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.A recent study has strongly pointed to nature over nurture, when it comes to acquiring musical skill. The study,
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.
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