Old World or New, Sacred or Profane

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Regarding those with talent...

I will eventually get back to describing the Emily lesson, and respond to the recent comments. Soon. But it's been a hectic and difficult weekend (read weekend with 13-year old daughter). In the meantime, I'd like to re-post somebody else's post I came across on a hammer dulcimer mailing list. It gets into something I'd like to eventually discuss sometime regarding embouchures ("Embouchures are related cello?" I hear you cry)?

Regarding those with talent...

Talent will only get someone so far. I have seen, not just in music but in
all areas, folks who have talent and who naturally get some things, but who
are unable to learn the things which will then take them beyond that first
flush of ease.

I recently took a class where the teacher talked about how he was asked to
change his fundamental movement. He had been involved in the activity for
more than a decade, and could do things much faster and effectively using
his current technique. He resisted using the new technique for quite a
while, and when he did change, he took forever to accomplish anything.

However... in a year's time, he was able to then move beyond his former
limits, and now admits that the new technique is fundamentally sounder than
what he had done initially with "talent."

My own son at some point was asked to change his embouchure, and it was slow
going after having played his instrument for so long. However, he eventually
got the hang of the new mouth shape, and can do things which he couldn't do
with talent.

Talent is great. Willingness to practice, to learn and to change count far
more, and will take one much farther.


Anonymous said...

That makes a lot of sense to me. on a slightly related note, there's a really good article in a recent Scientific American where they talk about talent/intelligence vs. effort in kids. In general, you get better results in describing and thinking of success in terms of work rather than innate ability.


Terry said...

Excellent article, thank you.

The full end of that link, in case it doesn't display (it didn't for me), is:


Emily said...

I am a pariah in my community for many reasons. One of the hum-dingers is my assertion that talent, 9 times out of 10, ends up being a liability. I talked a little about that in my AST journal article, and still more in the preface to my cello book. Talent sure can lend some Je ne sais quoi. But most of the time, savoir faire is more salient, n'est pas?