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Is Talent Overrated? Plugin Presets/Expansions
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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Is Talent Overrated?

Is talent overrated? The older I get I believe that hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard, and I also believe that natural talent is nothing without practice and I believe in acquired talent.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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There is actually a fantastic book about this:

Talent Is Overrated - Geoff Colvin


The basic premise is that most of what people call talent is actually many many hours of the right kind of practice. "Right kind" being the critical piece.

Sort of an extension of the 10,000 hours theory, which isn't necessarily something I completely agree with, but is generally pretty accurate.

There is lots of research to support this view. Of course there are some exceptions, but generally, the main barrier is that very few people are actually motivated to put in the very, very, very hard and disciplined work it takes to become great.

Here's a great article about Jerry Rice, showing how this applies in a sporting context, but it is easily adapted to musicianship or engineering etc.

Masters of Habit: The Deliberate Practice and Training of Jerry Rice


Cheers
Old 1 week ago
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@bambamboom I think the 10,000 rule is BS as that means people would have to begin in early childhood with no rational thought as to if they want to do whatever it is they are thinking of doing. I believe in the right kind aspect moreso than the 10,000 rule.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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Back in the 80's when Rap music was new talent mattered because obtaining a listening audience in the underground was difficult. Right thru to the mid 2000's talent matter in order of being heard but those who lacked talent decided to invest their hustling money into 'Payola'.. even though Payola has been around since the beginning of music a certain amount of talented was needed in order of keeping the momentum going with an artist's.

Since 2012 IMO the bar has been lowered with mumble rap being at the forefront. There is no talent in that so now a days it really doesn't matter in Hip hop even achieving placement on Billboard. There has been a lot of one hit type wonders receiving placements on the charts and the amount of Music Promotional/Marketing campaigns ('Payola') for sure that they receive their spots on the charts.

Last edited by ANR2011; 1 week ago at 12:57 PM.. Reason: typo
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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I don't think things are black and white on this (Talent vs practice), the other elements are creativity, the times relative to a personality.


The right creative person can be more important that talent or hard work.

However without work, nothing get's done.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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Talent is important.

Hard work is important.

One without the other makes each less. Also it's hard to make a blanket statement what's more important, as one might be more important depending on context.

But one thing is sure, talent in a certain sense is out of one's control, whereas hardwork is not, so it behooves one to work hard to maximize whatever talent they have. Anything short of that, you're cheating yourself, and you ain't got no one to blame other than yourself.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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Talent counts for a higher percentage than hard work.IMO
although if you don't work at something, you get nothing.

There are 10 year old kids that can play amazing classical piano or can sing like 25 year olds. That is natural talent. There are people who work their butts off for years but just don't have the talent it takes to be special. Yes they are good but not great.
I could and have worked like a dog(not my dog..lazy) to play piano well but its just not in me. On the other hand, drums and guitar, I get right away.
I can't buy piano talent.
True you can buy a placement but were talking about talent. Right?
Old 1 week ago
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Unclenny's Avatar
I have always said that it takes three major components to excel at anything:

Talent
Practice
A good teacher

In the absence or deficiency of any one, success can still be realized by accentuating the others.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Talent can only be appreciated by those striving to reach the same level of expertise that others have.
Old 1 week ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boombapdame View Post
@bambamboom I think the 10,000 rule is BS as that means people would have to begin in early childhood with no rational thought as to if they want to do whatever it is they are thinking of doing. I believe in the right kind aspect moreso than the 10,000 rule.
I did say that I dont fully agree with the 10,000hrs principle. But I do believe that what people believe is “talent” is actually more a product of our environment rather than some innate ability. Show me the amazing 10 year old amazing pianist’s early childhood experience and practice regimen and I bet it is a very very significant factor.
Old 1 week ago
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If you look at talent from a sport perspective. (Its all the same).
You have maybe 20 or so players on any given sport team. They for the most part, all work as hard training practising ect. But some players are just more talented than others. The star players.
This proves that talent can not always be achieved by working hard. You can attain a certain level of talent by hard work only to be outdone by a high level talent who makes it look easy.
Talent is not overrated. IMO
Old 6 days ago
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Talent is huge but it can easily be wasted due to laziness. Those with talent that learn their craft and put in the time and effort to continue to improve are the ones that usually make it.

I think you generally need both. Some people may get lucky by only relying on their talents but more often than not the effort has to be a huge component to achieve success.

Now effort without talent then becomes the question and based on my experience, when the talent is missing, all the effort in the world won't get you there.

Maybe there are musicians who have learned to play an instrument and who can read notes who can achieve a professional spot in an orchestra but without the conductor and the written music, these people cannot play a lick so then the question becomes, what designates a musician? To me, if you can not improvise and actually make music without reading the notes on a page, then you are not a musician - you may be a technician on an instrument but you are not a musician.
Old 6 days ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PdotDdot View Post
Those with talent that learn their craft and put in the time and effort to continue to improve are the ones that usually make it.
There's a separate kind of talent, which is the one for being honest with yourself about what you're good at and what you're not, and putting your focus in the right areas. Keith Richards comes to mind.
Old 6 days ago
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boombapdame View Post
Is talent overrated? The older I get I believe that hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard, and I also believe that natural talent is nothing without practice and I believe in acquired talent.
Famous saying

1% talent

99% perspiration!


There's another famous saying.

Talent tends to follow ambition.

I think your thinking on the whole is correct.

I was one of those kids who sat behind a piano and drum kit and within a few weeks I could play - it was like a completely natural thing for me, it felt like music picked me rather than I picked music.

But I have worked very, very hard at developing my natural abilities and that's the aspect of myself as a musician I am most proud of.
Old 6 days ago
  #16
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Most of the people successful in music - and I do not necessarily refer to 'pop' music - are from musical families with some financial resources. That is #1 . After that come talent and nepotism, although talent and music lessons from age 5 are often one and the same.
Old 6 days ago
  #17
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Gentlemen, gentleman. There are two distinctive types of talent. Two. There's one called 'talent' and another one called 'UNDENIABLE TALENT'. The latter one is kinda crazy bc ppl are usually(?) born with this strange 'gift'. For example: ppl like Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Fats Waller, Art Tatum, Prince and a few others. Most of these guys had some sort of tutoring initially in their beginnings. But their comprehension/applications are well beyond what normal ppl can accomplish given in the same time. This applies to just about any Musical Genius or any Genius (one out of billions). Then on the other hand is just 'REGULAR' talent (my demographic):This kinda talent has to be nortured like a baby. It 'will'require the 10k hour thing. No kidding you! Don't be fooled by any naysayer. 10k is very very true. Me, I play a few instruments myself in just about any style (preferably Jazz/Gospel bc they contain every aspect in music to get your blades razor-sharp). Back to your point. I do think that ppl are overrating talent in a sense. But 10k is the Golden Rule if you aren't one of the Gifted Ones. Practice makes perfect still holds true even in 2017. My 2¢s.
Old 6 days ago
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
There's a separate kind of talent, which is the one for being honest with yourself about what you're good at and what you're not, and putting your focus in the right areas. Keith Richards comes to mind.
Funny you mention Keith. After all these years I finally sat down and figured out his parts in Honky Tonk Woman. I just got so tired of guitar players not knowing how to play the tune correctly (me included). In doing this I am even more appreciative of his musical talent. He was the first guitar player I started learning licks from (the Ya Ya's LP) and therefore has had a huge influence on my playing. Now I am even more in awe. Taste, Tone, Simplicity. He just oozes feel.

...and to your point - yup! I had to come to grips with this in Nashville while trying to see if I could get my foot in the door as a writer. I got to write with one of the big boys because we are good friends and I learned right away that I do not have the talent for it. My talent has always been as a guitar player and now as I turn gray and saggy I am trying to see what I can make of this recording mixing stuff. The jury is still out on this one. :-) Anyway, great point!
Old 6 days ago
  #19
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Talent is potential. Whether realised or not. And sure, hard work with less talent 'does better' than lots of talent and doing nothing with it. But that doesn't mean hours spent can nullify the difference talent makes if everything else is equal.
Old 6 days ago
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boombapdame View Post
Is talent overrated?
IMO talent is under-rated. Look at all the musician/songwriters who think they need to go to audio school. The only possible reason they think this is because they must believe they are already "good enough" in the musical/singing/songwriting department and that the only thing holding them back is 'better mixes'.


Quote:
The older I get I believe that hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard,
This I agree with. I know some people who seem to have an easy time of it but who are lazy. They use their 'talent' to stay at a mediocre level with low effort. Others who work harder can surpass them.


Quote:
and I also believe that natural talent is nothing without practice and I believe in acquired talent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roaringwave
another one called 'UNDENIABLE TALENT'.
Out of the thousands of musicians I know, I could single out a handful that have that quality that some might call 'undeniable' or 'God-given' talent. We all know them. And we know how rare they are. The thing is, every time I see them, they have their instrument in their hands and they are always practicing. Always, always practicing. And real practice, not just jamming around, playing the stuff you know, but slowly and methodically working through the stuff you don't know.

It makes me realize that what we sometimes call 'natural' talent is being "born" with the ability to love practicing.
Old 6 days ago
  #21
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Out of the thousands of musicians I know, I could single out a handful that have that quality that some might call 'undeniable' or 'God-given' talent. We all know them. And we know how rare they are. The thing is, every time I see them, they have their instrument in their hands and they are always practicing. Always, always practicing. And real practice, not just jamming around, playing the stuff you know, but slowly and methodically working through the stuff you don't know.

It makes me realize that what we sometimes call 'natural' talent is being "born" with the ability to love practicing. [/QUOTE] You are 99.9% correct. And some vocalist are born to sing naturally (M.Jackson) with a childhood gift. A formidable vocalist as kid in the Jackson 5. Nothing like him in a 1000 yrs. Totally 100% undeniable!! 99.9% of us need to really practice on 'our' craft to gain any kind of excellence to that degree if it is even possible to achieve. Some say that hard work and a little talent can get you 'there(?)' but that hard work is a talent in its own right itself. Talent still has to be heard or discovered imo. But "Undeniable-Talent" somehow always find its way into the spotlight because it was kinda ordained to be. Rich parents can propel their kid into the limelight sometimes if they have a nice look a can sing a little bit. But what that really is to me is just the 'money-talk-game'. If that parent didn't have the financial means to catapult their child into the music game, I betcha 10 to 1 that that 'Pop-Star' would be just another aspiring young talent out there in a pool of thousands who are equally & more musically talented than they ever could dream of being. There's a lot going on behind the scenes nowadays.

Last edited by roaringwave; 6 days ago at 02:30 AM..
Old 4 days ago
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roaringwave View Post
You are 99.9% correct. And some vocalist are born to sing naturally (M.Jackson) with a childhood gift. A formidable vocalist as kid in the Jackson 5. Nothing like him in a 1000 yrs. Totally 100% undeniable!! 99.9% of us need to really practice on 'our' craft to gain any kind of excellence to that degree if it is even possible to achieve.
That, and yet everytime he was about to go into the studio to record vocals, he'd be with his vocal coach for three hours warming up and doing vocal exercises. Even those who are "gifted" still need to practice a lot.

As for whether talent or hard work is more important, I'd say it depends on what aspect of music you're talking about. Hard work is probably the most essential, when it comes to making it in the music industry. Talent helps, but being savvy and understanding how the business works will probably get you much farther than knowing how to "play the guitar good".

Although there's a personality aspect of it too, knowing how to handle people well...you can learn it, but it comes more naturally to some than others. I guess it could be loosely defined as a "talent".

However, if your goal is simply being a great musician, industry successful or not, then natural ability, a.k.a talent, may give you a much larger advantage, musically speaking. That doesn't negate the need to practice, but you may just improve your skills more quickly than another person would.
Old 4 days ago
  #23
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"Talent" is an evolving term with mothers thinking their kid is a prodigy at Garage Band where loops are laid out for you. So you have this "amazing for the age" sounding song, but you didn`t actually do anything creatively. It scares me, actually.
Old 2 days ago
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Where is the talent in todays popmusic?
Old 2 days ago
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In relation to pure musicianship, I've always thought that talent - which one might consider "musical DNA" - does make itself heard over and above anything that can be achieved purely through hard work.

If you listen to the early recordings of, say, a 20 year-old Michael Brecker or an equally young Joshua Redman, their musically assured and technically superb performances even at that age are way, way beyond what most people can achieve, regardless of how much woodshedding they do in a lifetime - speaking as someone who spent 6 hours a day putting air through a horn in his early 20s.

Those two are an interesting, and not at all unconnected, case in point: in the world of great jazz musicians, an astonishingly high proportion of those with seemingly instant chops and great taste, come from households where one parent played jazz at least at the level of jobbing musician. Which may, of course, mean that they're not born with it, but that being exposed to it from a very early age can make all the difference - just like kids who are bilingual as soon as they can talk, if one parent speaks to them in one language, and the other in another. (Or the Williams sisters at tennis.)

Hmm. So now I don't know if it's "talent" or "early exposure".

I was thinking of this in relation to competitive sports, though - which OUGHT to work as an analogy. Specifically, British heptathlete Jessica Ennis Hill. This is a woman who won Olympic gold in 2012, got pregnant and had a baby in 2014, and won the World Medal again in 2015. The most physically demanding, cross disciplinary sport there is in female athletics, and for 2 years every other professional female heptathlete in the world was training full-time, with professional coaches and world class facilities - yet, still she could be away from the sport for a season, get back into training, and beat all of them. That's not about who does 10,000 hours, or not; that's really about natural ability. (Not that she could have won without the training; but even with the training, no one in the world was better.)

In sport, of course, part of "talent" is the body one is born with. In music, it's more to do with the brain one is born with.

At some point, we'll have to define "talent" ...
Old 2 days ago
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boombapdame View Post
Is talent overrated? The older I get I believe that hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard, and I also believe that natural talent is nothing without practice and I believe in acquired talent.


Old 2 days ago
  #27
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"Is talent overrated? "

No....JMHO.

TH
Old 2 days ago
  #28
Natural Talent is bs in my opinion.

Yea, there are people that are supernaturally gifted. Even they put in those 10,000 hours be be as good as they are.

Studying, practicing regularly until you are physically exhausted, constant learning, sacrificing and compromising other parts of your life, commitment to never being satisfied, having intense passion for it...

That is real. Too many “beat makers” and “artists” making brain rotting masturbatory loops... hiding behind samples of real committed musicians and their hard earned skills. It’s like comparing graffiti to a Jacob Lawrence painting.
Old 2 days ago
  #29
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A day working with talent: WOW that was fun and i feel like i want to go home and make more music even after slogging a 12 hour day at the studio

A normal day with what people show up with these days: Man can someone play something that i don't have to fix every freaking measure?

TALENT Is FEW AND FAR BETWEEN.

the Daw culture has made Mediocrity the norm.
Old 2 days ago
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DomiBabi View Post
Natural Talent is bs in my opinion.

Yea, there are people that are supernaturally gifted. Even they put in those 10,000 hours be be as good as they are.

Studying, practicing regularly until you are physically exhausted, constant learning, sacrificing and compromising other parts of your life, commitment to never being satisfied, having intense passion for it...

That is real. Too many “beat makers” and “artists” making brain rotting masturbatory loops... hiding behind samples of real committed musicians and their hard earned skills. It’s like comparing graffiti to a Jacob Lawrence painting.
I disagree. I can`t paint or draw worth a crap. No amount of money is going to change that. I have no talent in that realm of artistry. My family have been musicians for generations. I can say I WAS influenced by my uncles, but picked it up so amazingly fast I quickly surpassed them. My nephews live thousands of miles away from me and they just pick it up. And are on their way to surpassing me. I grew up with this person in school. He could draw ANYTHING. He made his own comic books. It blew my mind how dang good he was. There`s something to "talent" that has been overlooked, undiscovered, etc. Just my 2 cents.
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