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Serge88 Offline OP
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https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.566373/full

This is an interesting research, here's a few excerpts,

"Thus practice, by itself, does not make a prodigy"

"...who have been described as possessing a “rage to master,” or a drive fueling their interest and capacity to practice for extended periods of time."

"There was no indication that prodigies, as a group, possessed more autistic traits than other musicians."

"Around half of the prodigies reported having absolute pitch,"

"Obviously, amount of practice is no guarantee of quality, and in fact there was considerable variability of early practice even in prodigies..."

"We found no evidence of superior intelligence or exceptional working memory in prodigies compared to other musicians, "



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Pretty much describes autism spectrum, no ? As in a problem with the diagnostic, not the people.

Autism spectrum is very very broad. and it's not well defined, the DSM is basically junk and fluid in many of its criteria.

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The piano virtuoso who was diagnosed as Autistic "Derek Paravicini" (a distant relative of Prince Charles' wife Camilla Parker). He can reproduce just about any piece of music in any style after listening to it once.

Nobody in my family circle has reached that level of playing. A friend of the family was in Suzuki piano. We heard him play his portable keyboard in our living room and he hit every note perfectly. Not sure if he has perfect pitch. A few years later heard the young man play at a funeral service. As good as his playing was, don't think he came close to somebody like Alma Deutscher who composed her own music at a young age. Suzuki students are taught to play by the Books. They can imitate music and play the repertoire pieces at a high level but nothing out of the ordinary. His mother said that the pieces he played he worked on with a teacher including "Minuet in G". Many of us can achieve a high level of playing through hard work.

A prodigy needs to be more than just perfecting his assigned pieces. He needs to be able to move ahead on his own and decide the pieces suitable to play even without a teacher. I'm an average player but I'd spend hours in front of the computer arranging music. There are all sorts of people who enter talent shows on TV. Many play instruments to a high level and with originality. Some play their own arrangements while others can play several instruments simultaneously like piano with a drum machine on the side.

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With a sample size of only 35 I would take that research with a big grain of salt.

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Originally Posted by EinLudov
Pretty much describes autism spectrum, no ? As in a problem with the diagnostic, not the people.

No no no. "There was no indication that prodigies, as a group, possessed more autistic traits than other musicians." "... autism does not seem to characterize most musical prodigies."


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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by EinLudov
Pretty much describes autism spectrum, no ? As in a problem with the diagnostic, not the people.

No no no. "There was no indication that prodigies, as a group, possessed more autistic traits than other musicians." "... autism does not seem to characterize most musical prodigies."

I'm saying there are significant issues with the diagnostic criteria, the spectrum bleeds into alot of things which today we know may be unrelated.

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Originally Posted by EinLudov
I'm saying there are significant issues with the diagnostic criteria, the spectrum bleeds into alot of things which today we know may be unrelated.

This is a piano forum, which is why I did not address the second part of your comment, which has no relation with playing the piano or with piano prodigies. Catch me on another forum, and we could discuss this, or for instance borderline personality disorder. But not here.


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Serge88 Offline OP
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Another thing,

"Prodigy status was reached at a mean age of 10.3 years (SD = 1.8; range = 7–13), after a mean of 5.4 years of musical experience (SD = 1.3; range = 3–8) and an accumulated average amount of practice of 2,364 h"

I'm sure I have 2,364 hours of practice and I'm not a prodigy only an intermediate pianist. That's the difference between children and old people, we learn at a slow pace.



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Originally Posted by Serge88
Another thing,

"Prodigy status was reached at a mean age of 10.3 years (SD = 1.8; range = 7–13), after a mean of 5.4 years of musical experience (SD = 1.3; range = 3–8) and an accumulated average amount of practice of 2,364 h"

I'm sure I have 2,364 hours of practice and I'm not a prodigy only an intermediate pianist. That's the difference between children and old people, we learn at a slow pace.

What do you define as 'old'? Or at least, the point at which learning becomes considerably slower? I started as an adult at 27 years old, and based on my experience learning drums (different, I know), my learning is much more accelerated with piano.

Perhaps for me, the only difference may be that as a child I was more willing to brute force certain practices (lets say scales or arpeggios, but I was playing drums), versus as an adult wanting to be more intellectually stimulated by actual music.

Reading this makes me think of Trifonov, who Sergei Babayan discussed as having an unbelievable drive to practice, experiment, and go to the highest degree for every practice suggestion he provided him. Very interesting. The secret to success is hard work (for most).

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I consider 59 years to be old.



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Originally Posted by Serge88
I consider 59 years to be old.
Well than I qualify as old.


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Does the article discuss the most obvious trait prodigies have...musical intelligence?

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Originally Posted by Ghostnotes
The secret to success is hard work (for most).
I think by far the most important factor to become a child prodigy or outstanding adult professional pianist is talent. It's not enough but without it no amount of work will produce much results.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Ghostnotes
The secret to success is hard work (for most).
I think by far the most important factor to become a child prodigy or outstanding adult professional pianist is talent. It's not enough but without it no amount of work will produce much results.

I’m pretty sure the talent myth has been proven to be just that, a myth. There’s no magical thing that people just have. I think it’s typically just an excuse “they have talent” but really they just bust their but and make it their life and sacrifice a lot. Yes some will learn faster than others in certain areas.

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Originally Posted by Sebs
I’m pretty sure the talent myth has been proven to be just that, a myth. There’s no magical thing that people just have. I think it’s typically just an excuse “they have talent” but really they just bust their but and make it their life and sacrifice a lot. Yes some will learn faster than others in certain areas.

Where has it been proven? If by that you mean that "talented" person who has never done something that requires skill and out of nothing (no training, no practice) does that very well like August Rush, I tend to agree. But I do believe talent has a play for people that excel at something, added to a LOT of training and practice.

Last edited by EVC2017; 05/08/21 07:19 AM.

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The end of the day we all have talent to some degree. Many of us learned piano from a teacher to a high degree. And we play by the book (working through our assigned repertoire).

Recently I came across the TV footage of Tokio Myers in "Britain's Got Talent" 2017. The young man got a keyboard from his father and the first day played with it for hours. The man has a passion for music. Due to financial difficulties, waited until he got a scholarship before having formal music training. Many of us are lucky that our parents could afford to music lessons when we're young. However, not everybody would look forward to having piano lessons. I remembered years ago our family got a Yamaha upright. Nobody at home touched it until the first lesson. In my childhood days, everybody in the family thought we needed guidance from a teacher to do things properly. Learning on your own was not as common.

TM not only play piano at an advanced level, but his playing has originality.


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Originally Posted by Sebs
I’m pretty sure the talent myth has been proven to be just that, a myth. There’s no magical thing that people just have. I think it’s typically just an excuse “they have talent” but really they just bust their but and make it their life and sacrifice a lot. Yes some will learn faster than others in certain areas.

I don't know where you get this. You are only making assertions without proof or reference.

The research that this thread is about proves that talent is a real thing. Read it. A lot of the prodigies did not practice more then their peers. Some of them only 400 hours in 5 years.

"For example, after 2.5 years of training, the prodigy Sarah Chang was capable of learning to play the Mendelssohn concerto on the piano whereas the typical pianist would only be capable after 10 years of training (Gagné and McPherson, 2016)."

"Some prodigies did not practice more than their peers (Figure 4) and nevertheless reached higher levels of achievement."

"Visualization of practice between 6 and 14 years old by individual (Figure 4) shows a large variability in the prodigies group, with around half of participants practicing as much as their age-matched peers, and half practicing more."

If you have any experience with children then you know that talent is a thing. It's so blatantly obvious.

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EVC2017 and ErfurtBob, I fully agree.

The true myth is that you need to have a lot of talent in order to learn to play the piano beautifully and expressively. You don't. Without much talent, you need good instruction and practise a lot, and then you can achieve that goal.
But hard work alone is not enough to become a prodigy. You need talent for that.


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What is talent ? What is the definition of talent ?

Some people who don't play piano tell me I have talent. No, I don't, I only work hard and I have a passion and a desire to succeed.



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Originally Posted by Serge88
What is talent ? What is the definition of talent ?

I don't have a definition, but I can think of several components of talent for playing the piano
* finger agility and control - the capacity to play fast and still have control over the dynamics
* high processing speed of your brain
* good working memory
* good long-term memory
* auditory discrimination ability
* a good feeling for rhythm
* musical sensitivity
* general intelligence

I have no sources, I'm just thinking freely.

For starters, I have poor fine motor skills. It took me ages to develop an adequate handwriting. Unsurprisingly, I need a lot of time to practise the technical aspects of a piece. I can see other students who acquire this much more easily. So, a clear lack of talent for "finger agility and control".


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