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Talent? (Read 5481 times)

Offline tds

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Re: Talent?
«Reply #50 on: March 30, 2005, 07:54:13 PM »
i have begun to see that often times talent is more a way than mere ability.
dignity, love and joy.

Offline Skeptopotamus

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Re: Talent?
«Reply #51 on: March 30, 2005, 07:58:57 PM »
i have a stupid and overly simple answer, but i think talent means being able to play difficult pieces for your level, but not having much difficulty getting them good.

Offline Steve T

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Re: Talent?
«Reply #52 on: March 30, 2005, 10:20:48 PM »
If you find the source of that 'talent' stuff, please tell me where it is. Until then I guess it has to be the hard work route.
Seriously though, I believe that we all have aspects which mean we learn and adapt to some skills better than others. Much is probably nurture (having a pianist parent for example) IMO. Either way we all have to put the work in, talented or not. I just think that the super talented people get better results for any given work input.

Offline pianodannn

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Re: Talent?
«Reply #53 on: March 29, 2016, 02:30:40 PM »
 I found this interesting article on the net which basically does a god job of disproving the theory that practice is the most important aspect of getting good at something. The salient points were that a talented person can reach Olympic level with only 4 years of experience in a sport. By specifically singling out only talented individuals, trainers can achieve remarkably short "incubation" periods for producing excellent performers. If there were no such thing as talent, selecting specific individuals as students could not result in such a huge decrease in the time taken to train them. The worlds greatest ever Olympic swimmer was the 5th fastest person on earth after just 3 years of serious training at swimming, at the tender age of 15.Potential experts in any field can be easily spotted very early during their training career. If only long, arduous training regimes produced expertise, how come the experts to be can be singled out long before this arduous training has been undertaken? The correlation between training and development of expertise is very loose, leaving many of the factors responsible for achieving excellence unexplained, with genetics almost certainly a significant factor.
   Ill post the link tomorrow. Im too tired now. But I can tell you now, hard work on its own cannot make anybody a great pianist. I am so convinced of this I will call this statement a unquestionable fact. There is no evidence that infinite amounts of training of any particular type, structure or grade will make everybody become good. Conversely, there is ample evidence that excellence not infrequently is achieved with only modest input of time and effort. For example one person achieved level of Chess Grand master after only 3 or 4 years of experience. Some who trained religiously for over 20 years failed to achieve this level. The idea of work and dedication being the cornerstone of greatness is facing extinction, im afraid.

Offline adodd81802

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Re: Talent?
«Reply #54 on: March 29, 2016, 03:18:29 PM »
I found this interesting article on the net which basically does a god job of disproving the theory that practice is the most important aspect of getting good at something. The salient points were that a talented person can reach Olympic level with only 4 years of experience in a sport. By specifically singling out only talented individuals, trainers can achieve remarkably short "incubation" periods for producing excellent performers. If there were no such thing as talent, selecting specific individuals as students could not result in such a huge decrease in the time taken to train them. The worlds greatest ever Olympic swimmer was the 5th fastest person on earth after just 3 years of serious training at swimming, at the tender age of 15.Potential experts in any field can be easily spotted very early during their training career. If only long, arduous training regimes produced expertise, how come the experts to be can be singled out long before this arduous training has been undertaken? The correlation between training and development of expertise is very loose, leaving many of the factors responsible for achieving excellence unexplained, with genetics almost certainly a significant factor.
   Ill post the link tomorrow. Im too tired now. But I can tell you now, hard work on its own cannot make anybody a great pianist. I am so convinced of this I will call this statement a unquestionable fact. There is no evidence that infinite amounts of training of any particular type, structure or grade will make everybody become good. Conversely, there is ample evidence that excellence not infrequently is achieved with only modest input of time and effort. For example one person achieved level of Chess Grand master after only 3 or 4 years of experience. Some who trained religiously for over 20 years failed to achieve this level. The idea of work and dedication being the cornerstone of greatness is facing extinction, im afraid.

Hello, i'd like to address your comment, I am not a professional and cannot immediately credit any of my points with immediate evidence, but I hope you would consider my thoughts.

I have a couple points.

The first one, swimming is nothing like playing the piano. I have made this argument with somebody else, and with purely physical activities, sure genetics is a major factor, you'd never see a midget in professional basketball (no offence to midgets). Now  I understand that playing the piano itself is physical, but I do not believe it requires genetic perfections that cannot be achieved through study and hard work, and you move onto your example of chess, which, is on the other side of the spectrum to your swimming example in that it is mostly mental rather than physical at all (do people get chess-sweats? who knows!) and you state that in 3/4 years somebody achieved more than one somebody did in 20 years of "practice / hard work"... Here's the major point that I disagree with in your statement, is nobody seems to define what "practice" is, or what "hard work" is.

Take this basic example, which I applied in practice to myself - nothing to do with piano.

About 15 years ago when I was at school, computers were starting to become more and more introduced into our curriculum, by the time I had reached 12/13 you were no longer writing essays, but you started typing essays (assuming an English Qwerty Keyboard here similar to US), it was taken for granted that if you didn't have a computer at home, you'd use the facilities at school to type up an essay. It took HOURS. 500 words this, 3000 words that, laboriously typing away working as hard as you can to improve your typing speed and minimize errors, typing as quick as possible.. Most self taught 'typers' including myself, using the well known "hunt and peck" method, which usually involved looking down at the keyboard, using your stronger fingers usually the first 3 on each, and predominantly using your right hand (if you were right handed) to look for the keys, type out a few words, then look up the screen to see if you had gotten them right, and most likely going back for errors. Now some people got pretty good pretty quick, had good fingers and could type 30-40 words a minute, WOW! Moving forward 15 years, I have imagine some of these people got office jobs, admin jobs and type every single day still going as quick as they can do get the job done, and still 15 years later and I have no doubt, at most they could have improved to say what 50 words per minute, being their absolute maximum.

Now back to 15 years ago, I did some research online (dial up internet was as slow as my typing!), and found out about "touch-typing". This mysterious method of typing at the keyboard, not only employed all fingers in a logical manner, it even enabled you to type without looking! OMG revolution.

Within 6 months I was typing 120 words per minute, and now could type for hours effortlessly and produce and output 3/4 times as much as my peers, if not more.

The definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Now I hope this sheds some understanding on my issue with what everybody defines as "practice" It is not the same thing, people may THINK they're working equally hard, and are baffled at other people getting better results, and those results can be so drastic it doesn't even seem natural, that there MUST be something more that's getting the results.

Now as you've said yourself, there is lacking evidence to without a doubt prove that particular methods do achieve the same consistent results, EG, if one professional came from some Russian school, than why doesn't EVERYBODY from the Russian school become professional and famous and blasted around Youtube.

There's 2 points here that I think should be considered. The first one is that with even the right practice must come the desire to want to improve and to want to practice. We cannot assume everybody that follows the same practice method is interested, or has the same goals, how many of us remember back at school doing IT, doing PE, doing History e.t.c, we may have enjoyed some subjects, we may have detested others, we had no choice, we may have even been good at subjects we weren't particularly interested in. I got an A in English Literature, I never read a book after leaving school and had no interest whatsoever in Literature after my education finished.

The second point here is you cannot apply a one "method" for all because and where the physical aspect comes into it here, is not everybody is physically the same. Let me clarify before elaborating that the physical minimum requirements for a professional pianist are far less than that of a swimmer, a basketball player or high jumper for example, however the minimum expected, would be 10 fingers and reaching an octave in my opinion. So to elaborate, regarding physical differences, even my own 2 hands to not work the same, we may, for example, be able to both reach a 9th on the piano, but yours could be done with long fingers and mine is achieved through big palms. We are unlikely to play the piano exactly the same and therefore may not need the same practice and teaching, because we are not physically the same. A female may need to develop more forearm support for strength, where as a male may need to develop a more delicate touch. Identifying these points and working on them is where actual practice comes into it. Smart practice, where the work may be hard, but with it comes actual efficient improvement.

The highest achievable results come from a combination of great teaching from great teachers and the active learning of the student, to be a great student. Not everybody are great teachers and so they do not make great students, equally not all students are great, and actively learn and participate and so with the best teaching in the world, the disinterest will overshadow any improvement.

I would conclude by saying I do believe that during childhood, the development of the brain may have an impact on that "head-start" some people seem to have, you do tend to find that children are a product of their environment, only this morning I heard on the news about Chris Eubank, a famous professional boxer, is currently coaching his son in a big fight and over the weekend, he obliterated his opponent, who is now in an induced coma.

Is this not a perfect combination of a great teacher and willing student rather than some magic gfit he has? I have no doubt he was surrounded by Eubank's fame as a child and grew up with the desire to be as great as his dad?
"England is a country of pianos, they are everywhere."

Offline pianodannn

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Re: Talent?
«Reply #55 on: March 30, 2016, 01:54:21 AM »
   As for the touch typing example, we might ask how another individual could type at 240 words per minute, usung the same touch typing strategy? The strategies employed in reading music and converting it into key strokes is no less universal than is the touch typing method.But we still see enormous variations in the competency achieved.Also it is worth noting that very good self taught pianists are not hard to find, which means any particular instruction method is not mandatory to become very good.As for the degree of desire, passion etc. it is very difficult to measure or quantify this. However there are certainly individuals who display rediculous,obsessive, perhaps insane levels of commitment to practice, yet end up very poor at what they do.As for the kids who grow up around parents who are good at this that or the other and are exposed to these things during childhood, well we really dont know if it is the exposure the parents gave them, or the genetics the parents posses and passed on.I read one study which indicated that the ability to accurately time intervals between notes is almost entirely genetic, with identical twins with 20,000 hour differences in training time showing identical performance on this measure.
   Food for thought.....

Offline pianodannn

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Re: Talent?
«Reply #56 on: March 30, 2016, 03:08:39 AM »
  I wander how a complex activity, involving dozens of muscles, each having to produce a precise amount of force relative to each other, to give bodily movement of precise speed and direction, can be reproduced repeatedly again and again, with each repetition being nearly identical.This is what is required to reliably play good music.Hitting to sharply, you fail.Hitting a millisecond too soon, you fail.A millisecond too late, you fail.Given that muscles can not be controlled with precise instructions in the way a metal lathe can be instructed by a computer to turn a piece of metal into a precisely defined shape, how can a student be taught to replicate this motion so precisely? There is no possible way such a complex action can be converted into words, or described by one individual to another, in the way that numbers can convey precise instructions to a machine.Since complex actions such playing piano can only really boil down to a "feel" one has for controlling his/her own body, we cannot discern how one individual can be precise and accurate, whilst another has unacceptable levels of inconsistency.There is no description one can give of how they produce such accuracy, and as such this must remain an eternal mystery.

Offline pianodannn

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Re: Talent?
«Reply #57 on: March 30, 2016, 07:45:26 AM »
  Here is the link where Malcolm Gladwell is shown to have presented a very false picture about the role of deliberate practice, by omitting most of the  relevant points from his data.

 http://sportsscientists.com/2011/08/talent-training-and-performance-the-secrets-of-success/