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New Bach Recordings – Two Preludes and Fugues

A new instalment of two Preludes and Fugues from Bach’s WTC I, performed by Martin Sturfält, has been published; the joyous and energetic C-sharp major set (which must surely be one of the most difficult to read on account of the extreme choice of key – seven sharps – taking you through keys such as B-sharp and E-sharp major!) and the simply remarkable work in B minor. Read more >>

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Author Topic: The Talent Myth  (Read 835 times)
d_b_christopher
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« on: October 09, 2017, 03:59:03 AM »

The Talent Myth

Talent is lazy, in so much as it is lazy language.

It does not take into account all the hours spent, of which, what we see is the final product.

The saying, tip of the iceberg springs to mind.

https://dacapoacademy.co.uk/articles/the_talent_myth/

I would be interested in your thoughts on this topic.
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outin
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« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2017, 04:24:42 AM »

No thank you. It has been discussed to death. It's impossible to have a meaningful discussion on a concept that people refuse to define consistently first. Mostly people are not talking about the same thing so keep on talking past each other.

But you are right, there's a connection with talent and lazyness. Someone with lots of natural talent is allowed to be more lazy (especially in the beginning) and still succeed to some degree Wink
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d_b_christopher
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« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2017, 04:29:31 AM »

No thank you. It has been discussed to death. It's impossible to have a meaningful discussion on a concept that people refuse to define consistently first. Mostly people are not talking about the same thing so keep on talking past each other.

But you are right, there's a connection with talent and lazyness. Someone with lots of natural talent is allowed to be more lazy (especially in the beginning) and still succeed to some degree Wink

I appreciate your honesty.

Many people talk past each other simply because they don't feel a point they made was acknowledged.

I would be interested in understanding what your take on talent and laziness is.
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mjames
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« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2017, 05:02:58 AM »

Talent, IQ, and just in general inherent physical ability really does matter. Say no and you're pretty much saying a 160IQ Einstein like child has just as much difficulty learning mathematics as an 60IQ child does.


Ridiculous.
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d_b_christopher
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« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2017, 05:50:12 AM »

Talent, IQ, and just in general inherent physical ability really does matter. Say no and you're pretty much saying a 160IQ Einstein like child has just as much difficulty learning mathematics as an 60IQ child does.


Ridiculous.

Talent and IQ are different things.

Talent is: "Natural Aptitude"
IQ is: "Intelligence quotient"

They are two very different things.  What you are saying is ridiculous; not your argument, but the very notion and premise, but does not disprove the truth.

Edit for clarity: the idea that a smart person experiences the same difficulty as a less-smart person sounds ridiculous.


A child with 160 point IQ will have the same difficulty as a child with 60 point IQ, but they will experience it in different ways.

'Difficulty' is a subjective quality, meaning they will have the same difficulty, but experience it from different perspectives.  to the child with 160 point IQ, they will process the information quicker, and perhaps output answers quicker.  The child with 60 point IQ will process slower but still output an answer eventually.  The difficulty of the question is relative to the person experiencing it.

In musical terms, a seasoned performer will pick up a piece of music and play it.  A beginner will pick up the same piece of music, and spend years decoding it.  The difficulty of the piece remains the same, but the person experiences it in vastly different ways.  To the beginner, the seasoned musician would seem, talented.
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mjames
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« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2017, 10:39:56 AM »

It's an example of an inherent ability, which you seem to think doesn't matter at all.

Quote
A child with 160 point IQ will have the same difficulty as a child with 60 point IQ, but they will experience it in different ways.

'Difficulty' is a subjective quality, meaning they will have the same difficulty, but experience it from different perspectives.  to the child with 160 point IQ, they will process the information quicker, and perhaps output answers quicker.  The child with 60 point IQ will process slower but still output an answer eventually.  The difficulty of the question is relative to the person experiencing it.

In musical terms, a seasoned performer will pick up a piece of music and play it.  A beginner will pick up the same piece of music, and spend years decoding it.  The difficulty of the piece remains the same, but the person experiences it in vastly different ways.  To the beginner, the seasoned musician would seem, talented.

Are you a politician?
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indianajo
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« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2017, 11:27:44 AM »

I can't say it talent is a myth.
I was taken to art lessons at the museum downtown age seven. I had the soul of a mechanical draftsman and produced drivel.
I was taken to swim lessons for three summers. I couldn't develop the strength to swim across the pool in less than twice the time it took everybody else.  I floated only with my chest above the water, not my nose.  I didn't have enough fat or muscle in my body to swim normally. (these came in my twenties, a different development pattern).  
I had a deformed finger due to an accident age three and wasn't using my right hand.  I was assigned piano lessons age eight as a form of cheap physical therapy when such things weren't seen as a medical problem. I was pretty good at piano.  I kept practicing and studying for eight years and made good progress, though nothing world class. I was taken to local guild competitions and received some gold flash trinkets,  but my injury prevented any sense at competing beyond those. The nail of the injured finger clicked on the key.    I had great fine motor skills, good rhythm, a sense of pitch, good memory; diligence to practice regularly.   I developed some emotional connection to "romantic" music in my thirties.  
So inately people have different talents IMHO. IQ is only one measure of intelligence in one dimension.  Look for articles on the eight or ten dimensions of "intelligence", on beyond IQ.  I only have three of them.
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« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2017, 12:20:34 PM »

Talent -> genetic predisposition -> Nature loads the gun.
People then choose or don't chose to pull the trigger. If you choose not to fire, ok you  are lazy, or you just have better things to do or would rather do.

If nature gives you a better more accurate gun, and you ha ve to fire it less to hit your target than someone with a crummy gun who has to fire it a bunch to hit the same target, the one that wasted less ammo is not lazy, they are efficient.
The one with the better gun can also hit targets the one with the crummy gun will never ever hit. If the one with the crummy gun sees this and never bothers trying ie waste ammo, he is not lazy, he is realistic and efficient. That effort and ammo can be used on targets within reach.
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d_b_christopher
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« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2017, 12:24:45 PM »

It's an example of an inherent ability, which you seem to think doesn't matter at all.

Are you a politician?

I will indulge your ‘strawman’ and ‘ad hominin’ for a moment.

I have not said it does not matter, but I have said they are different things.

I am not a politician.

I believe that we are talking past each other like ‘outin’ predicted.

---

What you have stated in both your posts is that Talent, IQ and Ability are all the same thing, which they are most certainly not.

Talent is a result of work and effort over time. (perception)

IQ is a measure of a person’s intelligence at a specific point in time, based on a collection of skills and currently known information. (measurment)

Ability is a person’s potential before a task is carried out. (perception)

From where you base your argument, you are suggesting that all of these things are static, which cannot be the case, simply because a person’s IQ is an averaged measurement, and talent and ability are subjective descriptors that change meaning depending on circumstance and perception.

My argument is that talent is a subjective descriptor, and lazy language.

As a musician, referring to anyone as talented puts us in a position of superior/inferior, based on a fixed designation, more than likely given, or perceived to be given, at birth.  In this paradigm, this means people fundamentally cannot be better or worst then they are now, and remain this way forever.

I whole heartedly disagree with this notion; everybody can, but not everybody will.

There is always a reason as to why a person has more or less, ability or talent.  Intelligence has no bearing on this, simply because it changes with age, location and circumstance.

IQ testing is biased simply because it requires you to know information that based on circumstance might not be known due to geographical location social status.  As with any test, the validity and efficacy of the test comes into question when biases are raised.  It is a reason why IQ testing is not a worldwide standard, and only really given any notice in the west.

In musical terms:

A person who has ‘natural’ dexterity more than likely was exposed to activities that required hand-eye co-ordination and fine motor skills before they formally started lessons.

A person who has a ‘natural’ ear for music, most likely listen to music critically, perhaps singing along before formal lessons.

A person who picks up instruments and ‘naturally’ plays them, more than likely understands the fundamental concept of music making, which is, “do this action, get this sound”.  They will not be thinking about grandeur or public perception, but instead focusing on what THEY are doing.

I understand that these examples might seem far-fetched, but from my experiences as a teacher, there is always a reason as to why a student sitting in front of me has ‘natural’ talent.
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« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2017, 12:27:20 PM »

I will indulge your ‘strawman’ and ‘ad hominin’ for a moment.

I have not said it does not matter, but I have said they are different things.

I am not a politician.

I believe that we are talking past each other like ‘outin’ predicted.

---

What you have stated in both your posts is that Talent, IQ and Ability are all the same thing, which they are most certainly not.

Talent is a result of work and effort over time. (perception)

IQ is a measure of a person’s intelligence at a specific point in time, based on a collection of skills and currently known information. (measurment)

Ability is a person’s potential before a task is carried out. (perception)

From where you base your argument, you are suggesting that all of these things are static, which cannot be the case, simply because a person’s IQ is an averaged measurement, and talent and ability are subjective descriptors that change meaning depending on circumstance and perception.

My argument is that talent is a subjective descriptor, and lazy language.

As a musician, referring to anyone as talented puts us in a position of superior/inferior, based on a fixed designation, more than likely given, or perceived to be given, at birth.  In this paradigm, this means people fundamentally cannot be better or worst then they are now, and remain this way forever.

I whole heartedly disagree with this notion; everybody can, but not everybody will.

There is always a reason as to why a person has more or less, ability or talent.  Intelligence has no bearing on this, simply because it changes with age, location and circumstance.

IQ testing is biased simply because it requires you to know information that based on circumstance might not be known due to geographical location social status.  As with any test, the validity and efficacy of the test comes into question when biases are raised.  It is a reason why IQ testing is not a worldwide standard, and only really given any notice in the west.

In musical terms:

A person who has ‘natural’ dexterity more than likely was exposed to activities that required hand-eye co-ordination and fine motor skills before they formally started lessons.

A person who has a ‘natural’ ear for music, most likely listen to music critically, perhaps singing along before formal lessons.

A person who picks up instruments and ‘naturally’ plays them, more than likely understands the fundamental concept of music making, which is, “do this action, get this sound”.  They will not be thinking about grandeur or public perception, but instead focusing on what THEY are doing.

I understand that these examples might seem far-fetched, but from my experiences as a teacher, there is always a reason as to why a student sitting in front of me has ‘natural’ talent.
E
Work and effort over time does not equate to.talent. It equates to development of talent, ie progression.
If your abilities are a turd and you spend time polishing and work real hard to shine it, you still have a turd when you are done.
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mjames
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« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2017, 12:31:14 PM »

You've already admitted to differences in natural aptitude (IQ is a form of talent) yielding different results for those with the exact same experience and training. The problem is that you managed rationalize with some weird mental gymnastics that it doesn't debunk your premise at all. I mean, there's seriously no reason to take you seriously lol. That's why I'm calling you a politician.

"Just because the globe has been warming up for 80 years doesn't actually mean global warming's real!"

"Just because people with talent learn things quicker and faster than those without talent doesn't mean talent matters!"

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« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2017, 12:40:11 PM »

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brogers70
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« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2017, 01:23:33 PM »

I don't think there is any doubt that there are differences in individuals inherent aptitude for different tasks. I don't think there is any doubt that for a given inherent aptitude, more hard work (properly applied) will produce better results than less hard work. The question that is harder to decide is to what extent the differences in success between individuals result from the different inherent aptitudes they started with or the different amount of effort they invested. In most areas of endeavor, except at the very highest levels, my guess is that diligent mediocrity will beat lazy talent 9 times out of 10, but that's just my guess.
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d_b_christopher
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« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2017, 01:57:54 PM »

... I mean, there's seriously no reason to take you seriously lol. That's why I'm calling you a politician.

"Just because the globe has been warming up for 80 years doesn't actually mean global warming's real!"

"Just because people with talent learn things quicker and faster than those without talent doesn't mean talent matters!"

You are welcome to disagree; I encourage it. At least we have a discussion, but please stop insulting my character, it sullies our discourse.

I am not a politician; furthermore, you have taken my argument and change what I have said, again.

I stated my argument in my opening statement. Which was:

The Talent Myth
Talent is lazy, in so much as it is lazy language.

---

In most areas of endeavor, except at the very highest levels, my guess is that diligent mediocrity will beat lazy talent 9 times out of 10, but that's just my guess.

I agree with this.

But 'lazy talent' needs definition especially if we are using it as a noun.

---

https://www.ted.com/talks/derek_paravicini_and_adam_ockelford_in_the_key_of_genius

What about this person, is he talented?

With severe autism, it is likely he would score quite low on an IQ test, yet he can play the piano to a highly proficient standard.  He would be considered a low-ability learner in the education system, yet, he is perceived as talented? An oxymoron, meaning talent and ability are separate descriptors, with no bearing on his IQ.

Under different conditions, he might not have been given the opportunity to learn music, and would unfortunately not been able to find a calling like he has.  He was not playing piano in utero, so his 'talent' was something learned and crafted and not genetic.

His blindness was not something inherited, so his resulting ability regarding perfect pitch is not hireditary, and so further more not genetic.

---

On a side note, this discussion is stimulating.
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« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2017, 12:04:54 PM »

I feel like 'talent' and even to an extent 'IQ' is really just measured by the initial bar you set when trying acquire a new skill. This can be Practical, Mental, or even what we refer to as an 'Academic' skill.

And I don't simply mean the bigger picture here, you know the "Oh I dream of being a concert pianist" (sure you do)

I mean the scrutinizing detail and effort you initially invest into a new skill to ensure you can mimic a level of perfection you are trying to achieve. This investment sets the foundations for continual development, and while it may then seem that somebody is more 'talented' it's simply, at the start, they worked harder than you - sorry!

As a beginner for example-

In 10 seconds I can draw a stick figure
In 10 minutes I can draw the outlines of a person
In 10 hours I can sketch out a detailed portrait with likeness to the person

You hit your goal, and you understand what's required to achieve it, then your efficiency improves and suddenly I'll sketch you out a pretty good drawing in 30 minutes because for hours and hours I  worked and worked at getting better to achieve the 10 hour result rather than the 10 minute one.

Now time and time again we have that age old question "can an adult beginner become a professional' and we always put it down to child development, 'talent' e.t.c. but the fact is, there simply isn't enough time to invest for an adult to achieve the same level with the time they could have had learning as a youngster. I could only wish today that I still had 5-6 hours a day to do nothing but work on the same sections over and over like I did after school.

I think as well when we talk about IQ, we're actually measuring somebody's ability to understand something better than somebody else...I think there is also a relation to the initial skill that can then bleed into what seemingly is completely different subjects, for example, we see so many people that can play an instrument really well can also draw really well, or are good at maths. I think we perceive this as an over all smart person or someone that's just got a high 'IQ', because they seem proficient in a number of subjects that we may be interested in... but say.. put them on a football field, or stick them on a horse, skills where what we have learnt is completely nontransferable, and you may find it an impossibility to achieve the same level you set with your more comfortable subjects without restarting that initial investment all over again.

There is lastly, this 'grey' area where we go.. OK, these 2 children both practiced the same amount, had the same teacher, but there are different results why?

When children are involved, I think it's down to chance, at this age children lack the mental awareness to understand if something they are doing is achieving what they want, because most of the time they are simply acting on an adult's behalf, their drive is emotional for appreciation and praise to achieve something, but they don't necessarily know the steps involved to do so.

When adults are involved, I think it's lack of attention to detail, it's the 'no matter how many times i do this, It doesn't work' statement without taking real steps to fix that. I refer back to the initial investment required to iron out these problems as early as possible.

We all (generically speaking) when it comes to the piano, have the same 5 fingers, 2 hands, 2 eyes and the ability to achieve the same results. Piano is mental only in as far as to decide how much you want to get better in your initial investment.


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« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2017, 12:25:31 PM »



I would be interested in understanding what your take on talent and laziness is.

You asked for discussion but your subsequent posts indicate you'd made your mind up long ago.

We all vary in height, weight, skin color, placement of our liver, density of our bones, regardless of how identical our environment seems to be.

Why would we not vary in talent? 

Have you never trained a dog?  They learn at different rates, and with different intrinsic reward systems; no two are alike. 
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d_b_christopher
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« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2017, 01:51:31 PM »

I feel like 'talent' and even to an extent 'IQ' is really just measured by the initial bar you set when trying acquire a new skill. This can be Practical, Mental, or even what we refer to as an 'Academic' skill.

And I don't simply mean the bigger picture here, you know the "Oh I dream of being a concert pianist" (sure you do)

I mean the scrutinizing detail and effort you initially invest into a new skill to ensure you can mimic a level of perfection you are trying to achieve. This investment sets the foundations for continual development, and while it may then seem that somebody is more 'talented' it's simply, at the start, they worked harder than you - sorry!

As a beginner for example-

In 10 seconds I can draw a stick figure
In 10 minutes I can draw the outlines of a person
In 10 hours I can sketch out a detailed portrait with likeness to the person

You hit your goal, and you understand what's required to achieve it, then your efficiency improves and suddenly I'll sketch you out a pretty good drawing in 30 minutes because for hours and hours I  worked and worked at getting better to achieve the 10 hour result rather than the 10 minute one.

Now time and time again we have that age old question "can an adult beginner become a professional' and we always put it down to child development, 'talent' e.t.c. but the fact is, there simply isn't enough time to invest for an adult to achieve the same level with the time they could have had learning as a youngster. I could only wish today that I still had 5-6 hours a day to do nothing but work on the same sections over and over like I did after school.

I think as well when we talk about IQ, we're actually measuring somebody's ability to understand something better than somebody else...I think there is also a relation to the initial skill that can then bleed into what seemingly is completely different subjects, for example, we see so many people that can play an instrument really well can also draw really well, or are good at maths. I think we perceive this as an over all smart person or someone that's just got a high 'IQ', because they seem proficient in a number of subjects that we may be interested in... but say.. put them on a football field, or stick them on a horse, skills where what we have learnt is completely nontransferable, and you may find it an impossibility to achieve the same level you set with your more comfortable subjects without restarting that initial investment all over again.

There is lastly, this 'grey' area where we go.. OK, these 2 children both practiced the same amount, had the same teacher, but there are different results why?

When children are involved, I think it's down to chance, at this age children lack the mental awareness to understand if something they are doing is achieving what they want, because most of the time they are simply acting on an adult's behalf, their drive is emotional for appreciation and praise to achieve something, but they don't necessarily know the steps involved to do so.

When adults are involved, I think it's lack of attention to detail, it's the 'no matter how many times i do this, It doesn't work' statement without taking real steps to fix that. I refer back to the initial investment required to iron out these problems as early as possible.

We all (generically speaking) when it comes to the piano, have the same 5 fingers, 2 hands, 2 eyes and the ability to achieve the same results. Piano is mental only in as far as to decide how much you want to get better in your initial investment.

I agree with your post almost entirely.  Initial investment, referring to when? some people invest in general skills early in life without realising it.

This investment gives them an advantage when they do start formal music lessons.  Take for example a student who has reached high-proficiency on another instrument, their ‘initial investment’ would consist of general music knowledge with only instrument specific knowledge to learn.  Another student who has no musical knowledge would have comparatively less initial investment in this context.

What you refer to is the person, as a student, as their whole self; whole self-including what they have invested initially and what they will invest.  I propose that ‘whole-self’ includes any learning before starting lessons formally. 

Continuing with the investment theme, pre-investment, initial investment, and possible investment.

For example, a child who learned to read at home (pre-investmen) will have significantly higher skill than the rest of the class, who would consider them talented in comparison to their own, limited skill level.

You asked for discussion but your subsequent posts indicate you'd made your mind up long ago.

We all vary in height, weight, skin colour, placement of our liver, density of our bones, regardless of how identical our environment seems to be.

Why would we not vary in talent? 

Have you never trained a dog?  They learn at different rates, and with different intrinsic reward systems; no two are alike. 

If there was no discussion, this topic would have no responses; the mere fact that people are posting, illustrates discussion.

My posts have not suggested anything regarding a closed-mind; you are mistaking this, with restating my initial argument to people who have been actively misquoting me.

Yes we all vary in height, weight, skin colour, and placement of bodily organs. Furthermore, yes, these are contributing factors, before we even consider environment, however, again, you have miss read my argument.

Define talent, we are talking passed each other.

What your stated meaning of talent implies is something static, bestowed upon birth as a tangible object that exists and can be objectively defined.

Talent is not a tangible object that can be held, so we cannot refer to it as an object.  Talent is an adjective, so it is only perceived by the person using the adjective.  It exists in abstract, waiting to be experienced; all abstraction is subjective, simply because it requires a perspective.

A dog was talented.

Okay, what makes you say that?  You would then proceed to list off other attributes that further define the original adjective.

This is no different to any other adjective.

The dog was fast.
The dog was quick.
The dog was smart.
The dog was well-behaved.

The dog was talented.

Talent is always used as an adjective, never a noun, simply because it is not a thing that exists, in and of itself.  Furthermore, this means it cannot manifest, as a thing in and of itself and can only exist in the mind of the perceiver.

Re my original statement:

The Talent Myth

Talent is lazy, in so much as it is lazy language.

I state my argument for the third time.
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« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2017, 02:55:56 PM »

What is often perceived as "talent" may not be true natural talent, it may be the accretion of good training, exposure to the right factors, etc. In that sense I agree with what you seem to be saying, however, that does not mean talent doesn't exist per se. Of course it does. You can have children growing up in the same family, and one be musically gifted, and the others not, despite them having basically the same genetic makeup and exposure to the same external stimuli. Some people simply have greater natural aptitudes for music, maths, language, whatever than others, and there's nothing wrong with this, or even with saying it. Humanity is not a homogeneous mass.


Talent is not a tangible object that can be held, so we cannot refer to it as an object. [...]
Talent is always used as an adjective, never a noun, simply because it is not a thing that exists, in and of itself.  Furthermore, this means it cannot manifest, as a thing in and of itself and can only exist in the mind of the perceiver.


False. It means it is an abstraction, not that it does not exist. Does gravity exist?


As a musician, referring to anyone as talented puts us in a position of superior/inferior, based on a fixed designation, more than likely given, or perceived to be given, at birth.  In this paradigm, this means people fundamentally cannot be better or worst then they are now, and remain this way forever.



This is a fallacious argument. Talented people fall by the wayside, all the time. Some are lazy, some get bored, some move on, some find their talent doesn't pay for their existence, etc. Sometimes, often even, those conventionally considered less talented are the ones who are the real successes, again for various reasons, like they actually have to put in work to get somewhere, they are more disciplined, etc. Thus talent is not a guarantee of success, it merely enables someone to start from a more favourable position.


There is always a reason as to why a person has more or less, ability or talent.  Intelligence has no bearing on this, simply because it changes with age, location and circumstance.

IQ testing is biased simply because it requires you to know information that based on circumstance might not be known due to geographical location social status.  As with any test, the validity and efficacy of the test comes into question when biases are raised.  It is a reason why IQ testing is not a worldwide standard, and only really given any notice in the west.

In musical terms:

A person who has ‘natural’ dexterity more than likely was exposed to activities that required hand-eye co-ordination and fine motor skills before they formally started lessons.

A person who has a ‘natural’ ear for music, most likely listen to music critically, perhaps singing along before formal lessons.

A person who picks up instruments and ‘naturally’ plays them, more than likely understands the fundamental concept of music making, which is, “do this action, get this sound”.  They will not be thinking about grandeur or public perception, but instead focusing on what THEY are doing.

I understand that these examples might seem far-fetched, but from my experiences as a teacher, there is always a reason as to why a student sitting in front of me has ‘natural’ talent.


IQ score is almost completely irrelevant; to give an unrelated but pointed example, Einstein's IQ test results were atrocious iirc.

Ironically, your third example is a bona fide example of musical talent. There are people for whom, for whatever reason, intuitively know how to do certain things (young children being able to sing back melodies by ear for no apparent explanation being a case in point).

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« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2017, 03:12:47 PM »

It is easy to confuse ability to do something at a high level and talent. With a lot of hard work one can be very proficient at a certain activity but how much time did they invest to get to that level to me highlights their talent. Thus the rate of learning is talent. As a teacher I am very interested in working on peoples rate of learning but there certainly are limitations in this and when it comes to piano playing physical coordination and an ear for the musical language also pops into the mix.

From over 2 decades of teaching I've noticed students fall into 4 different categories with shades in between, ordered from worst to best and most common to least common:

1) Work erratically with poor discipline and progress inefficiently. (lazy untalented)
2) Work very hard with discipline but progress inefficiently  (hard working untalented)
3) Work erratically with poor discipline and progress efficiently (lazy talent)
4) Work very hard with discipline and progress efficiently (hard working talent)

People may also shift between these categories as they improve when they plateau in their improvement. I don't meet many people who cannot progress through beginner stages of piano development effectively but as the work becomes more involved you see people shifting down the categories.

Talent is certainly NOT a myth but it should be observed in proportion to the individual.
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« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2017, 03:25:51 PM »

.

From over 2 decades of teaching I've noticed students fall into 4 different categories with shades in between, ordered from worst to best and most common to least common:

1) Work erratically with poor discipline and progress inefficiently. (lazy untalented)
2) Work very hard with discipline but progress inefficiently  (hard working untalented)
3) Work erratically with poor discipline and progress efficiently (lazy talent)
4) Work very hard with discipline and progress efficiently (hard working talent)


This is very similar to a common expression used in the workplace years back, when something called "situational leadership" was being taught.  The idea was that you adapt your management style to the combination of an employee's ability and motivation, either one of which could be high or low regardless of the other.

At any rate, expressed simplistically, workers could fall into

1.  Smart and lazy
2.  Smart and hard working
3.  Notsmart and lazy
4.  Notsmart and hard working.

You take the smart and lazy and make them managers.  They figure out the most efficient and easy way to run the operation.

You take the smart and hard working people and make them staffers.  They do the bulk of your work.

You take the nonsmart and lazy and tolerate them, getting whatever work you can.  With care and constant attention they can perform.

You take the notsmart and hardworking people, and fire them as fast as you can.  These are the ones who are truly dangerous. 

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« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2017, 03:27:03 PM »

Well no IQ tests aren't irrelevant. They're quite good at predicting a various amount of outcomes, including creativity. Though there isn't an established method to assess creativity (yet) through the intelligent quotient, it has already shown to be strongly linked to IQ. It's not a coincidence that highly musical people with Chopin-like and Mozart-like talent tend to have exceptionally high IQs. Einstein was never tested btw. I only brought up IQ because it's an example of something that you can't have influence over (education and nutrition causes small variability) for your entire life. It's also a little bit less vague than "talent", making the conversation easier.
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« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2017, 03:27:33 PM »

It is easy to confuse ability to do something at a high level and talent. With a lot of hard work one can be very proficient at a certain activity but how much time did they invest to get to that level to me highlights their talent. Thus the rate of learning is talent. As a teacher I am very interested in working on peoples rate of learning but there certainly are limitations in this and when it comes to piano playing physical coordination and an ear for the musical language also pops into the mix.

From over 2 decades of teaching I've noticed students fall into 4 different categories with shades in between, ordered from worst to best and most common to least common:

1) Work erratically with poor discipline and progress inefficiently. (lazy untalented)
2) Work very hard with discipline but progress inefficiently  (hard working untalented)
3) Work erratically with poor discipline and progress efficiently (lazy talent)
4) Work very hard with discipline and progress efficiently (hard working talent)

People may also shift between these categories as they improve when they plateau in their improvement. I don't meet many people who cannot progress through beginner stages of piano development effectively but as the work becomes more involved you see people shifting down the categories.

Talent is certainly NOT a myth but it should be observed in proportion to the individual.

100% I'm number 3 BTW. Good post.
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« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2017, 03:28:17 PM »

My posts have not suggested anything regarding a closed-mind; you are mistaking this, with restating my initial argument to people who have been actively misquoting me.

Yes we all vary in height, weight, skin colour, and placement of bodily organs. Furthermore, yes, these are contributing factors, before we even consider environment, however, again, you have miss read my argument.

Yup.  Funny how we all misunderstand you.  Pretty sure that will continue.  
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« Reply #23 on: October 10, 2017, 03:29:11 PM »

100% I'm number 3 BTW. Good post.

Yeah.  I'm a number 2.

Sort of a Salieri vs Mozart thing.
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« Reply #24 on: October 10, 2017, 03:39:17 PM »

Well no IQ tests aren't irrelevant. They're quite good at predicting a various amount of outcomes, including creativity. Though there isn't an established method to assess creativity (yet) through the intelligent quotient, it has already shown to be strongly linked to IQ. It's not a coincidence that highly musical people with Chopin-like and Mozart-like talent tend to have exceptionally high IQs. Einstein was never tested btw. I only brought up IQ because it's an example of something that you can't have influence over (education and nutrition causes small variability) for your entire life. It's also a little bit less vague than "talent", making the conversation easier.


You're probably dealing with a very small subset though, the prodigy group, and there I would expect some correlation. For people who are just "good" I wouldn't be so convinced, but it would be nice to see research. I stand corrected over Einstein; his school years probably predated testing tbh, but I think he did poorly academically early on and some people argue he was dyslexic.
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« Reply #25 on: October 10, 2017, 03:50:33 PM »

This is very similar to a common expression used in the workplace years back, when something called "situational leadership" was being taught.  The idea was that you adapt your management style to the combination of an employee's ability and motivation, either one of which could be high or low regardless of the other.

At any rate, expressed simplistically, workers could fall into

1.  Smart and lazy
2.  Smart and hard working
3.  Notsmart and lazy
4.  Notsmart and hard working.

You take the smart and lazy and make them managers.  They figure out the most efficient and easy way to run the operation.

You take the smart and hard working people and make them staffers.  They do the bulk of your work.

You take the nonsmart and lazy and tolerate them, getting whatever work you can.  With care and constant attention they can perform.

You take the notsmart and hardworking people, and fire them as fast as you can.  These are the ones who are truly dangerous.  
Interesting I like the cross over relationship.



My mums best friend I consider very lucky because she always wins competitions like almost every month. But she works so hard at entering them, filling out literally thousands and thousands every year! So I look at her as very lucky but the work behind it all is immense. One might think there is no talent when it comes to chance and luck events but she is extremely organised and knows where to look to find them all. She has been doing it all her life and when the internet became more important she had to relearn how to find competitions through the internet, how to network with the right groups, programs etc. So she says she is constantly improving and learning new things even though she is a veteran competition chaser.

I think this is the same for piano study, being a hard worker and knowing where to look and apply your efforts. This is not so hard at the beginner levels but as we progress it can become more and more evasive, not only that some people reach a limitation to their capabilities which is not a negative issue at all. Seriously if the aim was simply to get better and better and better you would end up playing ridiculously difficult music which really not many listeners care about.

People all have different desires for what they want to play. The students I have been involved with are often totally happy and content playing at all different levels of music and have no desire to play more difficult pieces. Many wish to improve their learning skills more so, they desire to be able to sight read music at higher levels more proficiently or be able to learn at a faster and faster rate, these goals are also very important.


I have to add, that I really do think that hard work trumps talent much more often than not (see tortoise and the hare fable). I have seen people enjoy their musical journey a huge amount with a lot of hard work no matter what frustrations face them. There are many victories to be won with hard work.
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« Reply #26 on: October 10, 2017, 03:58:10 PM »

This post also might be of interest, I feel it has to do with this discussion:

https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=34031.0
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« Reply #27 on: October 10, 2017, 04:01:37 PM »

You're probably dealing with a very small subset though, the prodigy group, and there I would expect some correlation. For people who are just "good" I wouldn't be so convinced, but it would be nice to see research. I stand corrected over Einstein; his school years probably predated testing tbh, but I think he did poorly academically early on and some people argue he was dyslexic.

There exists an intelligent quotient threshold for creative tasks though. The less creative tasks an individual is assigned the lower required threshold, the more tasks the higher it is. Higher IQ individuals are better at performing creative tasks in general. It isn't surprising, considering that some of the skills required in the creative arts are defined by fluid and crystallized intelligence; some of the categories IQ tests measure.

Academically poor? Man, the guy learned differential and integral calculus by the age of 12. He started writing his first research papers when he was a teenager. Sure he failed a uni entrance exam once, but that was because he was lazy about french...his grades in physics and maths were still exceptional. Einstein's talent was apparent from an early age.

Edit: Enough posting from me. I'm starting to sound like an elitist Nazi...trust me I'm not!
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« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2017, 01:35:45 PM »

Hmm, as I read through these, I thought: Shouldn't really be practicing?!

Something I would add:

Environment and environmental triggers.

My parents were functionally illiterate, but there was a library near us and the library provided free babysitting in the form of stacks of books and kindly women.  Without that environment, my life would be vastly different than the one I enjoy today.  My parents took pride in the number of books I read weekly, my teachers praised me for being an early, fluent reader and in a less than safe neighborhood I had a place of escape.

I've never done an exhaustive study of this, but in a home which values music, a parent is a musician, a community which supports the arts...talent, i.e., effort and persistence is encouraged.
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« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2017, 03:29:48 PM »

At any rate, expressed simplistically, workers could fall into

1.  Smart and lazy
2.  Smart and hard working
3.  Notsmart and lazy
4.  Notsmart and hard working.

You take the smart and lazy and make them managers.  They figure out the most efficient and easy way to run the operation.

You take the smart and hard working people and make them staffers.  They do the bulk of your work.

You take the nonsmart and lazy and tolerate them, getting whatever work you can.  With care and constant attention they can perform.

You take the notsmart and hardworking people, and fire them as fast as you can.  These are the ones who are truly dangerous.  



So now I know why I always end up being the boss Wink

As for the questions by the op, I think other people such as visitor and lostwhatever already said most of what needs to be said about the subject. Except that in my language talent is used as a  noun rather than an adjective...

Oh wait, seems it's so in English too!

Merriam-Webster:
Definition of talent
1 a :a special often athletic, creative, or artistic aptitude
b :general intelligence or mental power :ability
2 :the natural endowments of a person
3 :a person of talent or a group of persons of talent in a field or activity
4 a :any of several ancient units of weight
b :a unit of value equal to the value of a talent of gold or silver
5 archaic :a characteristic feature, aptitude, or disposition of a person or animal
— talented \-lən-təd\ adjective
— talentless  \-lənt-ləs\ adjective

So once again, maybe we should DEFINE the concept before declaring it a myth...
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« Reply #30 on: October 12, 2017, 04:52:18 PM »

shut up outin, it's a myth
if you practice properly and diligently for 10,000 hours you'll be as good as teenage Chopin.
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« Reply #31 on: October 13, 2017, 02:05:11 PM »

shut up outin, it's a myth
if you practice properly and diligently for 10,000 hours you'll be as good as teenage Chopin.

So that I can play his variations op2? No thanks!

I'd rather be as weird as Scriabin...getting there Wink
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« Reply #32 on: October 13, 2017, 02:35:49 PM »

So that I can play his variations op2? No thanks!

I'd rather be as weird as Scriabin...getting there Wink

teenage chopin did a lot more than op.2...op. 10 etudes, op. 21 and op. 11 concerto...

Jesus sometimes i forget how good he was.

scriabin was a boss too. anyone who could write that 5th sonata is mental...
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« Reply #33 on: October 13, 2017, 03:30:48 PM »

teenage chopin did a lot more than op.2...op. 10 etudes,

Just for precision he didn't actually finish those before turning 20...so not really a teenager anymore.
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« Reply #34 on: October 13, 2017, 04:13:07 PM »

Just for precision he didn't actually finish those before turning 20...so not really a teenager anymore.

i know, he only wrote some of them when he was 19...but that's still insane in my book
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« Reply #35 on: October 13, 2017, 06:14:41 PM »

i know, he only wrote some of them when he was 19...but that's still insane in my book

Maybe he had some talent?  Grin
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« Reply #36 on: October 13, 2017, 07:17:30 PM »

Maybe he had some talent?  Grin

oh look she made a

CALL BACK JOKEEEEE!!!
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« Reply #37 on: October 14, 2017, 05:22:49 PM »

I actually went back and read the article on the original link.

I would say that there is a distinction between raw talent and mastery.

Michael Jordan (yes, I'm in Chicago) had raw talent as a basketball player. However, he wasn't successful until he developed mastery. And, mastery is the result of intentional, deliberate, focused and guided practice over time.

Similarly, Kissin was a talented child. He grew up in an environment filled with music, musicians, and musical instruction.  He became a master as we know him today through deliberate study. 
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« Reply #38 on: October 15, 2017, 01:54:41 AM »

Cool story bernadete about the library and the kind librarians.  Glad you found them and they helped you overcome your rural destiny.
My Mother's father was pulled out of school age 11, to dig coal, when his father was killed.  He purchased an Encylopedia Britannica from the door to door salesman, and continued his education that way.  He read it from cover to cover.  He ended up the UMW local union steward, because he could read and write. 
My Mother discovered Beethoven on the AM radio in those 15 minute programs NBC would air on Saturday night during WWII.  She bought an FM radio when I was 11 and KLEF-FM programming is the basis of most of my classical music education.  There were private piano lessons.  Plus the parents found me a school in another state.  where tiny Native Americans were aloud to thrive, not be bullied. The band program was amazing.   
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