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Skill vs. Talent.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Brendan, May 25, 2001.

  1. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Well, not really an debate as the title would suggest, but I would like express this little nagging thought that's been eating away at me all day (since I saw a concert today during lunch at school; part of a reading rock thing).

    I have skill, not talent. I've been playing for a couple of years now, and I listen/watch other guys who have been playing either the same amount of time, or less than me, and seem o be farther along in the skill/dexterity/ability area. And here I am, not as talented. Now, I do have skill, I work my butt off, and as a result, I'm not to bad, but I've got no talent. No real natural ability for progression. I do, but just because I work hard, really hard.

    I've really got no natural ability as far as I'm concerned. Which is unnerving, because I play bass as a choice, not a force. I want to be a bassist (as opposed to many who get "stuck" on bass), and I still just seem to be behind the curve a bit. Which is irksome to see guys that have talent go out there and do better than me, who have only been playing about half the time. Or, at least, the seem to do better. They might not. Could just be in my head.

    Just me venting I guess. Don't worry, I'm good enough. Like I said, I've got skills. I can play pretty darned well, and I'm actually sought out on occasion...but it really is quite frustrating as a person to have a lack of talent. I think my friend Matt summed it up when he said (of me in my brief stint as a guitarist) "You can become the most technical guitar player in the world, but that doesn't mean you have talent."

    That's the way I feel. Thanks for listening.
  2. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Maybe you're not taking as many chances as the other players that you mention? Perhaps you're thinking inside the box, when you should be thinking outside the box? It just may be that you're being a little too hard on yourself, they maybe saying the same thing about themselves when they see or hear you play.
  3. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Ok...well, I really hope your right on the latter part there Phil...about the fore, I'd have to wonder what you mean by chances. If you wanna talk bands, I'v been in I think 7 bands already, some some super skilled musicians if you're talking about musical chances. And as for that darned box...I dunno. I think I'm outside of it, or at least by most peoples standards.

    Maybe I'm just tired, and am having a bad day. But, as an up, I'm everyones favorite songwriter, so I guess it evens out.
  4. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    Talent is getting the most out of the skill that you have, whether you've been playing 10 months, or 10 years. You can become more skillful through practice and lessons etc..., but talent (IMO) comes from the natural ability that you were born with combined with all your other lifetime experiences...

    (This is starting to sound a little sappy...)
  5. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    that's what I'm talking about. IMHO I've got skill, not talent. Course, maybe I'm just stupid, and really just don't realize I've got something. I sure hope so...wait, did Jaco think he sucked?;):D

    And yes. Yes it started to...
  6. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Just gotta say that it's not HOW MUCH you practice, its HOW you practice. I someone is too sit and play Godsmack songs all day everyday for a year and another is to practice 3 octave diatonic scales for a year (that'd get a tad bit repetative), the latter is going to be the better play by far.

    Don't practice half assed, EVER, and you'll see your improvement skyrocket.

    I believe it should also be mentioned that private lessons are a must, in my opinion.
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    As a person who makes his living teaching and playing music, and as a certified CRUSTY OLD FART, I humbly offer the following observations/suggestions:

    1) No offense, but you're still only 16 (Your birthdate is exactly 20 years and one day after mine). Give yourself a break. At the risk of sounding like a line from some old cheesy Shelly Winters movie, you have your whole musical life ahead of you...and from your present vantage point, you have no idea how good you might still become.

    2) You are what you eat. Do you take lessons? Do you transcribe? Do you listen to music that is way over your head and try to learn to play it? If not - or if only marginally - try some of these things. They can open a lot of doors.

    3) Don't worry about how you compare to others...it doesn't do you any good. I'm a pretty good bassist, and in 5 years, I'll be a better bassist. If I look up and find myself standing next to Stanley Clarke, do I suddenly suck? Of course not. If I look over and find that I'm standing next to Fieldy, am I suddenly a genius? Well,....uh...hmmmm,...ummm...No. No, for god's sakes, of course not! You are what you are regardless of who else lives on your street. Think about where you've been and where you're going. Everything else is beside the point.

    (End of rant.....man, it must be getting close to bedtime...)
  8. Some wise and interesting poins made here (I mean it).

    I've come back to bass playing after 25 years off. I wasn't very good then and I'm not very good now. Well, actually, I'm better now than I was then...

    So, from another crust old fart to a young guy starting out I just say...

    :D:D Make damned sure you enjoy your music :D:D

    Best of luck

    Rockin John
  9. What box?

    As far as talent vs skill...

    I think talent is overrated. Sure, some are blessed with musical talent. Big deal. There's nothing a talented musician can do that you couldn't with enough desire and diligence.

    Passion.....now that's where its at. Are you a passionate bassist Brendan? By this I mean passionate about making music AND passionate about the things your music means to you.

    If you've got passion, you're set. If you just have talent and aren't really passionate about making music, chances are you will reach the level of your inate talent and fail to progress afterward.

    Be passionate. Ambivalence is smothering the world.

  10. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    The "Box" is what you always do, your norm, your everyday thing, your routine, your riggamarow(sp). It's operating in a way where you don't challenge yourself, where you don't take chances. I threw this out there as a thought provoker.
  11. I know what you meant. I was attempting to illustrate your point further, actually.

    thinking outside the box is one thing. ignoring the box altogether is even better. :)

  12. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Hey Friday...excellent point you have there. I think that about cured my self doubt on the spot! Seriously.

    I'm very passionate about my music, be it the bass I'm playing or the band I'm in. I guess that's part of what drives me to improve and elevate myself.

    And Phil, I was always under the assumption it was "Riggamaroll":D
  13. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    I knew I botched that one, didn't have time to consult the spelling oracle. ;)
  14. Enter Mr. Smarty pants
    Mr. Smarty pants:
    You called?
    Oh. Bugger. He got to it first.
    Oh well.

    Exit Mr. Smarty pants

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