Would spoons count? If the bodhran is an instrument then certainly spoons, and bones, ought to count as well. Would spoons be one or two instruments?
I don't believe in talent - at least with regard to musical ability. Is it something like genetic predisposition? I think it's all about desire and discipline.
Well said David!
I too hate that expression.
It makes me mad when I hear punters say oh so & so is so naturally talented.
It's as if the musician is given no credit for all the hard work they put into becoming a good player!
I don't see it that way at all!
A lot of people put a lot of hard work into becoming good players. Years and years of it. Some of them make beautiful music. Some of them make ... well ... something that must be termed "music" for want of a better word. And what makes the difference? Talent!
Talent doesn't involve the capability to sit down at a piano or pick up a concertina for the first time, and make sublime music with it. What it does involve is the potential to turn those hours of learning and practice into music of a quality that cannot be reached by someone less talented who has put in the same effort.
Probably each of us has had the experience of attempting something which came easily to them, and at which success bred success - and other things that, try as they might, they could never excel at, though they might achieve a certain competence. We have a talent for one thing, and little or no talent for another.
Talent is the factor that explains the delta between a mediochre player and an excellent player. If they hadn't worked hard, they wouldn't be players at all, so it can't be the hard work that makes the difference, can it?
"Desire and discipline"? Phooey! If you're 5'6" and weigh 7 stone, you'll never make a good oarsman, no matter how much you desire to be one and discipline yourself . You might make a good cox, though!
sorry, i've never heard any scientific evidence for talent. all i've seen is a correlation between hours spent, and the way the hours were spent. (edit: as david levine above says!)
just because someone spends a lot of time working at something, it does not mean they work well. there are many factors involved, including mindfulness (quantified by harvard psychologist Helen Langer), "flow" (a phenomenon proposed by psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi), self-honesty, time committed, and working beyond your comfort zone. an article by scientific american (http://www.sciam.com...the-expert-mind
) elaborates briefly on the idea that the best chess masters are not inherently different than amateurs, except that the time they spent (which is a lot) is spent past their comfort zone.
people who spend 40 years and never get good, sad to say, are using their time poorly. they are doing several things. first of all, they are not paying attention to how they are practicing, playing, and thinking about music, and if they are, they are doing so very little. one aspect of mindful attention (as quantified and extrapolated by dr. helen langer) is searching for new perspectives. sorry to say, someone who is no good after a long time, probably does not try to find that they are no good--they are complacent with their playing ability. on another forum, a member posted clips, asking for help on how to get better. i tried to help him, and he got defensive with me, saying he didnt need to get better. i told him he was playing out of time, and then after emailing me a few times, he decided i was not worth listening to, and stopped talking to me. the funny thing is, when you look at the first recordings he sent me, and then the newest ones, there is a huge difference, which only occurred over about 3 weeks. he just wasnt willing to accept that he wasnt as good as he thought he was, and he wasnt willing to learn how to count better to learn that he was out of time. someone like that will never appear to be talented.
for example, if you every day took a recording of a tune you wanted to play by a "professional", recorded yourself, and compared them, you would get better. how many of us do this on a daily basis? i often do not like doing it, because it makes me feel bad--my playing is unrhythmic, out of time, unmusical, and rushed. yet, if i were to do it, this would go away. please dont tell me that my playing does not get better because i am not talented--that is insulting. i know i am not talented, but even more so, i know i am unwilling to get better most of the time. i also have an innately bad sense of timing, yet have worked on it so much (with help from james kelly), that now my sense of time and rhythm is better than my little brother, who very early in school was dubbed "the human metronome." there are innate differences (which i doubt are heritable/genetic), but they are in the end, worthless. on a scientific level, the idea of talent is a joke. you cannot prove something like that is innate/genetic. you can prove that over an entire population a particular attribute is a percentage heritable (which means the phenotype/behavior is from their parents/genes), but even the most heritable things hardly ever reach a heritability of 70% (most traits which are considered heritable are at 30% to 50%), which means for an entire population, 30% of the measured trait are due to environment. this does not mean that 30% of a trait which is 70% heritable is due to the environment for a particular person--you can not split up someones traits, or predict whether it is from the environment or from their genes. if talent had a heritability of 70%, that would mean that 70% of people were talented because their family has these traits, and 30% are talented due to environment. i have not seen the numbers for the heritablity of musical "talent," but i'm sure it's at the 20% to 50% heritability range at the most (and likely much less), which would mean that musical talent is still mostly due to environmental influences.
Edited by david_boveri, 15 October 2008 - 11:56 PM.