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Is There Such A Thing As Natural Talent?
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coolpinkone
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July 26, 2014 - 12:25 pm
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Good Points Uzi... as if this sort of thing isn't open ended and dependent on many factors. I like your points and your videos.  In the end it all inspires me to keep playing.

I do believe a passion, connects, peers, and personal discipline can help the average Joe reach a high level of playing. (even if one doesn't start as a child).

 As Buzz Light Year says.. "to infinity and beyond." 

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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DanielB
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July 26, 2014 - 3:21 pm
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Uzi, I don't think that anyone has been disagreeing with the point that talent makes a difference.  I know that I have not been disagreeing with that.  But as you have said, it is not enough by itself, and there are other factors involved.

That being said, I will raise a point that I think perhaps may be controversial with the views of some here.

I do not feel that the only reason one should pursue music or the arts is "success".  I feel that music is a form of communication and expression.  There can be pleasure and joy in learning it and playing, even if one does not achieve what some other person may consider "a high degree of skill."

I find it sad that some people allow themselves to be discouraged because they do not feel they have the "talent" necessary to be, within a foreseeable future, an Itzhak Perlman or Hillary Hahn or whatever. 

As if the world should only have a tiny number of musicians, performers, or artists, because only those that someone or other decides "have enough talent" should ever even try?  LOL  That would lead to the eventual conclusion that the only music the world needs would be from one top performer per generation and everyone else needn't bother. 

If one isn't "the next Hemmingway", they shouldn't write at all... If one isn't "the next Rembrandt", then they shouldn't paint... If one is not "the next Bach", then they should never try to compose a piece of music.. If one does not have the voice of a great orator, then they should just shut up and never speak..

I would not care to live in that world.  It might have some great things in it, but it would be very limited in variety, and much good talent would go unused.  It would be a world without Mussorgsky, without Van Gogh.. They never achieved "success" in their own lifetimes.  Many writers, composers, artists, and etc that we consider great in our time never achieved "success" in their own lifetime.

I think it better to pursue music and the arts because one has a love for it and the desire, rather than to close the door on oneself or others because one doubts whether there is sufficient 'talent".  There are many stages and gigs and listeners out there in the world.  Maybe not enough that everyone who tries will "succeed", but far more will be achieved by trying and seeing what one can do than by giving up.

Not saying that talent is not a factor.  But it is one of many factors, and even if "natural talent" may be one that we have little or no control over, we can achieve more by attending to the factors that we can have control over to see what we each can do.

I feel that the "oh if you don't have a huge natural talent, then give it up because you will only fail".. is about the worst attitude one can have about another artist or about ourselves. 

I'll get off the soapbox for now, though.  LOL

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Oliver
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July 26, 2014 - 5:17 pm
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I am amazed that some people begin the study of the violin with the idea that they will be good at it when the reality is otherwise.  I wonder where the PR comes from to promote such illusions?

In addition to limited musical ability, I also am not artistic (my daughter is).  I don't sing very well and no one cried when I quit the choir.  I could never do sculpture (or Play Doh).

I guess I'm pretty average but I've got a lot of company !!!!!!

Cheers

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Fiddlestix
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July 26, 2014 - 8:48 pm
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@DanielB: Very well written, Dannyboy.

 

Ken.

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Uzi
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July 26, 2014 - 10:04 pm
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@DanielB Absolutely.  I don't have the talent required to do anything more than to play for myself and if I can play a song well enough for someone else to recognize it, then that's good.  Even if no one else ever hears a note that I play, that wouldn't bother me even a little. I don't play for the approval of others, only for my own enjoyment. I don't have high expectations and so I won't ever be disappointed.  However, the more I play the less bad I am. 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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Ferret
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July 27, 2014 - 12:32 am
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Oliver said
I am amazed that some people begin the study of the violin with the idea that they will be good at it when the reality is otherwise.  I wonder where the PR comes from to promote such illusions?

I doubt that many people begin to study the violin with the idea that they will 'suck' at it.

And it depends on your definition of 'good at it'. Is it 'Andre Rieu' good or is it sit down by the campfire a play a tune 'well' good? There 'is' a difference.

Much of the PR comes from websites like this one. But on this site we promote the 'ambition' not an 'illusion'

Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of dunno ..... What was I saying???? facepalm

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coolpinkone
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July 27, 2014 - 1:23 am
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@DanielB nice words... I liked your thoughts.

@Ferret ...I agree...I never start anything thinking I will be bad...most of the time I think..Oh I want to do that.. and most of the time after I learn to do it..I do it well. 

However... the violin has humbled me into times where I have wondered if I could get better, will I?  And some of the conversations around that promote the "facts, or likelihood" of me being good, well that hasn't helped the bad days. 

 

And let's face it, I am still not good or even worth anyone wanting to hear me. But weird enough..when I am playing for myself...right now I say.".oh that is pretty, Oh I like that...Oh I got that right" or sometimes I send to a friend or two for some help.  Or post on the forum.   It all helps. 

I am learning along my  journey to listen to my voice and those in my corner.  Not so much the ones that tell me I can't or say my dreams are illusions.  Because NO ONE REALLY KNOWS... not one person knows our destiny as violinists.

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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DanielB
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July 27, 2014 - 7:32 am
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@coolpinkone: Well said, Toni! 

 

I started playing violin because I wanted to try it.  I have continued this far because I enjoy it.  That really is enough reason, right there. 

 

Music in general and especially the violin in particular are really weird for the concern some people seem to have with "making it" or "being a success" with it.  I don't think that is even a sensible concern, early on.  Take at least a couple years to make sure it is something you're likely to stick with and like well enough to put some work into.  Long enough to at least see if you have a bit of talent for it, and if you *still* enjoy it.

Then maybe think about if you'd like to try playing in a band or combo or maybe a small group for whatever genre you are interested in.  See how you do with that, and then decide if you maybe feel you have what it takes to go further with it.

Seriously.  I recall some people who haven't even gotten a violin yet (like where they're still waiting on it to get delivered) worrying about if they are starting "too late in life to ever be a success at it".

Good grief, that's kinda like somebody who has only just signed up for a first-aid class asking if they are too old to become a doctor.  Sure, it can be done.  There are people who have become medical doctors and even specialists rather late in life.  They had to work their tail off, and dedicate a whole lot of time and sink some serious money into getting the necessary education and experience.  Even for people who have the advantages of youth and money, it is not easy. 

I pick that as an example, not only because it is definitely an "expert" field, but because I knew someone years ago who had done it, starting at I think it was 35 yrs old. She took a first-aid class because it seemed like a good thing to know and decided she liked it.  It interested her, and she liked the idea of knowing what to do in emergencies and such.  Took the more advanced class at a local college.  Then took EMT training and worked as an EMT for a while.  Worked her way through nursing classes and certification.  Then, with the encouragement from a doctor whose office she worked in as a nurse, she took her shot at med school.  As I recall, she was about 50 before she graduated.  But she did "make it".  She shared the office of the doctor who had encouraged her for a few years and then moved and started her own private practice.   

I also recall her mentioning more than once that she had never seriously considered becoming a doctor until after she'd become a nurse.  Didn't think she could do it.  Didn't think she could ever afford it.  When she started that journey, the first aid class just looked interesting, and maybe something that might come in useful once in a while.  It wasn't even a dream until someone already expert in the field told her that she did indeed have the talent for it and repeatedly encouraged her to consider working towards it.  At that point she had already become a professional of at least some degree.

I don't think there's anything wrong with trying something, seeing what you can do, and working your way into it.  Just because you are interested.  Just because you enjoy it.  Decide if you're going to try making money at it after you've proven to yourself that you can stick with it and still enjoy it. 

Nothing wrong with dreaming big either, at any point.  But I think it is a bad move to try and evaluate your own talent and/or chances when you are only a year or two in.  At that point, we just don't know enough.  Give it some time and see what you can do.  See if you stick with it and enjoy it.

I think the biggest question that a beginner can consider that can do them good is "Am I going to play today?"  That is the one that will probably have the biggest effect on progress.

As Toni said,

"NO ONE REALLY KNOWS… not one person knows our destiny as violinists."

So give yourself a chance.  Be willing to consider that maybe within a few years, you'll be able to play rather well.  That somewhere down the road people who hear you may even think you are great.  Keep the door open and be willing to accept excellence if you can manage to achieve it.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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coolpinkone
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July 27, 2014 - 3:33 pm
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 @DanielB Very cool about the doctor friend.  🙂  You  never know.

I don't think I will ever make on dime playing the violin, but I am pretty sure I can become good enough to teach and play some of the music that I love so dearly.  I hope I defy the odds.   Notice I don't say I will defy the odds.  I am sensitive to what people say and think and I don't really like to state dreams when I think there is eye rolling going on. ha ha.   Oh hell, maybe I do.  I can be optimistic. It never hurt me in life, it only made tough patches a bit better.

I did read a quote recently.  I also hope this is true and I  hope I get there.

"when you are truly comfortable with who you are, not everyone will like you. But  you  won't care about it one bit."

 So I have been thinking on that quote for a while.  And how to be truly comfortable with myself and my violin playing and then maybe I won't care so much.????

I enjoy this topic and I like to see where people's mind set it. 

@Uzi.... " The more I play, the less bad I am."  I am trying to see if I can get into that mind set. I mean it is a true statement. I don't know why it rings to me that I want to say "the more I play the better I become."   Same thing really.  One just doesn't seem to set right with me. 

In the end we are all violin playing  peers and it is really good to riff of ideas and thoughts.... and encourage. Even being discouraged can give a person a reason to work harder, even if to prove to themselves that they can.

Humm... coffee is empty.. violin is calling me..

  

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Fiddlestix
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July 27, 2014 - 8:31 pm
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IMO, we play to the best of our own ability and if no one likes it, tough s*&#, as long as we have fun. Even if we humor other's along the way then we've succeeded in entertaining someone, somehow.

Just do it and enjoy it while we can.  1st-place  violin-1267

 

Ken.

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MrYikes
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July 27, 2014 - 10:20 pm
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Uzi's words could have been mine,,same thought pattern.

I was practicing some tunes this morning, my wife came in and gave me a kiss saying thanks for the music.  That is success.

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coolpinkone
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July 28, 2014 - 6:06 pm
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@MrYikes omg.. that is success.  I mean wow!!!  🙂

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Ferret
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July 28, 2014 - 9:59 pm
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I don't know how accurate the following is. But I found it interesting.

It's thoughts about the origin of the word talent and its quantitative connotations.

Posted by STERGIOS LOUSTAS on his website http://www.learningfiddle.com

In one of his articles he tells us.

"It is worth commenting on the origin of the word talent and its quantitative connotations. The word talent comes from the ancient Greek word ‘talanton’. The talanton (talentum in Latin) was a unit of measuring weight and money used in ancient Greece. (something like the English pound).

The shift in the meaning of the word can probably be spotted in the parable of talents in the book of Matthew 25:14-30. In this parable a master entrusts his talents to his 3 servants before he goes away for some time. The first two servants receive 5 and 2 talents respectively, and the third one talent. When the master comes back he asks the servants what they did with their talents. While the first two servants doubled their talents to the satisfaction of their master, the third one buried his talent under the ground and did nothing with it.

Then his Lord tells him: You ought therefore to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received back my own with interest. Then he orders the other two servants to…throw that worthless slave into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth…

The obvious moral is that failure to capitalize on our God-given gift results in Judgment."

An interesting little 'side' in looking at talent I think :)

Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of dunno ..... What was I saying???? facepalm

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