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#289767 - 07/01/10 11:01 PM What does constitute talent?
Taike Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/28/02
Posts: 2665
Loc: Taiwan-Laos-China
What makes someone talented? Is it really "you either have it" or "you don't"? Can one become talented through sheer will and hard work? I'm not talking about being successful which is something different altogether.

Taike

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#289768 - 07/02/10 02:21 AM Re: What does constitute talent?
spalding1968 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/19/08
Posts: 1230
Loc: United Kingdom
i believe someone can become better skilled at anything they practise but talent i think is the initial ability that someone has to do something at a higher level than most people. Whether thats singing , having an ear for music, athletic ability , artistic creativity etc. The initial ability is talent the rest of the developemnt of that ability is the progressive skill that happens when people practise their initial ability or talent.

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#289769 - 07/02/10 03:42 AM Re: What does constitute talent?
cgiles Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 5645
Loc: Roswell,GA/USA
I think Spalding has it about right. Personally, yes, I believe you either 'have it' or you don't. There are many examples right here on this board of people who claim to have been playing since they were small children but still sound like someone who with no 'natural' talent that started taking piano lessons at age 60. Luckily for us and their audiences, these (people) are primary users of MP3's and SMF's. The tragedy, of course, is that, in most cases, they don't even have the musical sensibilities to realize how (bad) they actually sound. It's like a person who is too dumb to realize that they're dumb. Responsible parents should have burned those accordions while they were still young.

I don't know why some people sing and play with the same emotion as a wooden block; I don't know why their rhythm is either off OR sounds like a metronome, with no syncopation or 'naturalness' to be found anywhere. I don't know if part of it is cultural; I don't THINK so. Is there a genetic predisposition for musical talent among some groups? Can you duplicate the fiery rhythms of say, Tito Puente, if you're not Hispanic? Who knows? Is it just an individual thing?

Obviously, any skill can be learned and enhanced through hard work and many hours of practice, but can anyone become a 'great' musician without that innate talent? Competent, perhaps, but 'great'; I don't think so. Could I be wrong about all of this; perhaps, but I don't think so.



chas

PS: This is a very interesting topic.
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#289770 - 07/02/10 04:18 AM Re: What does constitute talent?
frankieve Offline
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Registered: 11/24/99
Posts: 1657
Loc: Milford, CT, USA
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#289771 - 07/02/10 05:54 AM Re: What does constitute talent?
tony mads usa Offline
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Registered: 01/16/02
Posts: 12924
Loc: East Greenwich RI USA
Quote:
Originally posted by cgiles:
Responsible parents should have burned those accordions while they were still young.
chas



chas ... I take that as an insult ... your personal tastes aside, the accordion has been the musical root of many talented musicians ....
t.
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#289772 - 07/02/10 05:56 AM Re: What does constitute talent?
tony mads usa Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/16/02
Posts: 12924
Loc: East Greenwich RI USA
What constitutes talent?
IMHO, it is the ability to have some audience want to see or hear whatever it is you do ...
t.
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#289773 - 07/02/10 06:04 AM Re: What does constitute talent?
--Mac Offline
Member

Registered: 05/16/08
Posts: 307
Loc: Chesapeake, Virginia, USA
In my case, "talent" has always been driven by "deep desire" of the kind that makes the long hard work it takes to get to a certain goal *enjoyable*.

I was also deeply influenced by being placed immediately as a child into the situation that there would be some kind of recital in front of people to work towards. Again, something cultivated the deep desire for that applause at an early age.

As far as that phrase, "God-given talent" goes, I remember a time when I was very young and this fantastic music would play in my head and thrill me. Especially in the morning when first waking up, before getting out of bed, but it would occur at other times as well. When I got older, I found out that my mother had played recordings, classical and jazz, while she was pregnant with me, almost daily in the afternoons when she would sit and knit. She told me that she could feel me "dancing" in the womb and that I especially liked some of Mozart's works.

I still love Mozart to this day.

Today, I try to teach my students how to view the art and science of practicing as something FUN. If they can get that, rapid advancement seems to come hand in hand with it.

I tell the student to *always* make whatever they have to play sound as much like *MUSIC PERFORMANCE* as they can. Not like droll repeated excercises, but strive to make every single note you ever play sound, "Musical". To get that across, we work with the dynamics, the counting and the phrasing at the same time as the learning of the mechanical aspects.

Stan Getz once said, "I never played a note I didn't like." That's a deep thought if ever there was one. Some folks may think he was being egotistical, but what I heard was that he was always striving to make the music make sense to the senses. The end result of that was what he said, he "never played a note he didn't LIKE" -- Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong had that gift, where every performance of anything was a unique and powerful presentation in which every note *made sense*. I have found it to be a very intense mental concentration wherein the mind is placed in a state where there is "nothing else but the performance" from beginning to end. No distractions. it is also an exhausting situation, at least for me.

One last observation:

Many times I've been confronted, either after and sometimes during a performance, by that person who says, "You're very talented. -- I took piano lessons but I was never very good." etc. etc.

After years of that, I started telling the truth to these kinds of folks. That what I do did not come easily, although it appeared to come quickly due to the "child prodigy" aspect of seeing and hearing someone who grasped these things at an earlier age than the average, but the truth of the matter is that while others were simply more interested in other things than music, while they were typically engaged in the more social aspects of life, sports, dating, movies, etc. -- I was more likely to be at home practicing my ass off. No, they don't like to hear that, but since when does anybody really like to hear truth?


Flamesuit on,


--Mac
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"Keep listening. Never become so self-important that you can't listen to other players. Live cleanly....Do right....You can improve as a player by improving as a person. It's a duty we owe to ourselves." --John Coltrane

"You don't know what you like, you like what you know. In order to know what you like, you have to know everything." --Branford Marsalis

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#289774 - 07/02/10 06:09 AM Re: What does constitute talent?
Taike Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/28/02
Posts: 2665
Loc: Taiwan-Laos-China
Quote:
Originally posted by tony mads usa:
chas ... I take that as an insult ... your personal tastes aside, the accordion has been the musical root of many talented musicians ....
t.



Tony, I am certain that Chas used "accordion" as a metaphor.

Taike

------------------
Bo pen nyang.
_________________________
Those that cry "freedom" often are the oppressors.

Science can't explain everything, but religion can't explain anything.

Those that are free don't have the need to mention it about every 5 minutes.

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#289775 - 07/02/10 06:19 AM Re: What does constitute talent?
Taike Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/28/02
Posts: 2665
Loc: Taiwan-Laos-China
Both Spalding and Chas make some excellent points here.

Having read quite a few biographies and autobiograhpies of/by very talented people -in the Arts of Music, Painting, Architecture, Literature, Design, etc.-I noticed something rather peculiar: almost none boasted of their talents and all were in awe of someone else's talent. None felt satisfied no matter what great work of art they'd created. On the contrary, they usually felt like they should've done better, that they missed something important, that time wasn't on their side. Their urge to "create" takes "prominence" over anything else, no matter at what cost.

The self-conceited artist, on the other hand, feeds on arrogance, and has an egotistical disregard of others. His urge to "create" is usually a need to be "prominent" and for financial gain.

But this begs the question: "Who decides whether one is talented?" Does a food critic make a good cook? Does a baseball scout make a great ballplayer? How do we "define" that something that we call "talent"?

I don't know whether anyone noticed but "talent" and "genius" have become overused in today's vocabulary. But that may be food for another thread

Taike


------------------
Bo pen nyang.

[This message has been edited by Taike (edited 07-02-2010).]
_________________________
Those that cry "freedom" often are the oppressors.

Science can't explain everything, but religion can't explain anything.

Those that are free don't have the need to mention it about every 5 minutes.

Top
#289776 - 07/02/10 06:20 AM Re: What does constitute talent?
Bernie9 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 4648
Loc: Port Charlotte,FL,USA
Good post, Mac
You are right in saying that many people are surprised, or don't want to hear of the dues every decent musician has had to pay. In my case, the burning desire to get from point A to B was so strong that it was not work, but an exciting journey, Which I am still on BTW. It makes me wonder if there is any correlation between how one looks at practice time, and natural talent.

All great musicians have had to practice for years, eventhough they may have been doing so on a higher plane. Then you take the wannabe's who want instant gratification. It might be nice for them, but I think the fact that it takes a lot of hard work, makes us unique.
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