Talent What is It?

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This word gets banded about in the music business more than anywhere else I know, the inference is this, the  person is so good he/she has a natural born gift. I agree with this but it just seems like an over simplification of what talent really is and just exactly what is involved. Here is a dictionary definition of the word talent;

Talent: a natural ability to be good at something without being taught

Now the first part of this definition I can agree with, it’s the second part that makes me cringe, “without being taught” lets consider the musical genius of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. What we sometimes characterise as talent or genius  have a few things in common, drive, determination, often good parenting, and they are generally products of their time. All of this is true of Mozart, but his talent was a result of tremendously hard work, plus he was taught and disciplined by his musician father who recognised his talent  at a very early age and he nurtured it very carefully. We should also not forget that Amadeus had a very talented sister Maria Anna Mozart who could play harpsichord, violin, sing and compose, but I suspect that being a young women of her time, expectations regarding Maria would be focused on a good marriage.

Is it  possible to be born with a musical talent? Sorry I don’t know the answer to that question. Can a person have a natural ability? Yes I think this is possible but not just in music but in many fields of endeavour. I think it has something to do with how our brains work. I used to think that I could teach music to anyone, but I soon discovered that it’s not for everyone, although I do try very, very hard to teach my students but it’s clear that even hard work and discipline is not going to work for some.

I think the above principles will apply to most areas in life, in whatever craft or art you choose, but one point is blatantly clear to me, if you believe you have a talent, nothing is going to happen unless you!! work at it.

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