An interesting (even if dated) article...

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by Andy Mopley, Jun 9, 2021.

  1. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    fhm555 and Lee Moses like this.
  2. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    I notice that the term "skilled instrumentalist" was used often... never "good musician." The distinction is palpable but hard to put into words.

    The most valuable piece of that article IMO is this:
    "A person who is termed as lacking music talent is said to have the following characteristics:
    • They lack a sense of rhythm – difficulty in coordinating beats.
    • They are tone deaf – they cannot notice off pitch melody or whether a melody is off tone.
    • They are poor at collaborating with other instrumentalists."
    It got me to thinking about some of the people I know... and about how I have music talent but am not such a "skilled instrumentalist."
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  3. eerbrev


    Dec 6, 2009
    Ottawa, ON, CAN
    Tenacity is key. Consistency is key.

    Everyone needs a base level of musicality, however, if you're not as "talented" but you work every day to improve, you'll pass over the people who are more talented but don't work as hard as you do.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021 at 10:40 AM
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  4. Dogfightgiggle


    Mar 4, 2020
    I think everyone has something special that they can offer as a musician, it’s just building the other skills up to highlight that innate thing. For me it’s always been the writing side of things that comes most naturally (or at least pouring myself into that kind of work comes naturally).

    Unfortunately, I think many music educators are ineffective at teaching students who lack developed time, pitch, or tone production understandings. Sort of like how great athletes tend to make poor coaches.

    For instance, I had a crap ear for years which my teachers would either never mention or just say, “It will come with time.” Finally, after picking up the bass (where there’s nowhere to hide a bad ear) my new teacher gave me a few exercises, a solfege book, and the suggestion that I pray to god to find the strength to figure it out because that was the kind of mettle it was going to take.
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  5. Jim Dedrick

    Jim Dedrick Jim Dedrick Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2016
    Port Deposit, MD
    Well I guess the obvious statement is that we are not all equal with raw talent and hard work trumps all. I think that is very true.
  6. I read "skilled instrumentalist" as being technically very proficient on their chosen instrument, even playing in tune, in time and all the notes. To be recognised by your peers as a "good musician" is a higher accolade. It says that you are using these skills to communicate and express a lot more than just the dots.

    I agree with the basic need for Dedication, Passion and Determination regardless of how much talent a person has. However I see a person's degrees and areas of talent as a series of spectrums, not as absolute generalities of "talent vs no-talent". I found the article difficult to read without gagging.
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  7. I don't believe in such a thing as "talent".
  8. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    Have you never observed a group of beginners?
    neilG likes this.
  9. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    As opposed to believing in what then, SP?
  10. Yes, my day job is teaching middle school band :D

    I find that "talent" is mostly a combination of privilege & opportunity. Anybody could become a "skilled instrumentalist" if they're taught in a good way that works for them.
    jj.833 likes this.
  11. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    Those can certainly prove helpful, but they are external to any meaningful definition of talent. Certainly some people have a more natural aptitude for music than do others. Just as some people have a more natural aptitude for math or for athletics than do others.

    It sounds like you're in agreement with the article, then.
    AGCurry likes this.
  12. Andy Mopley

    Andy Mopley

    Sep 24, 2011
    Thanks for the interesting discussion, everyone. I suppose, to sum up what I am reading (and understanding) is that a) dedication to your instrument and devoting the time to practice will nurture any natural talent you have and make you better; b) humility - there is always, and will be someone better. But if you want to better yourself, and keep growing, then expose yourself to new music and surround yourself with people who remind you why you started; and c) passion: as I read somewhere here once ""To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable." Maybe the latter is what sets some people apart, somewhat regardless of overall technical capability. Thanks again for the debate, and here's hoping hasn't taken too much time from Mr Potts practice (how's that coming along, David?) ;-)

    Regards to all
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  13. Happy Steve

    Happy Steve Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2007
    Mel-burn, Ore-stralia
    Is an individual's neurophysiology considered to be talent? I know huge differences have been recorded between football players - in tests performed as a baseline measurement in case they suffer concussion(s) later. Reaction time is one parameter that comes to mind.
    I know I will never become a very fast player, and would not contemplate taking up violin or lead guitar because I am aware of the 'speed limits' imposed by my nerves and muscles. Some are born sprinters and some are marathon runners. I am more the latter.
    I have a passion for playing bass and I have come a long way, but as Dirty Harry says 'a good man knows his limitations'
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  14. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    I've always expressed this as "I'm a heavy truck, not a sports car." I'm practicing a Rossini sonata with a 16-bar bass solo that's all 16th notes, and ... I'm challenged.
    Garagiste likes this.
  15. I have always claimed to be a Musicians' Labourer, not a Real Musician. Same difference!
    AGCurry likes this.
  16. So, it finishes with,
    "Call AMI today for music lessons that can change your life"
    Looks like an infomercial.
    I'm out.
    Passion drives determination. Dedication is time dependent.
    Carry on Jedi warriors!
    Jim Dedrick likes this.
  17. Dogfightgiggle


    Mar 4, 2020
    Yeah, I didn’t get past the first paragraph honestly. Haha
  18. (I didn't read the first paragraph)
  19. Thanks for the formulation. I feel the same. I'd add persistence (or endurance?).
  20. ctrlzjones


    Jul 11, 2013
    Recalls a scene from a documentary about about a west african balafone orchestra. They explained how play with the “interlocking” technique where the melody is not played by one player but merely coming together as a result from the patterns played by everybody. The guy on the bass instrument refused to be interviewed as he didn’t consider himself a real musician…
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