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Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!!
drumour #2084577 05/18/13 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by drumour
There is one way to convinced the sceptics that talent is irrelevant and that should be fairly obvious. If you think that with the right preparation anyone could play to the standard of say Kissin, go ahead and prove it - you can have as much time as you want. (That means not just playing hard stuff, but playing it at the highest level technically and artistically.)
Wouldn't that just proved you were an undiscovered talent?

Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!!
King Cole #2084579 05/18/13 05:30 AM
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There's a great movie from the 80s, a Belgian movie if I remember correctly. Le Maître de musique, the Music Teacher, "starring" none less than José Van Dam.

The teacher wagers a friend that he can take any bloke and turn him into a great singer. And he does.

Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!!
mermilylumpkin #2084581 05/18/13 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by mermilylumpkin
Originally Posted by Old Man
Originally Posted by mermilylumpkin
I'm a school teacher and I actually see the direct opposite. I have several "gifted" pupils who come into first grade knowing the long division algorithm, etc. etc. and who got that way not because they were born doing long division, but because they had access to a lot of privilege and opportunity.

Well, I had 4 kids, and I was still working a minimum wage job when the 4th was on the way. We had very little, so none of my kids ever received anything special, other than the normal amount of love and encouragement that any parent would provide. And my own upbringing was even less privileged. My dad retired in 1987, and had still never made $10K in a year. So much for the "privilege and opportunity" theory. smile

Originally Posted by mermilylumpkin
I have kids that may well have been labeled as "less gifted" in a prior time or by those with a different approach than me, that tend to end up being quite successful in my class because they don't have someone setting limits on what they're expected to be capable of.

No one should ever set limits on what anyone is capable of. It's not for others to set limits. But the limits do exist, so each of us will discover them on our own. And until we do, I say "The sky's the limit."

Originally Posted by mermilylumpkin
I genuinely believe that they can all be little rocket scientists ...

Not! grin

Originally Posted by mermilylumpkin
Re: the emotional aspect of the argument - But don't you hear yourself touting your son's achievement in the fond, glowing tones of a parent? :-)

Now you're hitting a sore spot. smile Because I hate hearing parents brag about their kids. And I was afraid I'd come off that way, but since I needed an example of what I was talking about, firsthand knowledge seemed the best way to go. Probably a big mistake. Yes, I'm proud of my kids, but not for what they know or what they do, but because of who they are.


As you should be! :-) I am perfectly fine with you using your son as an example, and I have no doubt that he's successful in what he does. I was just trying to point out that I think there's a reason that people cling to their "side" of this argument so vigorously, and I think a lot of it has to do with your beliefs about efficacy and the locus of success and agency. But yeah, parents SHOULD be proud of their kids.

Here's the bottom line for me. If you look at a virtuoso performance of whatever difficult piece, learning that piece resulted from a very long set of procedures: analyzing the piece of music to determine its structure, making choices about phrasing and what voices are aesthetically pleasing to bring out, isolating passages to build the necessary technique or supplementing technique builders, etc. etc. It's a methodical process. And you can break down each of the above mentioned components into even smaller micro tasks if you wanted to. You don't wake up and suddenly "have the ability" to play it. You could argue that pianist A was able to master some scale section 10X faster than pianist B. But then, it's just as likely that you can attribute this to the fact that pianist A built the foundational skills to master it more quickly as a result of doing XYZ Hanon exercises, or making choices during the practice time to practice it in rhythms, or really whatever is the most efficient way to practice it. Learning and mastering music is the result of a series of conscious decisions, and it's not the case that certain brains are just capable of these learning processes and certain brains aren't. People don't learn piano by magic or by having a special brain organ that others don't. They care and are passionate and use their time wisely and put in the time.

It certainly doesn't guarantee fame and fortune and success -- Wasn't it here that someone recently posted the article about all of the superbly talented Juilliard grads waiting tables at age 35? But mastery can be achieved if you put in the time. The reason there are so few masters of a given craft is because very, very few people have the drive and inclination to put in the time, which is not negligible.

You show me a bad pianist that put in 4 hours per day for 20 years, and I'll show you someone who seriously embellishes the accounts of their practice time.


You are ignoring the issue about the initial learning curve, which is about how some very young kids "get it" about music and playing an instrument at what appears to be a miraculous rate, and others who have the same opportunity, don't. When the special ability of the talented ones shows up, they are really not even old enough to have put in all that time and effort that you suggest is necessary. And other kids with equal opportunity to demonstrate the same ability simply don't. And it should be emphasized that playing classical piano is one of the most complex things a person can attempt, so when some tyke turns up having mastered many aspects of it at a ridiculously young age, and no other little kid of that age within a five hundred mile radius even comes close, I think it is absurd to make the argument that that kid merely worked harder. It flies in the face of anything resembling common sense, AFAIAC.





Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!!
keystring #2084583 05/18/13 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by Old Man

I think that's demonstrably false. The fact that there are examples of kids who start piano at age 5, are playing with orchestras at 10, attending conservatory at 12, etc., etc., is evidence that something innate is at play. How can one person devote a year trying to learn a difficult piece, while another learns it in a few days? There's simply no explanation for these differences that makes any sense except native talent.

And if that child had no access to a piano? Have any of these children made it without a teacher, assuming there is at least access to a piano? With a poor teacher? With parents who believe it's frivolous and they should concentrate on math? The innate must be coupled with opportunity.


Obviously the opportunity has to be there - I don't think anyone in this thread has ever suggested otherwise.

It is interesting that some talented kids actually seem to shape opportunity by their demands. I've heard more than one story of small talented children turning into monsters until they get what they need to progress. It's as if it is their "calling" and they'll do whatever it takes to heed the call.


Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!!
mermilylumpkin #2084590 05/18/13 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by mermilylumpkin
People get so invested in this topic. I wonder why that is. I have a feeling that there's a deep emotional component to it.



Well, I was identified as being talented as a kid (within a very small community, I hasten to add) and it made a huge difference in how I grew up and how my personality was formed, and consequently, it made a huge difference in later life and my whole attitude about music. So, yeah, there's some emotional content involved - it's about my life and identity.

Quote


If you disavow genetics or innate makeup or whatever as an important factor, then the implication is really that the sky is the limit. That if you put in hours and hours and hours and you work hard and care deeply, you can play at an outstanding level, skill-wise.

If you believe that people's potential is definitely bounded in by their god-given makeup, then there's a quite different set of implications and I'm puzzling to work out exactly what they would be. One would be that if you are highly successful at piano or whatever it is you do, it owes in large part to your innate gift and intelligence, which I imagine is a flattering thing to think about yourself. Another would be that if you aren't successful then maybe it doesn't matter anyway because you would not have had the natural capacity to achieve greatness if you tried. And there might be more to it that I am missing.



Um, since I was identified as being at least somewhat talented early on, but my working life has not been spent as a professional musician, yes, I think there are some parts you are missing.

Quote


Anyway, I think that one of the reasons people get emotional about this, and flame each other, etc. is because there's an emotional basis behind all the scholarly stuff people come up with. For myself I subscribe vigorously to the first school of thought, and figure that if I practice really really hard and work really hard then I can achieve the skill levels I'd like over a long period of time (to say nothing of achieving a career in music or fame or fortune or glory, which I think relies on circumstance as much as skill). And I am an ambitious person so my goals are ambitious. That's what I get most mileage out of personally, but I suppose everyone's different.


Some kind of emotional investment in the subject matter may be one reason people get wound up, but I think that, as often as not, it's much more about other stuff - such as perceived tone, or what appears to be bad logic, or past history. Lots of factors come into play, and one's emotional investment in the actual subject is just one of them. In my observation, it's definitely not a requirement for heated exchanges.

Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!!
Derulux #2084592 05/18/13 06:14 AM
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Derulux, I have read your post, here:

People get so invested in this topic. I wonder why that is. I have a feeling that there's a deep emotional component to it.

I think that's absolutely true. There's a psychological reason why we call them "deep-set beliefs", and a scientific explanation for why we react emotionally to them. A little pop-science here (but somewhere, there is real science to back it up): these deep-set beliefs reside farther inside our brain, and not along the outer edge of the cerebral cortex. That means they're closer to the lizard brain at the center, which is our seat of emotion. Only those who are better versed in separating emotion from thought are capable of separating the two, and even they aren't successful all the time.

For deciding whether the sky is the limit for you, I like two quotes. One, I can only paraphrase as: success is determined by the willingness to continue long after everyone else has stopped trying.

The other is the great Italian philosopher, Rocky Balboa: "It doesn't matter how hard you can hit. It matters how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. ... That's how winning's done."

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Nice quote: success is determined by the willingness to continue long after everyone else has stopped trying

It reminds me when I went to a film festival. I was in line for a film and the staff came out and said the film is sold out so go to your local theatre when it returns. Everybody left the line. A person came out and said did you hear the announcement and I said, yes, but I only need one seat. Later they came out again and said we have 3 seats and I said I only need one seat and I was the only one in line - everybody else left.

Another time I was in line at a jazz festival, I got to the venue and got in line and somebody came out and said there is only standing room available. Everybody left the line up and I stayed. A woman said to me are you staying and I said. Of course, I can sit for the rest of my life but I am certainly going to stand for this event. She said is that your attitude about things, I said yes.

Being dyslexic and having learning difficulties means I am always close to failure but never give up and eventually learn enough to keep going.

Nicely said: The other is the great Italian philosopher, Rocky Balboa: "It doesn't matter how hard you can hit. It matters how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. ... That's how winning's done."

I put it this way: Let the enemy think they are winning and they will only fight/work half as hard.

or

If you care, I care - if you don't care - I still care.

Particularly with music/arts, there is talent, opportunity, money, being educated, being-bright, drive.

It is those with drive that probably do the best because they never give up and success is always just around the corner and - giving up means never reaching success.


Last edited by Michael_99; 05/18/13 06:22 AM.
Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!!
Old Man #2084595 05/18/13 06:42 AM
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Old Man, I have read your post, here:

People get so invested in this topic. I wonder why that is. I have a feeling that there's a deep emotional component to it.

If you disavow genetics or innate makeup or whatever as an important factor, then the implication is really that the sky is the limit. That if you put in hours and hours and hours and you work hard and care deeply, you can play at an outstanding level, skill-wise.

I think that's demonstrably false. The fact that there are examples of kids who start piano at age 5, are playing with orchestras at 10, attending conservatory at 12, etc., etc., is evidence that something innate is at play. How can one person devote a year trying to learn a difficult piece, while another learns it in a few days? There's simply no explanation for these differences that makes any sense except native talent. And, speaking personally, I don't think any of this is tied up with emotion. It's empirically evident. If my emotions were involved, I'd be desperately wishing it were NOT so evident! grin

Originally Posted By: mermilylumpkin
If you believe that people's potential is definitely bounded in by their god-given makeup, then there's a quite different set of implications and I'm puzzling to work out exactly what they would be. One would be that if you are highly successful at piano or whatever it is you do, it owes in large part to your innate gift and intelligence, which I imagine is a flattering thing to think about yourself.

I don't think anyone would (or should) feel flattered about natural gifts because they're essentially "unearned." As I said in a previous post, my son sailed through math and science from 1st grade through college, with very little studying. But he hated receiving praise for his accomplishment, because he never felt he really "earned" it. It came as easy to him as walking, even though mom and dad struggled with these same subjects their entire lives! It just ain't fair! laugh



_________________________________________

Not so quick: --> How can one person devote a year trying to learn a difficult piece, while another learns it in a few days? There's simply no explanation for these differences that makes any sense except native talent.

Firstly, the person that took a year may never have followed the instructor's advice and only spent a year working hard doing it their way.

There is a small measure of very bright people who don't succeed because they for whatever reason don't follow their's teacher's advice and ultimately end up quitting when they were very capable to reaching success or completion .



Secondly, if one of your parents were an excellent cook and you never cooked in you life, you could probably be an excellent cook if you did so because of what you saw and heard during your life. Far back is history, some famous musicians grew up in a family of musicians. There is no doubt that being around the environment fills your brain with lots of useful information that you store in your brain and use it when needed. It is that little extra edge that makes a difference. Like all of kids in a family - some kids go outside and play and other kids in the family retain the experiences they are exposed to such as running a family business, or other activities like sports or art/music, etc. Talent is useless if there is no drive to harness the talent.

Last edited by Michael_99; 05/18/13 06:58 AM.
Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!!
mermilylumpkin #2084598 05/18/13 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by mermilylumpkin
I'm a school teacher and I actually see the direct opposite. I have several "gifted" pupils who come into first grade knowing the long division algorithm, etc. etc. and who got that way not because they were born doing long division, but because they had access to a lot of privilege and opportunity. I have kids that may well have been labeled as "less gifted" in a prior time or by those with a different approach than me, that tend to end up being quite successful in my class because they don't have someone setting limits on what they're expected to be capable of. I genuinely believe that they can all be little rocket scientists, so, due to the human nature, most of them rise to the occasion.



I am guessing that what you teach in your class isn't the playing of advanced classical piano music. If it were, I think you'd quickly see the difference between gifted and not gifted, regardless of background.

But, since you brought it up - I was a "gifted" student in general, not just in playing piano. Without going into details of my personal history, I'll just tell you that I was far from privileged, and that my parents and family didn't place much value on the kind of "book learning" in which I excelled. I can't think of a single instance in which anyone in my family encouraged me in my schoolwork. At all. Ever.

But even without much support at home, I generally did better than my most of my classmates, and I had no particular advantage in terms of "privilege". In fact, by the time I graduated from high school, I'd say there were a number of more "privileged" kids who didn't do as well.

So, based on my own experience, I think you may be misinterpreting what you are seeing. I think it is well-established that most students respond to expectations, both in their homes and at school. And the interplay between those environments can be very complicated. I think it is also pretty well established that some kids from under-privileged environments can blossom remarkably in the right circumstances, and do just as well as the average, or even better. And there is, after all, a certain boost that occurs when a kid realizes that some limits may not be as real as they once thought.

But I don't think all that really touches on the kids whose gifts don't seem so dependent on environment, other than there is some sort of outlet in which the talent can be expressed. And there are plenty of those kids.

Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!!
Michael_99 #2084599 05/18/13 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Michael_99
Talent is useless if there is no drive to harness the talent.


That's true, but it's a different issue than whether talent even exists.

Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!!
Michael_99 #2084608 05/18/13 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Michael_99
And, speaking personally, I don't think any of this is tied up with emotion. It's empirically evident. If my emotions were involved, I'd be desperately wishing it were NOT so evident! grin
There I think you're wrong. For the vast majority the need to succeed is Oedipal (though you can call that an instinct, it's felt as an emotion deeply below consciousness).

Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!!
wr #2084635 05/18/13 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by wr

You are ignoring the issue about the initial learning curve, which is about how some very young kids "get it" about music and playing an instrument at what appears to be a miraculous rate, and others who have the same opportunity, don't. When the special ability of the talented ones shows up, they are really not even old enough to have put in all that time and effort that you suggest is necessary. And other kids with equal opportunity to demonstrate the same ability simply don't. And it should be emphasized that playing classical piano is one of the most complex things a person can attempt, so when some tyke turns up having mastered many aspects of it at a ridiculously young age, and no other little kid of that age within a five hundred mile radius even comes close, I think it is absurd to make the argument that that kid merely worked harder. It flies in the face of anything resembling common sense, AFAIAC.

wr, you're wasting your breath. I've repeatedly used the "initial learning curve" argument (i.e. the existence of prodigies) throughout this discussion, but to no avail. Not only does it never get addressed, it probably never will, because it truly is the coup de grace to the "environmental" argument. If a kid starts lessons at 5 and is playing piano concertos at 8 or 9, there is no combination of parents, practice, piano, pedagogy or perseverance that can produce this result. As you say, there is simply not enough time. And if there were such a magic combination, there would be hundreds of book on the subject, parents throughout the world would clamor for it, piano sales would skyrocket, and billionaires would be made.

Sorry, you can work your fanny off for 50 years, but you cannot simply "choose" to be the next Perahia or Argerich.

Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!!
chopin_r_us #2084636 05/18/13 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Originally Posted by Old Man

Well, I had 4 kids, and I was still working a minimum wage job when the 4th was on the way. We had very little, so none of my kids ever received anything special, other than the normal amount of love and encouragement that any parent would provide. And my own upbringing was even less privileged. My dad retired in 1987, and had still never made $10K in a year. So much for the "privilege and opportunity" theory.
We had to live in t' paper bag in t' middle o' road!

ha Touche! OK, no more "personal" crap from me.

Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!!
Old Man #2084666 05/18/13 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Old Man
I've repeatedly used the "initial learning curve" argument (i.e. the existence of prodigies) throughout this discussion, but to no avail. Not only does it never get addressed, it probably never will, because it truly is the coup de grace to the "environmental" argument.


Thems fighten' words! Seriously, though, you can't then use as hypothetical example
Originally Posted by Old Man
If a kid starts lessons at 5 and is playing piano concertos at 8 or 9, there is no combination of parents, practice, piano, pedagogy or perseverance that can produce this result. As you say, there is simply not enough time.
... unless you can show a kid born at 5 years old.

And yes, there is enough time. An enormous development goes on in 5 years, so much is determined.

What's more, you're really talking about 5 years and 9 months.

Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!!
Old Man #2084673 05/18/13 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by wr
I think it is absurd to make the argument that that kid merely worked harder.


I'd just like to repeat that for my part I do not believe that "mere hard work" is the key to brillance.

But when you've got a Kissin (early on in the thread, 6 months ago???!!!) whose mother and big sister played Bach fugues on their piano, then what appears absurd to me is to think that the interesting factor is some freaky inborn gift and not the rich culture transmitted to him. The overwhelming majority of extraordinary classical musicians have backrounds more or less similar to Kissin's.

It is the indifference expressed in this thread to this aspect of the question which to me flies in the face of rational thought.

Last edited by landorrano; 05/18/13 10:59 AM.
Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!!
wr #2084681 05/18/13 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by mermilylumpkin
Originally Posted by Old Man
Originally Posted by mermilylumpkin
I'm a school teacher and I actually see the direct opposite. I have several "gifted" pupils who come into first grade knowing the long division algorithm, etc. etc. and who got that way not because they were born doing long division, but because they had access to a lot of privilege and opportunity.

Well, I had 4 kids, and I was still working a minimum wage job when the 4th was on the way. We had very little, so none of my kids ever received anything special, other than the normal amount of love and encouragement that any parent would provide. And my own upbringing was even less privileged. My dad retired in 1987, and had still never made $10K in a year. So much for the "privilege and opportunity" theory. smile

Originally Posted by mermilylumpkin
I have kids that may well have been labeled as "less gifted" in a prior time or by those with a different approach than me, that tend to end up being quite successful in my class because they don't have someone setting limits on what they're expected to be capable of.

No one should ever set limits on what anyone is capable of. It's not for others to set limits. But the limits do exist, so each of us will discover them on our own. And until we do, I say "The sky's the limit."

Originally Posted by mermilylumpkin
I genuinely believe that they can all be little rocket scientists ...

Not! grin

Originally Posted by mermilylumpkin
Re: the emotional aspect of the argument - But don't you hear yourself touting your son's achievement in the fond, glowing tones of a parent? :-)

Now you're hitting a sore spot. smile Because I hate hearing parents brag about their kids. And I was afraid I'd come off that way, but since I needed an example of what I was talking about, firsthand knowledge seemed the best way to go. Probably a big mistake. Yes, I'm proud of my kids, but not for what they know or what they do, but because of who they are.


As you should be! :-) I am perfectly fine with you using your son as an example, and I have no doubt that he's successful in what he does. I was just trying to point out that I think there's a reason that people cling to their "side" of this argument so vigorously, and I think a lot of it has to do with your beliefs about efficacy and the locus of success and agency. But yeah, parents SHOULD be proud of their kids.

Here's the bottom line for me. If you look at a virtuoso performance of whatever difficult piece, learning that piece resulted from a very long set of procedures: analyzing the piece of music to determine its structure, making choices about phrasing and what voices are aesthetically pleasing to bring out, isolating passages to build the necessary technique or supplementing technique builders, etc. etc. It's a methodical process. And you can break down each of the above mentioned components into even smaller micro tasks if you wanted to. You don't wake up and suddenly "have the ability" to play it. You could argue that pianist A was able to master some scale section 10X faster than pianist B. But then, it's just as likely that you can attribute this to the fact that pianist A built the foundational skills to master it more quickly as a result of doing XYZ Hanon exercises, or making choices during the practice time to practice it in rhythms, or really whatever is the most efficient way to practice it. Learning and mastering music is the result of a series of conscious decisions, and it's not the case that certain brains are just capable of these learning processes and certain brains aren't. People don't learn piano by magic or by having a special brain organ that others don't. They care and are passionate and use their time wisely and put in the time.

It certainly doesn't guarantee fame and fortune and success -- Wasn't it here that someone recently posted the article about all of the superbly talented Juilliard grads waiting tables at age 35? But mastery can be achieved if you put in the time. The reason there are so few masters of a given craft is because very, very few people have the drive and inclination to put in the time, which is not negligible.

You show me a bad pianist that put in 4 hours per day for 20 years, and I'll show you someone who seriously embellishes the accounts of their practice time.


You are ignoring the issue about the initial learning curve, which is about how some very young kids "get it" about music and playing an instrument at what appears to be a miraculous rate, and others who have the same opportunity, don't. When the special ability of the talented ones shows up, they are really not even old enough to have put in all that time and effort that you suggest is necessary. And other kids with equal opportunity to demonstrate the same ability simply don't. And it should be emphasized that playing classical piano is one of the most complex things a person can attempt, so when some tyke turns up having mastered many aspects of it at a ridiculously young age, and no other little kid of that age within a five hundred mile radius even comes close, I think it is absurd to make the argument that that kid merely worked harder. It flies in the face of anything resembling common sense, AFAIAC.






People dislike taking innate ability out of the argument because it stands counter to a lot of long held beliefs, and as I said earlier, ideological positions and sensitivities about why one may or may not have "made it". To me, the reason why certain kids show amazing talent at an early age is because certain kids have an uncanny and uncommon interest and curiosity and obsession with music that results in them pursuing it with a fervor that typical kids do not. To me it's no wonder that kids who would have an overpowering interest in music would do great things early. But intelligence doesn't necessarily factor in at all, and needn't.

The person below mentioned me not really having enough credibility with musical intelligence because I am a school teacher and not a virtuoso piano-student teacher. That point is well and good. But the reality is, I do see, intimately, the ways that natural ability in some form or another impacts children, because I teach them to read, frequently from square one. And my "empirical evidence" here has led up to my belief that circumstance, drive and access are the major factors for succeeding at learning a given task and learning it with mastery.

Hard work obviously isn't the ignition by which precocious young children learn things, because little children don't tend to "slave away" at any given task they don't particularly want to do. I would argue that overwhelming interest and obsession is the driving factor in these cases. Child prodigies don't tend to share a common IQ level, which varies from one to another, but do tend to have shared an absolute fascination with music as children. (See: Asperger's cases mentioned earlier. In regards to the "wasting your breath comment" above, actually your own point has been addressed and equally, I don't see there to have been a strong counter-argument to tihs.)


To clarify, I am not arguing that you can pick a guy off the street and "turn" him into a Martha Argerich. If the fellow has no inclination or interest in the piano, then it is as well as hopeless. What I am arguing is that someone with singular drive and fortuitous circumstances and a dogged work ethic can become a virtuoso pianist (if perhaps an undiscovered virtuoso pianist.) I think perhaps we can stop listing ages of child prodigy debuts. We all agree child prodigies exist, and debuted amazingly early, etc. The question that we're differing on is whence the prodigy-ness.

Anyway, to all those who thinks the talent = time/work argument runs counter to common sense and all established science, there's a sizable body of research backing up the above hypothesis. There's a book called the Talent Code by Daniel Coyle that summarizes some neuroscience research, and there's Eriksson's research, etc. etc. I'm sure you can find plenty of articles from the other side too that talent is genetic and heritable. I just want to mention it as a point to consider for all those who are making this out like it's coming from way out in left field and too unspeakably absurd to consider.

Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!!
wr #2084683 05/18/13 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by keystring
[quote=Old Man]
I think that's demonstrably false. The fact that there are examples of kids who start piano at age 5, are playing with orchestras at 10, attending conservatory at 12, etc., etc., is evidence that something innate is at play. ....

And if that child had no access to a piano? Have any of these children made it without a teacher, assuming there is at least access to a piano? With a poor teacher? With parents who believe it's frivolous and they should concentrate on math? The innate must be coupled with opportunity.
Originally Posted by wr

Obviously the opportunity has to be there - I don't think anyone in this thread has ever suggested otherwise.


There is a certain amount of polarity with an either-or. The part that I quoted has kids playing in an orchestra at 10, etc. as proof of talent. Those same kids might have had a very stringent and possibly narrow education, they might have a careful education together with innate ability, but the kid without opportunity or limited opportunity is left out. A lot of the debate here comes across as either/or. Either there is talent and it all comes together almost by itself, or it's all training and talent or innate ability doesn't exist.

This thread was began by an older student who asks about learning to play very well, and unfortunately uses the problem-fraught "virtuoso". The talent issue isn't completely a red herring, because a teacher has to have something to work with - I don't accept the tabula rasa idea - but the part that probably matters immensely is the training part. Skills, technique, strategy - without destroying the innate if it exists.

Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!!
landorrano #2084686 05/18/13 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by landorrano
Originally Posted by Old Man
I've repeatedly used the "initial learning curve" argument (i.e. the existence of prodigies) throughout this discussion, but to no avail. Not only does it never get addressed, it probably never will, because it truly is the coup de grace to the "environmental" argument.


Thems fighten' words! Seriously, though, you can't then use as hypothetical example

ha OK, put up your dukes!

But seriously, the "hypothetical" is not hypothetical. I'll spare you from digging back through this ginormous thread, and repeat the short list I described earlier.

Martha Argerich - Age 4. Orchestral debut at age 8
Claudio Arrau - Age 5. Could read notes before letters.
Daniel Barenboim - Age 7.
Glenn Gould - Age 4. Passed conservatory final exam with highest marks ever at age 12. Attained "professional standing as a pianist".
Horacio Gutierrez - Orchestral debut at age 11.
Helen Huang - Debuted with Philadelphia Orchestra at age 8.

And there are many more of these "hypotheticals".

And I do agree with your statement that "an enormous development goes on in 5 years", but I don't agree that it will produce a prodigy. It will enhance a prodigy, but not create one. I myself (Oops, look away chopin_r_us! I lied. grin ) was immersed in classical music from the womb onward. My father was a church organist, he taught me to read music, we always had a piano, yada, yada. Yet here I am at 63, still struggling with "Der Dichter Spricht." laugh

Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!!
chopin_r_us #2084700 05/18/13 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Originally Posted by Old Man

Well, I had 4 kids, and I was still working a minimum wage job when the 4th was on the way. We had very little, so none of my kids ever received anything special, other than the normal amount of love and encouragement that any parent would provide. And my own upbringing was even less privileged. My dad retired in 1987, and had still never made $10K in a year. So much for the "privilege and opportunity" theory.
We had to live in t' paper bag in t' middle o' road!


You had a paper bag!? We were raised in a lake!

Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!!
Old Man #2084703 05/18/13 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Old Man


Martha Argerich - Age 4. Orchestral debut at age 8
Claudio Arrau - Age 5. Could read notes before letters.
Daniel Barenboim - Age 7.
Glenn Gould - Age 4. Passed conservatory final exam with highest marks ever at age 12. Attained "professional standing as a pianist".
Horacio Gutierrez - Orchestral debut at age 11.
Helen Huang - Debuted with Philadelphia Orchestra at age 8.


Sure, I remember that post, and I remember my response: they all had very important cultural and musical backrounds.

And it seems that Glenn Gould's mother had decided that he would become Glenn Gould before he was born, maybe even before she layeth with Mr Gould Sr! Sounds like she had the formula, too bad she didn't write a "how to" book ... unless she made a Faustian pact with the devil.


Originally Posted by Old Man
I myself (Oops, look away chopin_r_us! I lied. grin ) was immersed in classical music from the womb onward. My father was a church organist, he taught me to read music, we always had a piano, yada, yada. Yet here I am at 63, still struggling with "Der Dichter Spricht." laugh


Fery interestink. Please lay on the couch, and relax, Mr Man. Now, tell me about your father! smile


Re: VIRTUOSO TECHNIQUE!!!
Damon #2084717 05/18/13 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Damon
Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Originally Posted by Old Man

Well, I had 4 kids, and I was still working a minimum wage job when the 4th was on the way. We had very little, so none of my kids ever received anything special, other than the normal amount of love and encouragement that any parent would provide. And my own upbringing was even less privileged. My dad retired in 1987, and had still never made $10K in a year. So much for the "privilege and opportunity" theory.
We had to live in t' paper bag in t' middle o' road!


You had a paper bag!? We were raised in a lake!
'and full of 'ot gravel for breakfast I suppose?

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