The Weekend Vote
A recent study has strongly pointed to nature over nurture, when it comes to acquiring musical skill. The study, published in Psychological Science, by Miriam Mosing of the Karolinska Institute, in Sweden, apparently points to the conclusion that talent is more important than practice.
I thought I'd put the question to you:
Please feel free to elaborate on your answer in the comments below. The media certainly has had its say, here are a few of the headlines:
Yes, one study and now we know!
Though I'm willing to debate the question of talent vs. practice (which is really a variant on nature vs. nurture), I don't put much stock in what the media seems to be making of this study. If you want the unvarnished conclusions, here's the actual study; take a look with your own eyes. The study looked at twins, but 48 percent of those twins were fraternal, meaning they were no more genetically identical than any brother and sister.
One quote from the article in The Economist caught my attention, however: the idea that "the practice of practice itself seems to be under genetic control."
As a teacher for 20 years, I certainly can say that a willingness to practice is the number one factor in the success of a student. That willingness does not seem to correlate with a student's ability to match pitches, accurately clap rhythms or sing back melodies in their first weeks of study. If the student who shows natural musical ability is nonetheless unwilling to practice, that student is rapidly passed up by those who do practice. So do some people have innate ability to practice well? And would that be considered "talent"? Of course, the student who has all those abilities and does practice tends to do very well, very rapidly. I've also witnessed the student who seems to have no sense of pitch develop it.
What do you think?Tweet
It would be impossible for me to list all the fantastic and worthy conductors who are on the scene today, but I've chosen five top conductors from top orchestras around the world for you to enjoy. I've assembled videos of each one, in alphabetical order, conducting a classical piece with the main orchestras that they direct (they all guest-conduct many orchestras!) Which, of these, do you like best? Which, that didn't make the list, do you like best? Please vote, and then feel free to elaborate in the comments section.
Gustavo Dudamel - Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
Valery Gergiev - London Symphony Orchestra
Alan Gilbert -- New York Philharmonic
Mariss Jansons - Royal Concertgebouw orchestra
Simon Rattle - Berlin Philharmonic
Ah, what a beautiful piece of music I'm playing, and how nicely I'm playing it! But wait, what is that, up ahead! Flash red, noooooo!!!
Turn the car around, we're about to go careening down a very bumpy hill, and I don't think the brakes work!
Violinists seem to be natural show-offs, thus our most beloved concertos and showpieces often contain such challenging and treacherous passages. Of course, the best solution is to climb the mountain, slay the dragon, conquer the wild blue sea! Go for it, and get good at it!
But let's be honest: sometimes it's just a pain. You see such a passage and know right away, if you decide to play this piece, you're taking on a heckuva lot more practice! Of the ones listed, what kind of show-off-y technique gives you the most challenge? (Feel free to list any that aren't included in the comments!)
Previous entries: June 2014
Our interview with Sarah Chang is one of more than two dozen in The Violinist.com Interviews: Volume 1, which also features talks with Joshua Bell, Maxim Vengerov, and David Garrett, as well as a foreword by Hilary Hahn.
The Weekend Vote is from Pasadena, California. Biography
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