So you don't believe in talent?

loudboy

Member
Messages
27,316
The true greats have a combination of innate talent, followed by an unstoppable work ethic.

Just one won't do it.
 

russ6100

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,563
What a wonderful performance!

She worked her ass off - believe it.

It'd be nice if the judges were able to grow an attention span or at least not feel the need to draw attention to themselves during her performance....

Thanks for posting! :aok
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
33,784
What a wonderful performance!

She worked her ass off - believe it.

It'd be nice if the judges were able to grow an attention span or at least not feel the need to draw attention to themselves during her performance....

Thanks for posting! :aok
It is like the shaky camera 3 second edit look at me world we get now.
 
Messages
7,602
Oh good, I thought this was going to be another "10 year old blues prodigy".

She was certianly born with better vocal cords than most of us, I'll say that. But read the blurb under the video. It says she listened to pieces over and over and sang along with them. That's practice.

Natural talent (or gifts, or whatever...) seems to be one of those things that people really want to believe but it doesn't really hold up to a scientific analysis. We are influenced by our environment in countless ways, starting in the womb. That not only affects the brain, but the expression of various genes.

Here's a good paper on the subject:
http://users.ecs.soton.ac.uk/harnad/Papers/Py104/howe.innate.html

And if you want to read a whole book, check out "Talent is Overrated."

As for the oft repeated 10,000 hrs thing, that is about being at the elite level. The whole thing isn't even so much about the time itself, as it is the circumstances that allow someone to be able to put in that time. Think about it, three hours a day for a year gives you 1000 hours which will allow someone to really start getting good at something, especially children who's brains are total sponges.

Sure the notion of "gifts" makes for a nice story, but also allows the rest of us to account for our own shortcomings by saying, "I wasn't born with that."

Sorry, I'm all cold and scientific about stuff. :hide
 

A-Bone

Montonero, MOY, Multitudes
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
102,468
Oh good, I thought this was going to be another "10 year old blues prodigy".

She was certianly born with better vocal cords than most of us, I'll say that. But read the blurb under the video. It says she listened to pieces over and over and sang along with them. That's practice.

Natural talent (or gifts, or whatever...) seems to be one of those things that people really want to believe but it doesn't really hold up to a scientific analysis. We are influenced by our environment in countless ways, starting in the womb. That not only affects the brain, but the expression of various genes.

Here's a good paper on the subject:
http://users.ecs.soton.ac.uk/harnad/Papers/Py104/howe.innate.html

And if you want to read a whole book, check out "Talent is Overrated."

As for the oft repeated 10,000 hrs thing, that is about being at the elite level. The whole thing isn't even so much about the time itself, as it is the circumstances that allow someone to be able to put in that time. Think about it, three hours a day for a year gives you 1000 hours which will allow someone to really start getting good at something, especially children who's brains are total sponges.

Sure the notion of "gifts" makes for a nice story, but also allows the rest of us to account for our own shortcomings by saying, "I wasn't born with that."

Sorry, I'm all cold and scientific about stuff. :hide
Thank you.
 

knuckle

Guest
Messages
1,215
People say to me "well your lucky, you just pick the guitar up and play it."

And I say, well, you don't see me down in my basement every night for 3 hours while your watching football while the guitar sits on the stand.

Talent is only 1/4 of it IMO.

I know so many people that say "I suck" but play their guitar 10 minutes a week. They say "how do you do it?"

Well the first step is picking the damn thing up.
 

ZeyerGTR

Member
Messages
3,915
Everyone is born with certain strengths and weaknesses. Could be a good ear, could be a photographic memory, or maybe exceptional fine motor control. All those things can also be developed. To the extent talent exists, it plays little-to-no role in actual success. It's a marathon. Maybe some people get to start on mile 3, some at mile 0. That doesn't mean both can't finish, and starting point doesn't determine the outcome of the race.

+1 on Talent is Overrated - one of the best books I've ever read.

Every biography of every famous and successful person (guitar player, engineer, whatever) I've ever read very clearly walks through the principles outlined in Talent is Overrated. It comes up again and again and again.

The video was pretty amazing, though! She sounded great.
 
Messages
7,602
Everyone is born with certain strengths and weaknesses. Could be a good ear, could be a photographic memory, or maybe exceptional fine motor control. All those things can also be developed. To the extent talent exists, it plays little-to-no role in actual success. It's a marathon. Maybe some people get to start on mile 3, some at mile 0. That doesn't mean both can't finish, and starting point doesn't determine the outcome of the race.

+1 on Talent is Overrated - one of the best books I've ever read.

Every biography of every famous and successful person (guitar player, engineer, whatever) I've ever read very clearly walks through the principles outlined in Talent is Overrated. It comes up again and again and again.

The video was pretty amazing, though! She sounded great.
Well said. Even if someone gets a head start (by whatever reason you want to attribute it to) it disappears pretty quickly.
 

gtrdave

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,366
Everyone is born with certain strengths and weaknesses. Could be a good ear, could be a photographic memory, or maybe exceptional fine motor control. All those things can also be developed.
Yeah, I remember that scene in Footloose where Kevin Bacon teaches Chris Penn how to count in proper time and dance to the rhythm of the music.
If only that were true...
I've been teaching music to people of all ages for 30 years now and there are a couple of absolutes that I've come to find in my experience:
1) most people who can't keep proper time rarely if ever learn to keep proper time.
2) most people who can't clearly hear, discern and emulate (either with their voice or with an instrument) audible frequencies properly rarely if ever learn to develop that ability.

I speed-read through the "Innate Gifts and Talents" link and was saddened to read this as the closing sentence:
"The practice of describing some children as being innately gifted or talented inevitably results in influential adults discriminating against young people not so labelled. "
Why did it have to conclude with a bias toward the 'everyone deserves a trophy' mentality?

As far as the book "Talent is Overrated" is concerned, I'll just refer to my favorite review of the book which is summed up in 4 simple words: "This book is overrated".

The little girl in the op video has got talent. She's got a skill. A gift. She heard something with her ears and has the ability to emulate it as best as she can with her voice, all at the age of 9, to a level of quality that many adults can not achieve.
Yeah, maybe if we all just practice 10,000 hours, we can be just like her. :jo
 

chillybilly

Member
Messages
3,673
If you don't believe in talent then attend one of my band's rehearsals, where the bass & drums ask to play the setlist in its entirety - AGAIN - so they can 'refresh their memories.' In other words, talent is thin on the ground where brute-force repetition is the only way (apparently) to imprint a 3-minute song with a stock-standard verse/chorus/bridge construction.
 
Messages
6,249
What about this kid who has only been playing 4 years. He's 10.



Some people are given gifts is what I'm thinking.
Practice and work ethic are part of it. Some people just work really hard.
Some people have gifts and the work ethic and the right connections.
 

buddaman71

Student of Life
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
12,904
Everyone is born with certain strengths and weaknesses. Could be a good ear, could be a photographic memory, or maybe exceptional fine motor control. All those things can also be developed. To the extent talent exists, it plays little-to-no role in actual success. It's a marathon. Maybe some people get to start on mile 3, some at mile 0. That doesn't mean both can't finish, and starting point doesn't determine the outcome of the race.

+1 on Talent is Overrated - one of the best books I've ever read.

Every biography of every famous and successful person (guitar player, engineer, whatever) I've ever read very clearly walks through the principles outlined in Talent is Overrated. It comes up again and again and again.

The video was pretty amazing, though! She sounded great.
to say that physical/intellectual/psychological traits and innate ability is basically a non-factor in developing any real skill is a pretty massive leap IMHO...

ever tried to teach someone to play any musical instrument who literally has zero sense of pitch or rhythm? (10,000 hours you're not likely to ever get back...)

could a person blind from birth practice hard enough to learn what the color fuchsia is?

can an 5'9" middle-aged guy with a 17" vertical leap work out and practice hard enough to overcome his physical limitations and "learn" to reverse 360 2-hand dunk a basketball? run a 9.89 100-meters?

we all have built in hard limits to our physical and intellectual capabilities...hard work and determination definitely are must-haves in maximizing our individual abilities, but to completely discount talent is mind-boggling to me...
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
33,784
Y.....
"The practice of describing some children as being innately gifted or talented inevitably results in influential adults discriminating against young people not so labelled. "

Why did it have to conclude with a bias toward the 'everyone deserves a trophy' mentality?
He is right about the discrimination.
The hot shots get mentoring, opportunity, rewards and training that is simply not offered to others whose only fault may be just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Furthermore, the kids who finish second, or third, etc and would benefit from the extra chances have it denied on the basis that they are not worth the investment.
Teachers like to work with the the 'best' kids that move ahead of the pack but the overall level of the pack suffers.
Imo, and I have no answers in a world of limited and diminishing resources.
 

Paleolith54

Member
Messages
3,374
Well said. Even if someone gets a head start (by whatever reason you want to attribute it to) it disappears pretty quickly.
Seems like Physics is an exception. At least among the more brilliant stratum (Nobel laureates, for example) a prominent pattern is prodigious achievement early, and the rest of the career trying to prove it wasn't luck. Not my opinion, I have read this in accounts from more than one physicist.

I think this just highlights that the case is hardly closed, and that there's nothing unscientific about positing innate talent as an important determinant in success.

Interesting topic.
 

ZeyerGTR

Member
Messages
3,915
can an 5'9" middle-aged guy with a 17" vertical leap work out and practice hard enough to overcome his physical limitations and "learn" to reverse 360 2-hand dunk a basketball? run a 9.89 100-meters?
There are obviously certain physical attributes required for some things, and books on the topic like Talent is Overrated very clearly state these types of exceptions. It'd be tough to be a pro quarterback or basketball player if you're 5'1". That doesn't mean you couldn't be an outstanding athlete and be 5'1". It also doesn't negate the main point that inborn "talent" - to whatever degree it exists - doesn't play much of a role in success.

to say that physical/intellectual/psychological traits and innate ability is basically a non-factor in developing any real skill is a pretty massive leap IMHO...
For what it's worth, I didn't say that bolded part.
 
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Jimmy3Fingers

Member
Messages
3,481
My wife has no rhythm. If she did 20 years of ear training, she would still be challenged. Maybe that's because she's been listening to me for 25 years. She could not be a successful musician/vocalist, although she loves music.

Anyways...hard work is important, but doesn't always trump some of the 'gifts' we are blessed with (or not).
 

loudboy

Member
Messages
27,316
It also doesn't negate the main point that inborn "talent" - to whatever degree it exists - doesn't play much of a role in success.
If you're talking about "success" - whatever that may be, of course putting in the time will play a much bigger factor, as that's what separates the men from the boys - fierce determination.

If you're talking about ability, innate aptitude plays the much larger part.

I don't know a single very good/great singer, who has said that they couldn't do it, from their earliest memory.

Just like I don't know any artists who couldn't always just look at something and draw it.

Ask any talented person "why" they just did something, or even "how." I can guarantee that you'll get answers like:

"I moved it around until it looked right."

"I just sing how I feel it."

"I just turn the knobs until it sounds good."

Sure, they had to work hard to get the technical knowledge/skill to execute the task, but there's something else at play there.

The "Rule of Thirds" wasn't invented by cavemen, who then passed it down. It was a reaction, by educators, to try to explain why art is pleasing...

A big issue, IMHO, is that people who have a talent can't conceive of not being able to do it, so they'll figure that it was hard work that did it for them.

I know a guy who worked 20x harder than most, at playing. He took lessons every week from the best player in town. He practiced every day. He had all the best gear.

He spent over 6 months learning an iconic solo by a band he liked. It never sounded right...

We were jamming on a straight 12-bar one night, and I threw in a little lick on the turnaround. He stopped us, and asked me how I knew to do that.

My answer, 'It sounded cool."
 




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