Piano talent - Does it matter for beginners?

Explore a new topic relevant to piano education monthly

Moderator: Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Thu Jul 19, 2007 12:18 pm

Many people will come into the teaching piano studio with the (often unasked) question in mind: Does my child (or do I) have "talent"? Yet, anyone who has given or taken lessons knows that learning or teaching piano requires lots of hard work and determination. So, is there such a thing as native talent in beginners and how important is it in one's ultimate success at learning to play? Does talent matter at all for the beginning student or does success in lessons relate directly to how hard and effectively the student works to learn?



Edited By Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor on 1185200997
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
User avatar
Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
Site Admin
 
Posts: 994
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 6:46 pm
Location: Rio Rancho, NM USA

Postby jamma » Fri Jul 20, 2007 7:01 am

I think you have to split "talent" into several subsections. For the beginner, musical talent will have little impact on early progress - what you first use is hand-eye coordination. Having good hand-eye(/ear) coordination to begin with can take you pretty far, but as most other things it can be trained.

To judge how talented a beginner is on a _musical_ instrument is impossible.. you use so many skills that aren't introduced equally, and early on a strong one can compensate for a weak one.

By far the most important aspect for the beginner is interest and dedication :)
jamma
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2007 7:50 pm
Location: finland

Postby 108-1121887355 » Fri Jul 20, 2007 10:05 am

After meeting five new students this week, this is a fresh topic. I know I am pleased when I find that students have a good ear and hear the need for sharps and flats right away when playing early rote pieces. I think a 'natural talent' helps at the beginning to give them a good feeling about learning piano and carries them along all through their lessons.

This said, hard work, of course is the final key. Over the years, I have had some 'naturally talented' students, who learn fast, but do not work at it to polish their music. Sometimes it is the one who works hardest, who does better.

As with all students, there is no 'rule', but I think having this, what I call, 'innate ability' is a plus. With this, usually the student will want to work hard to get the most from the music. :D
User avatar
108-1121887355
 

Postby Stretto » Sat Jul 21, 2007 1:06 pm

Passion for learning, for example passion for learning piano, I feel plays in a great deal. If you really love something, you're going to work hard regardless of talent or lack of talent. It is possible to have talent and not absolutely love piano.

I'm reminded of a study I once read about: A study was done testing the I.Q.'s to determine differences in intellengence between chess masters and grand chess masters. No differences between I.Q.'s were found. The only difference noted was that grand chess masters had more passion for the game.

I hear others brag about the interest their child shows musically at a very young age, perhaps singing a lot and having good pitch naturally, being able to find tunes on the piano, making up their own songs all without any formal training or work from parents. The child may have more talent or natural ability than others but doesn't everyone have innate within them an interest in music? I haven't met anyone who would say they hate music. Perhaps a child who loves to sing, make up songs, find tunes on the piano is showing an interest in music and that interest should be cultivated and allowed to grow.




Edited By Stretto on 1185045327
Stretto
 
Posts: 745
Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 10:34 pm
Location: Mo.

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Mon Jul 23, 2007 8:37 am

Following along the line of Stretto's comment for a moment, let me add that we get lots of questions at PEP from people who want us to tell them if their child is talented or what the signs of "talent" are. As Stretto implies, those are probably the wrong questions. Perhaps people should ask themselves, "Does my child have an interest in music and the piano?" If so, they should encourage the interest. The sad thing is that some parents will pull their kids out of lessons after one semester, if the children don't evince talent to the level of the parents' expectations. :(



Edited By Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor on 1185288127
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
User avatar
Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
Site Admin
 
Posts: 994
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 6:46 pm
Location: Rio Rancho, NM USA

Postby 108-1121887355 » Fri Aug 03, 2007 3:41 pm

Tell those parents to forget "talent" and look at the life long pleasure music will bring, be it piano, singing or any instrument.
User avatar
108-1121887355
 

Postby Tranquillo » Wed Sep 19, 2007 7:13 am

Thats one REAL big problem as a young piano student I have with my father. I currently take lessons and practicw quite a bit. Practicing with me ... often involved slowly going over bars over and over again just to get it right and once I get it right I try hard to practice till I cant get it wrong. I play very slowly at first hands seperatly and together and refining and adding detail along the way. (as well as techincal work as well)

With him having to put up with my continous practicing ... (the same thing over and over) and the going to his mates house and hearing them as well as their kids play he as often told me to quit lessons because his mates and kids are more 'talented' and I should be born with it I dont "have it".

As a young child I used to take piano lessons I stopped them and started again recently as a late teenager (my current teacher commends heavily on the keen quality in me which makes me feel very much encouraged) . When I was young my dad hardly payed attention to my playing and practicing. He nagged be to practice but never really commended or said I was "good" atleast. He hasnt even really met my piano teacher yet or even sat into at one of the lessons I had over the years

Thing is I LOVE piano. As far as talented ... it almost seems like a negative word now ... Over the years I have developed a love for the music more than ever. My quesiton is out to you teachers what or how do you tell these parents about thier children that talent is really passion? Do you say he does have talent ? or - He has a passion that is where the talent is ... do you bother explaining to them?

Please help I know this might sound personal but am trying my hardest to tell my dad that I have music and the piano ... ok ... I am no prodigy but its not the talent its the interest and the passion. I have tried talking to him many times telling him that his favorite pianist Richard Claderman took time to polish up his skills and get were he is now ... but my dad still denies it and says Richard Clayderman has got talent ( on the other hand to my dad i dont have talent and should give up) ... My dad is not musical and does not understand that playing well doesnt just spring up over night it takes time to progress and talent does not just spring up over night.

PLease help I am running out of ideas ... it is exceedingly difficult especially when he hears other people's kids play (not practice). Do I tell my teacher to tell him about such a 'talent issue' teachers, parents, students tell me!

My quesiton is out to you teachers what or how do you tell these parents about thier children that talent is really passion? Do you say he does have talent ? or - He has a passion that is where the talent is ... do you bother explaining to them?




Edited By Becibu on 1190207854
Music is organised sound
User avatar
Tranquillo
 
Posts: 465
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:43 pm

Postby 112-1182392787 » Wed Sep 19, 2007 7:27 pm

Hi Becibu. I'm both a music student and parent to a student who is now a music major at university, so I've worn both sets of shoes. As much as your father's view bothers you, the most important thing right now is for you to know where you stand with music. Actually there are two sets of issues. Of course we want our family members and friends to support us, show interest, and see our endeavours in a positive light. We can't help having feelings about that.

The other part is how you see yourself and music. You love music, you seem to have a serious attitude toward it and practicing in a mature manner. I would let go of the issue of talent, but broach the whole subject with your teacher. Where does he see you, and what does he have to say about the matter? Music is also something we do. What are your goals? What do you want to do with this music, and how do you end up doing it? What are your weaknesses and strengths; how do you exploit your strengths and strengthen your weaknesses? What can your teacher tell you about piano playing, musicianship to give you a broader picture of yourself and your art? In that way maybe you can debunk the aura of this magical potion called talent. It seems as if you are being led to believe that you only have the right to pursue music if you own this potion, and also perhaps the message that you are not a good enough pianist because you are missing that potion. The person to address that again is your teacher, or other musicians.
User avatar
112-1182392787
 

Postby Tranquillo » Thu Sep 20, 2007 12:18 am

Thanks for the reply I like your analogy of that 'magic potion'. As far as what my current teacher says he says I am a keen student. He says I am musical in that I can pick up concepts and work things out by hearing them. He hasnt mentioned where he 'sees' me but he does preparing me for what I do desire. With my music I dont really know where I do what to go with it but I do want to go somwhere ... I was thinking maybe music education - teaching or music therapy.

With this talent issue to drop it I would have to agree... I am just wondering if I can make it clear to my father in anyway that this 'magic potion' is not what it is all about its my love. Are you saying I should get my teacher involved or dont worry about what my father says?
Music is organised sound
User avatar
Tranquillo
 
Posts: 465
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:43 pm

Postby 112-1182392787 » Thu Sep 20, 2007 12:37 am

With this talent issue to drop it I would have to agree... I am just wondering if I can make it clear to my father in anyway that this 'magic potion' is not what it is all about its my love. Are you saying I should get my teacher involved or dont worry about what my father says?
I think in this case don't worry about what your father says in regards to what musicianship is about because he is not an expert but your teacher is. Whether or not you have talent should be a non-issue. You are not trying to achieve talent. You are trying to learn how to play the piano well.

I wanted to add that talent contains its own handicaps. There is a saying that every strength contains a weakness, and every weakness contains a strength.




Edited By pianissimo on 1190270420
User avatar
112-1182392787
 

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:46 am

Becibu wrote:With him having to put up with my continous practicing ... (the same thing over and over) and the going to his mates house and hearing them as well as their kids play he as often told me to quit lessons because his mates and kids are more 'talented' and I should be born with it I dont "have it".

Becibu,

I don't know what your father's specific objections are, beyond what you've said, but you might consider a digital piano for practice. That would remove some of the sound irritation for your dad, since you can practice with earphones on that cut the speaker output entirely. I don't know about Australia, but, in the U.S., you can get used digital pianos very cheaply through classified ads and garage sales. Don't let anybody's assessment of your talent get in the way. There are a number of famous pianists who were told they had "no talent" at some point in their careers. :)
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
User avatar
Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
Site Admin
 
Posts: 994
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 6:46 pm
Location: Rio Rancho, NM USA

Postby 112-1182392787 » Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:10 am

Excellent thought. I started with a keyboard, and that is definitely inadequate. However, now I have a touch sensitive electric (digital?) piano, and bought a good quality set of ear phones. I can practice in the middle of the night and nobody is the wiser, and have done so. The ear phones allow a lot more shades of sound come through than you get through the speakers.
Don't let anybody's assessment of your talent get in the way. There are a number of famous pianists who were told they had "no talent" at some point in their careers.

Hear,hear!




Edited By pianissimo on 1190297697
User avatar
112-1182392787
 

Postby M&m » Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:09 am

pianissimo wrote:I wanted to add that talent contains its own handicaps. There is a saying that every strength contains a weakness, and every weakness contains a strength.

I agree with pianissimo...my son may have what is called a splinter skill in music. He is able to memorize a song within the 3rd time playing it (like Rhondo Alla Turca). He has absolute pitch where he can recognize any note on the piano without reference. He was transposing before the teacher taught it. He gets excited to learn new skills like a trill or different chords.

But with all that he also has trouble in communicating and social skills which causes behavior problems because of being on the autism spectrum.

He gets frustrated like we all do because he can't get his fingers to do what his head hears and hides under the piano.

I love listening and encouraging him but would give it all up because I know the hard time he will have in life. He still has feelings and does not like to be teased. He wants friends like everyone else but just doesn't really connect with them.

He was given the Piano skill (in my belief) to make up for what he lacks.
User avatar
M&m
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2007 5:59 pm
Location: USA

Postby M&m » Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:34 am

one more thing....people who have the desire and passion for something go furthest in life. In my son's case...music fulfills a function for him. He has no more desire for piano than the next thing he does. If you ask him what he wants to do he will say Doctor, but that is only because someone else said that and he is echoing it. When he watches any doctor shows he runs and hides.
He can play the piano because he is echoing what he has heard no more. He has trouble with songs not played and he has to figure out the notes. He procrastinates because it is hard and draining. If he hears it previously he can play it easily. He is a lot further behind on music theory more appropriate to his age level.
User avatar
M&m
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2007 5:59 pm
Location: USA

Postby Tranquillo » Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:40 pm

Thankyou for that. See the thing is sometimes I wonder if my father is just saying I dont have 'talent' or if he just hates me taking music lessons.
After watching a 9 year old play Richard Clayderman he told me that that 9 year old should be teaching me... I couldnt really comprehend that.
He has a friend who is mad on the music and a skilled musicain but sadly doesnt share it with his children as his friend never made it anywhere in the music industry (he is a truck driver) and doenst want his kids to be like that.

After hearing upon this sometimes I wonder if my father is thinking the same way. At the same time he does say that I am not like his 'friend' that has talent. Or Richard Clayderman. I just think the deal is mainly because he hears me play the same bars again and again when I do practice. He straight out bluntly said 'you sound horrible'. I dont really think he realises that it takes much patience and practice to play. He hears others play really well but he doesnt hear them practice.

Dr. John Zeigler ... the digital piano thing is a good idea. Yes they are quite cheap here in Australia but I love my acoustic one because of the live sound ... I am thinking I should practice when he is not home.

He wants me to do something in science. He says a career music in any form is useless . I am very good at history and english in school scoring high marks and even so he wants me to do something in science. It doesnt have to be academic it has to be science according to him.

He tells me to quit after every piano lesson because he says I am too mad on it and I dont study enough at school. I was confused by this so I showed him the high marks that I earned and he says that they are unimportant subjects (history and english). Then he says that Im still mad about the music too much I should concertrate on study... and a music isnt important ...

Right now it sounds very mixed I dont know if he is telling me to stop lessons with the intention that I live his dreams of being a scientist. I dont know if this is out of love or if he just wants to make my life miserable saying 'I have no talent'. I am no parent and I appreciate all that advice I have been
givern thankyou so much. :;):
Music is organised sound
User avatar
Tranquillo
 
Posts: 465
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:43 pm

Next

Return to Topic of Note

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron