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#2053385 - 03/24/13 10:20 AM Re: Goldberg Variations - Estimate your time to learn [Re: Ferdinand]  
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Originally Posted by Ferdinand
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think those that think just given enough time to practice and study they could:

1. shoot par golf
2. become a chess grandmaster or even just an international master
3. Acquire a forehand like Roger Federer
4. learn to play the Goldberg Variations notes at tempo

are being very unrealistic.

No argument. I said I thought I could learn the notes. Not play them up to tempo.
OK, but I don't see the point in learning the notes to a piece if one will not expect to play the piece at some reasonably close to normal tempo. When people discuss learning the notes to a piece, I think it's assumed this means at some reasonably close to appropriate tempo.

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#2054059 - 03/25/13 02:44 PM Re: Goldberg Variations - Estimate your time to learn [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Derulux Offline
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think those that think just given enough time to practice and study they could:

1. shoot par golf
2. become a chess grandmaster or even just an international master
3. Acquire a forehand like Roger Federer
4. learn to play the Goldberg Variations notes at tempo

are being very unrealistic.

Those who practice correctly can do any one of those things. I've only ever bothered to do #1, but I bet I could do #4 in a relatively short amount of time. wink


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
#2054738 - 03/26/13 06:48 PM Re: Goldberg Variations - Estimate your time to learn [Re: decibel101]  
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it took me a few weeks to learn them, a few years to think that I knew them, a few decades to learn that I didn't, and half a life to just have the guts to perform them, still not sure about it.


Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!
#2054824 - 03/26/13 09:32 PM Re: Goldberg Variations - Estimate your time to learn [Re: Derulux]  
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Originally Posted by Derulux
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think those that think just given enough time to practice and study they could:

1. shoot par golf
2. become a chess grandmaster or even just an international master
3. Acquire a forehand like Roger Federer
4. learn to play the Goldberg Variations notes at tempo

are being very unrealistic.

Those who practice correctly can do any one of those things. I've only ever bothered to do #1, but I bet I could do #4 in a relatively short amount of time. wink
Very few professional tennis players in the history of the sport ever had a forehand the equal of Federer. These the most talented people playing tennis and if they don't know how to practice who would? Now how could a person with average or below average athletic ability ever hope to have a forehand like Federer?

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#2054839 - 03/26/13 10:08 PM Re: Goldberg Variations - Estimate your time to learn [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Derulux Offline
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Derulux
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think those that think just given enough time to practice and study they could:

1. shoot par golf
2. become a chess grandmaster or even just an international master
3. Acquire a forehand like Roger Federer
4. learn to play the Goldberg Variations notes at tempo

are being very unrealistic.

Those who practice correctly can do any one of those things. I've only ever bothered to do #1, but I bet I could do #4 in a relatively short amount of time. wink
Very few professional tennis players in the history of the sport ever had a forehand the equal of Federer. These the most talented people playing tennis and if they don't know how to practice who would? Now how could a person with average or below average athletic ability ever hope to have a forehand like Federer?

He's lost 202 times, so there are certainly days when he's not the best. But if you want to take something so marginally small that one person can be "the best" at it, and then say no one else can match it, then yes. You have a point. But it is just as well to say that, eventually, someone will come along and beat him. Nobody stays "the best" forever.

Of the four you listed, that is the only one that is specific to one individual, and that individual's greatest strength. It would be like saying, "Nobody can drive a ball farther than John Daly." You're right, but Daly was never considered the world's greatest golfer. Tiger Woods is.

So, if we back #3 down to the more generic levels of the other three items on the list, we may find it to be quite possible, even probable, that it might occur. smile


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
#2055018 - 03/27/13 09:15 AM Re: Goldberg Variations - Estimate your time to learn [Re: Derulux]  
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Originally Posted by Derulux
Those who practice correctly can do any one of those things. I've only ever bothered to do #1, but I bet I could do #4 in a relatively short amount of time. wink
Originally Posted by Pianoloverus
Very few professional tennis players in the history of the sport ever had a forehand the equal of Federer. These the most talented people playing tennis and if they don't know how to practice who would? Now how could a person with average or below average athletic ability ever hope to have a forehand like Federer?
Originally Posted by Derulux

He's lost 202 times, so there are certainly days when he's not the best. But if you want to take something so marginally small that one person can be "the best" at it, and then say no one else can match it, then yes. You have a point. But it is just as well to say that, eventually, someone will come along and beat him. Nobody stays "the best" forever.

Of the four you listed, that is the only one that is specific to one individual, and that individual's greatest strength. It would be like saying, "Nobody can drive a ball farther than John Daly." You're right, but Daly was never considered the world's greatest golfer. Tiger Woods is.

So, if we back #3 down to the more generic levels of the other three items on the list, we may find it to be quite possible, even probable, that it might occur. smile
So you really think that talent isn't a huge factor in reaching the levels required to do any of the above?

I know two of the most talented pianists at PW and they were both playing extremely advanced works(the kind most people never have the ability to play) relatively soon after they started. To me, this means that there was more involved than just having an excellent teacher and practicing a lot.

I think if one took the tennis player ranked only 1000th in the world and asked about the chances of a person with average or less than average athletic ability being able to reach that level with enough practice and the best coaching, I think their chances would be close to 0.

Similarly, if you can shoot par golf, I think you must have extremely high natural ability in the particular physical skills needed to do this, and it wasn't achieved just by excellent instruction and many hours of practice. How would you rate you athletic ability?

Last edited by pianoloverus; 03/27/13 09:21 AM.
#2055120 - 03/27/13 02:01 PM Re: Goldberg Variations - Estimate your time to learn [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Derulux Offline
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Derulux
Those who practice correctly can do any one of those things. I've only ever bothered to do #1, but I bet I could do #4 in a relatively short amount of time. wink
Originally Posted by Pianoloverus
Very few professional tennis players in the history of the sport ever had a forehand the equal of Federer. These the most talented people playing tennis and if they don't know how to practice who would? Now how could a person with average or below average athletic ability ever hope to have a forehand like Federer?
Originally Posted by Derulux

He's lost 202 times, so there are certainly days when he's not the best. But if you want to take something so marginally small that one person can be "the best" at it, and then say no one else can match it, then yes. You have a point. But it is just as well to say that, eventually, someone will come along and beat him. Nobody stays "the best" forever.

Of the four you listed, that is the only one that is specific to one individual, and that individual's greatest strength. It would be like saying, "Nobody can drive a ball farther than John Daly." You're right, but Daly was never considered the world's greatest golfer. Tiger Woods is.

So, if we back #3 down to the more generic levels of the other three items on the list, we may find it to be quite possible, even probable, that it might occur. smile
So you really think that talent isn't a huge factor in reaching the levels required to do any of the above?

I know two of the most talented pianists at PW and they were both playing extremely advanced works(the kind most people never have the ability to play) relatively soon after they started. To me, this means that there was more involved than just having an excellent teacher and practicing a lot.

I think if one took the tennis player ranked only 1000th in the world and asked about the chances of a person with average or less than average athletic ability being able to reach that level with enough practice and the best coaching, I think their chances would be close to 0.

Similarly, if you can shoot par golf, I think you must have extremely high natural ability in the particular physical skills needed to do this, and it wasn't achieved just by excellent instruction and many hours of practice. How would you rate you athletic ability?

I don't think talent is a non-factor, but I do think it's overvalued. In terms of achieving such a high level of success and ability, I rank work ethic first. You can have the most talented kid in the world, but if they sit on their ass all day watching TV, they won't get anywhere. Similarly, you can have someone with average ability work their tail off every day, all day, and become the next greatest "anything" in the world. There are far more examples of "average" people working their tails off than there are of so-called "talented" people doing nothing.

The single smartest person I've ever heard of (IQ over 240) works at a gas station. A very good friend of mine with an above-average intelligence (IQ of 123) is doing top-level cancer research at Jefferson and making some pretty big breakthroughs.

I knew a kid who could run a 4:15 mile in 6th grade. You've never heard of him because he stopped running shortly thereafter. Another kid I grew up with couldn't break 8:00, but he worked his tail off, and later broke the national collegiate record in the 5k.

Final story, I taught a kid in martial arts who, growing up, was absolutely horrible. Couldn't hit a target with a laser sight, and didn't have the power to knock over a blow-up doll. He spent 6 hours a day on the floor, worked his butt off for 8 more years, and went on to win two world championships.

I think your example of the tennis player makes assumptions that you may not have considered. If you take someone 22 years old, with average athletic ability, and try to turn them into Roger Federer, you've got a few things going against you. One is the choices that person made during the previous 20 years that caused them to be in the condition they're in. The second is the amount of "peak physical conditioning" time they have left before age catches up. I believe, however, if you were to take a 30 year old with average athletic ability, go back to when they were 2 years old, and train them correctly from the start, that you would be talking about a "talented prodigy" and not an "average Joe".

To answer your last question, I am fortunate enough to be extremely athletic. Whether this is a product of the way I grew up, or some "natural" ability, I don't know. Both of my parents coached multiple sports, and ever since I was able to walk, I trained my tail off. My nine world titles in the martial arts didn't come because I was "so talented I didn't have to do anything." They came because I spent 6-7 hours a day, 6 days a week, for 10 years training to win those titles. Similarly, I didn't shoot par golf because I watched TV. Since I was 2 years old, I swung a club. It took until I was in my late teens to shoot par. That's another 15 years of working my butt off.

See, what I see is this: people pick up an activity to "try it out," or to "have fun with it." I've never done that. I can't do it--my brain isn't built that way. (Sometimes I wish I could, but it just doesn't happen.) I do things to be good at them, and I bust my tail to get there. Some people may enjoy playing a round of golf and breaking 120 for this first time. I'd rather go to a driving range and hit 1500 balls with a 7 iron. Why? I need to excel. I need to compete. I need to win.

It is that mentality, more than talent, that creates a Roger Federer. That's what creates a Dan Gable, a Tiger Woods, a Michael Phelps. It's not desire--desire isn't strong enough. It's a need. He needs to compete. Needs to win. Needs to beat everyone else and be the best in the world. And he works longer and harder than anyone else to make sure it happens.


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
#2055130 - 03/27/13 02:20 PM Re: Goldberg Variations - Estimate your time to learn [Re: Derulux]  
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Originally Posted by Derulux

I don't think talent is a non-factor, but I do think it's overvalued. In terms of achieving such a high level of success and ability, I rank work ethic first. You can have the most talented kid in the world, but if they sit on their ass all day watching TV, they won't get anywhere. Similarly, you can have someone with average ability work their tail off every day, all day, and become the next greatest "anything" in the world. There are far more examples of "average" people working their tails off than there are of so-called "talented" people doing nothing.
I think the roles of talent vs. work ethic are virtually impossible to evaluate. Most agree that to achieve some incredibly high level of performance at something a very high work ethic is necessary. Few think that talent alone is sufficient to perform at the highest level. But the disagreement, of course, occurs about whether or not work ethic is sufficient.

Perhaps one of the most famous examples are the Polgar sisters in chess where the father, if I understand things correctly, was trying to show that the work ethic was sufficient and using his daughters as kind of an experiment. But even though all three of his daughters became great chess players(Judith being by far the strongest female chess player in history and Susan being one of the strongest female players in history), I don't think his experiment proved much.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 03/27/13 02:22 PM.
#2055175 - 03/27/13 03:48 PM Re: Goldberg Variations - Estimate your time to learn [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Derulux

I don't think talent is a non-factor, but I do think it's overvalued. In terms of achieving such a high level of success and ability, I rank work ethic first. You can have the most talented kid in the world, but if they sit on their ass all day watching TV, they won't get anywhere. Similarly, you can have someone with average ability work their tail off every day, all day, and become the next greatest "anything" in the world. There are far more examples of "average" people working their tails off than there are of so-called "talented" people doing nothing.
I think the roles of talent vs. work ethic are virtually impossible to evaluate. Most agree that to achieve some incredibly high level of performance at something a very high work ethic is necessary. Few think that talent alone is sufficient to perform at the highest level. But the disagreement, of course, occurs about whether or not work ethic is sufficient.

Perhaps one of the most famous examples are the Polgar sisters in chess where the father, if I understand things correctly, was trying to show that the work ethic was sufficient and using his daughters as kind of an experiment. But even though all three of his daughters became great chess players(Judith being by far the strongest female chess player in history and Susan being one of the strongest female players in history), I don't think his experiment proved much.

I believe (not scientific fact, obviously) that as long as you're not deprived of some critical component (in the case of piano, not having hands, for example) that work ethic is at least 95% of the equation. I base my belief on this fact: without talent, work ethic can get you near the top; without work ethic, talent can take you nowhere. But you're absolutely right-- it's a heavily-contended idea with little definitive evidence one way or the other.


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
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