In this episode of Violin Lounge TV I discuss the mysteries of talent...
Before I do this I want to share with you the outcomes of a research by the Swedish psychologist Anders Ericsson. He researched three groups of conservatory students and tried to link their level of playing to the number of hours they had practiced.
It appeared that the best soloist level students had studied 10.000 hours. This is the famous 10.000 hour rule it takes to master a field. The good students had studied around 5.000 hours and the average students had studied around 3.000 hours.
He didn't found any natural talents... He didn't found cases in which people could reach an excellent playing level with a low number of practice hours. However the quality of practice hours does matter for the results. If you want to know more about this research and get the exact details and nuances, give it a Google :).
This removes a bit of the mystique around talent. If you read interviews with great soloists, you will always read that they practiced many hours a day right from their early childhood.
I certainly think talent exists and that there are exceptional levels of playing that nobody can get just from practicing 10.000, 20.000 or 100.000 hours. However I think that talent is highly overestimated and practicing is highly underestimated.
There are records from letters from Mozart to his father complaining that he worked so hard and that people thought that his compositions just came straight from heaven. He said to work harder that anybody else.
Can we all become Mozarts with enough practice and hard work? Well... that would have happened then, would it? And it didn't ;).
The main reason why I'm sharing this is to inspire you...
The good news is that the level of your playing is something that you can control with deliberate practicing and good guidance. Maybe you can't be a child prodigy, but practice pays of. You don't have to be afraid that your practicing doesn't work or leads to nothing.
There is a clear connection between the input (practicing) and the output (higher playing level). Don't let assumptions about talent withhold you to start playing the violin or to spend more time on your violin studies.
Lots of people without any experience with playing a musical instrument and without having had music lessons, say the are not musically talented. How can you know this if you have never tried to develop your musical talent? Sometimes people even tell me: I have no musical talent, because I can't read notes. Well, if someone in my childhood didn't teach me how to read and write I would be illiterate, but it wouldn't say much about talent for language? It's the same for music.
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PS: Do you have questions or struggles on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below or send an e-mail to email@example.com and I might dedicate a Violin Lounge TV episode to answering your question!
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