:39:12 AM »

Do you even realize how painful it is to read such unfair generalizing statements for all those with very high "OK-plateaus" who practise themselves into tendonitis, back pains, suicide attempts etc.? If there is interest/passion, there IS talent, but if the right results fail to come, the person needs special help to unblock that talent.

It sounds to me like the person is holding a hammer and thinks everything needs pounding. Wink
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« Reply #46 on: July 16, 2013, 07:40:54 AM »

I've mentioned in previous threads my piano background, how my first teacher kicked me out of her studio after about a year, the second did so in less than a semester, and the third was too kind to kick me out.  The first teacher had taught hundreds of students.  The second and third were also concert pianists.  Surely, these teachers knew a thing or two about "talent" and I certainly didn't have it.  Even though I tried really, really hard, it didn't matter since the results strongly indicated that I sucked.


My own experience is quite the opposite. I have always been told (in many fields) that I have talent/intelligence/whatever to do anything, but that I am too lazy and that's why I don't learn as much/fast as I could. I even believed that myself and felt that it's ok to be lazy, since I mostly was above average anyway and my attempts to work harder just made me do worse. This made me give less effort and give up things. Only when I got old enough and studied human sciencies I started to understand that while I do indeed have a lot of talent, I also lack some that most people have, which make it so easy for them to learn simple things, while I seem to struggle endlessly. It seems pretty reasonable to assume that while part of my lack in motoric skills may be due to being effected by illness in childhood, part of it is probably genetic. It's easy to see in my family, some of my family members have similar issues, while others excel in sports and other physical tasks. Me and my siblings were all given the same opportunities. This applies to conginitive functions as well, my inability to stay focused in simple memory tasks, one of my brothers has exactly the same issue. I read somewhere that they have actually found at least one gene contributing to this. It's not as I haven't tried all kinds of mental exercises during my life, they just seldom work because I cannot execute them the way they are meant to be done. I can memorize, but with certain things it is a painfully slow process. It can take me over week to memorize a single short note sequence even if I work on it everyday. Yet I can sometimes memorize half a page of more complex stuff in a day. For me learning has always been about finding ways to compensate for the lack of one talent by another one that I do have.
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This spring's plans: A couple of Scarlatti Sonatas, late Scriabin preludes and something by Shosty. Maybe a Chopin waltz and just started poking at the Berceuse.
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« Reply #47 on: July 16, 2013, 08:03:23 AM »

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No amount of how-to information is going to work if you have the wrong mindset, the wrong guiding philosophies. Avoid losers like the plague, and gather with and learn from winners only.
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« Reply #48 on: July 16, 2013, 08:58:04 AM »

@ outin

This is for you: The Too Many Aptitudes Problem

In your case, you have to limit yourself. From what I have learned from you on this forum, it is clear that you would be well served by working on your finer motor skills in a way that is not directly related to music, and do that systematically for say 3 months without checking on the piano whether the exercises "work" or not. As an example: threading a needle with different fingers (+ thumb of course) is very good practice to develop the intrinsic muscles, the main factor for a good touch.
P.S.: There is also an interesting list down the page of apparently independent and unlearned aptitudes. In other words: things not all people can do equally well after the same amount and kind of training.

Thanks, I'll check out the link.
What you talk about is something I have found gradually out on my own. I've done exercises away from the piano for some time and at the same time stopped thinking about physical things so much while practicing. That has helped. This summer I suddenly realised that I very seldom feel like I have to force things, which used to be almost every day before. Of course part of it is probably reduced stress, I am in better physical shape overall at the moment.
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This spring's plans: A couple of Scarlatti Sonatas, late Scriabin preludes and something by Shosty. Maybe a Chopin waltz and just started poking at the Berceuse.
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« Reply #49 on: July 16, 2013, 09:14:37 AM »

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No amount of how-to information is going to work if you have the wrong mindset, the wrong guiding philosophies. Avoid losers like the plague, and gather with and learn from winners only.
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