Does Biology Matter?

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
Improvisator
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Re: Does Biology Matter?

Post by Improvisator » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:36 pm

Rognvald wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:20 pm
Even a motor has a top end ....
Not ‘even’.
‘Only’.

(as if a motor is the higher image for human functions😀)

Dirck Nagy
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Re: Does Biology Matter?

Post by Dirck Nagy » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:43 pm

bear wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 9:55 pm
I have often wondered how many Mozarts or Einsteins are living in a jungle.
Did you ever read Mark Twain's Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven?

Shakespeare has to walk behind a tailor from Tennessee named Edward J. Billings.

cheers!
dirck

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Rick Beauregard
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Re: Does Biology Matter?

Post by Rick Beauregard » Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:23 pm

Rognvald wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:20 pm
However, for a teacher to encourage a student to pursue music as a life trajectory is disingenuous when their only hope is to be mediocre. And, for the stubborn-minded player who believes that hard work and discipline will lead to musical nirvana---
I think this is more a commentary on incentives than on the distribution of talent or potential. Teachers make a living by teaching. Every student is a meal ticket. My son played hockey. He was good but no phenom. You’d never know it to hear his coaches talk at every level until the level where their incentive was winning more than student fees.

I think you have the incentives wrong for the “stubborn player” too. But I’ll just speak for myself. If the goal is nirvana or mastery, I agree it is folly. But that’s not the goal. The goal is in the moment. It is effort and the daily rewards of effort. Nothing more. And that’s probably true of many greats who just played because they loved the OCD-ness of it. And probably also why so many crash and burn when they achieve stardom.

Maybe the biggest impact of biology is not the finger size, but the right blend of OCD (left brain) and highly integrative (right brain) function.
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Dirck Nagy
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Re: Does Biology Matter?

Post by Dirck Nagy » Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:28 pm

Rognvald wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:59 pm
... So, when a teacher has a student that is very serious about being a full-time musician, but will never be anything other than mediocre--does he tell him/her the reality, at some point, or does he encourage the student and nurture his unrealistic dream? What's the right thing to do? ...
You do both, of course! A good teacher will be able to think of plenty of diplomatic (and therefore effective) ways to do that.

A few points:
  • Any person who flat-out says "You don't have the talent to make it" is really just feeding their own ego. They are trying to pretend some sort of omniscience. That critic is NOT God! A teacher might have a fair estimate of the student's potential, but they can never know for sure.
  • Treating a student rudely never has a productive result. A student with a strong ego might react by saying "I dont care what you think; I'm going to prove you are wrong"---and continue to waste time and effort fruitlessly. A more sensitive student might quit completely from discouragement, which would be a terrible loss. Disrespectful rebuffs often result in active antagonism toward a field.
  • A good teacher is much better at assessing and encouraging potential in this way: "If you want to get to Level X, you must do the following:..."
  • This way, the student has milestones along the way to assess their own performance. Eventually, one gets to a point where they realize that they get diminishing returns. (and this happens to everybody, in any field, unless one is really truly delusional!)
cheers!
dirck

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lucy
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Re: Does Biology Matter?

Post by lucy » Sun Mar 10, 2019 6:31 pm

Rick Beauregard wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:23 pm
Maybe the biggest impact of biology is not the finger size, but the right blend of OCD (left brain) and highly integrative (right brain) function.
I think is a very important point. But, arm length, finger size, stretching capacity etc. also matter.

I don't think there are any hard and fast rules. If someone has "natural talent", that still needs to be honed, by hard work, dedication, good instruction etc.

Recently, one concert player said he prefers to say people have a predisposition to becoming a good musician, rather than talent.

It seems talent is a loaded word, that implies some form of "magic", whereas predisposition indicates that someone can have strong potential, but they need to do a lot of other things to bring that to fruition.

We shouldn't discount external factors too. People need positive experiences, the right supporters, good health, effective marketing (dare I say it!) and a little luck. That's not to say it's ever purely luck. Often someone has put themselves in the position, where it's possible for luck to come to them.

People have to be courageous, forward and proactive as well. Eg. Someone who never performs outside of their own lounge, will never be recognised as a great player, no matter how well they play, because no one ever hears them.

And people have to be calm, optimistic and visionary. They have to be able to picture themselves as a good guitarist, in the future. I don't mean people should delude themselves, but rather have sight of a dream, they can work towards. If people rule themselves out - they'll never achieve it.
"There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.
By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world."
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eno
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Re: Does Biology Matter?

Post by eno » Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:05 pm

I think one needs to have genetically at least these 3 abilities together to become a good musician. Miss one of them and you are out of luck
- Excellent coordination and motor skills
- Good ear (less important for fixed-pitch instruments like piano, very important for fretless ones like strings)
- Musicality

But you only need just some amount of musicality to enjoy music :D
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Denian Arcoleo
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Re: Does Biology Matter?

Post by Denian Arcoleo » Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:33 pm

Improvisator wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:36 pm
Rognvald wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:20 pm
Even a motor has a top end ....
Not ‘even’.
‘Only’.

(as if a motor is the higher image for human functions😀)
Humans have no 'top end'? 100 metres in 2 seconds?
I could go on (boringly). (Cyborgs aren't humans)

D.Cass
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Re: Does Biology Matter?

Post by D.Cass » Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:33 pm

How do we define naturally talented? Perfect pitch seems to be the only thing that can be defined as naturally talented, but that is not a prerequisite to being a great musician. Long fingers? There are plenty of guitarist with short fingers and play phenomenally. Musicality? This is a hard one to define since people cannot even agree with what is musical. I have seen two people walk away from the same performance and have two completely opposite reactions. Does Biology matter? Not really. Persistence and determination matter far more.

Improvisator
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Re: Does Biology Matter?

Post by Improvisator » Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:55 pm

Denian Arcoleo wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 7:33 pm
Humans have no 'top end'? 100 metres in 2 seconds?
I could go on (boringly). (Cyborgs aren't humans)
Humans did watch the moon and jumped to it.

Rognvald
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Re: Does Biology Matter?

Post by Rognvald » Mon Mar 11, 2019 5:41 pm

Dirck Nagy wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:28 pm
Rognvald wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:59 pm
... So, when a teacher has a student that is very serious about being a full-time musician, but will never be anything other than mediocre--does he tell him/her the reality, at some point, or does he encourage the student and nurture his unrealistic dream? What's the right thing to do? ...
You do both, of course! A good teacher will be able to think of plenty of diplomatic (and therefore effective) ways to do that.

A few points:
  • Any person who flat-out says "You don't have the talent to make it" is really just feeding their own ego. They are trying to pretend some sort of omniscience. That critic is NOT God! A teacher might have a fair estimate of the student's potential, but they can never know for sure.
  • Treating a student rudely never has a productive result. A student with a strong ego might react by saying "I dont care what you think; I'm going to prove you are wrong"---and continue to waste time and effort fruitlessly. A more sensitive student might quit completely from discouragement, which would be a terrible loss. Disrespectful rebuffs often result in active antagonism toward a field.
  • A good teacher is much better at assessing and encouraging potential in this way: "If you want to get to Level X, you must do the following:..."
  • This way, the student has milestones along the way to assess their own performance. Eventually, one gets to a point where they realize that they get diminishing returns. (and this happens to everybody, in any field, unless one is really truly delusional!)
cheers!

dirck
Hi, Dirck,
I agree. However, what I'm talking about is a compassionate evaluation by a teacher who doesn't feed the dream of a concert career for someone who is not musical or have the talent necessary to perform on that level to make a living. In Rick's excellent example of his son's hockey training, the teachers fed the dream for their own selfish reasons. But, the reality is much more evident in sports where you're constantly reminded of your inability to perform on a higher level with better athletes every time you play. There is no amount of time spent in a batting cage that will help you hit a 95-100 mph fastball if you don't have the necessary hand/eye coordination. And, it should be that way in Music where a student is led to believe by a teacher that more hours in the chair will eventually get the desired results needed for their dream. The reality is that most people who play an instrument will never be paid to perform. Most will never even perform for an audience. And, the only justification for the thousands of hours spent practicing should be the persons love of music and the intellectual stimulation of practicing and learning new pieces. Among people I have called friends are two international concert performers who despite their incredible musical talents struggle to maintain a regular and consistent concert schedule. They are clearly among the elite players in the world. For those with less talent . . . what can they expect their prospects to be? Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

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bear
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Re: Does Biology Matter?

Post by bear » Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:12 pm

Dirck Nagy wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:43 pm
bear wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 9:55 pm
I have often wondered how many Mozarts or Einsteins are living in a jungle.
Did you ever read Mark Twain's Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven?

Shakespeare has to walk behind a tailor from Tennessee named Edward J. Billings.

cheers!
dirck
I remember the book but it's been a long time. I think in Billings case it was the failure of others to recognize his genius.
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lucy
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Re: Does Biology Matter?

Post by lucy » Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:06 pm

bear wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:12 pm
Dirck Nagy wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:43 pm
bear wrote:
Fri Mar 08, 2019 9:55 pm
I have often wondered how many Mozarts or Einsteins are living in a jungle.
Did you ever read Mark Twain's Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven?

Shakespeare has to walk behind a tailor from Tennessee named Edward J. Billings.

cheers!
dirck
I remember the book but it's been a long time. I think in Billings case it was the failure of others to recognize his genius.
Sounds like a very interesting book! Just downloaded it onto my Kindle. :)

Am wondering why Shakespeare's genius was not recognised?

Can I make a wild guess. Shakespeare himself appeared out of context, so his work didn't get the credibility it deserved?
"There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.
By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world."
Robert Louis Stevenson

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bear
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Re: Does Biology Matter?

Post by bear » Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:04 pm

lucy wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:06 pm
bear wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:12 pm
Dirck Nagy wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:43 pm


Did you ever read Mark Twain's Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven?

Shakespeare has to walk behind a tailor from Tennessee named Edward J. Billings.

cheers!
dirck
I remember the book but it's been a long time. I think in Billings case it was the failure of others to recognize his genius.
Sounds like a very interesting book! Just downloaded it onto my Kindle. :)

Am wondering why Shakespeare's genius was not recognised?

Can I make a wild guess. Shakespeare himself appeared out of context, so his work didn't get the credibility it deserved?
Twain, is a reflection of his time. It's necessary to keep that in mind. He frequently turns a phrase that would't be tolerated today.
2019 Gretsch G9126 432mm
2013 Jeff Medlin '37 Hauser 640mm sp
2006 Michele Della Giustina Concert 10 string 650mm ce
2005 Jose Ramirez 4E 650mm ce
2005 Manuel Rodriguez Model C3F 650mm sp
2003 Manuel Rodriguez Model D 650mm ce

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twang
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Re: Does Biology Matter?

Post by twang » Tue Mar 12, 2019 2:01 am

D.Cass wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:33 pm
How do we define naturally talented?
The best definition I've seen is the ratio of results to effort.
For an identical effort the person with more talent will improve faster.

Of course, talent can be a problem too. I've known very talented people that didn't think they had to work because they were talented; they thought it should just come easy. Then they were mystified when someone of lesser talent just passed them by.
"An amateur is he who takes up the study of an instrument as a relaxation from his serious occupations." -- Sor

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lucy
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Re: Does Biology Matter?

Post by lucy » Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:16 am

bear wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:04 pm
lucy wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:06 pm
bear wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:12 pm


I remember the book but it's been a long time. I think in Billings case it was the failure of others to recognize his genius.
Sounds like a very interesting book! Just downloaded it onto my Kindle. :)

Am wondering why Shakespeare's genius was not recognised?

Can I make a wild guess. Shakespeare himself appeared out of context, so his work didn't get the credibility it deserved?
Twain, is a reflection of his time. It's necessary to keep that in mind. He frequently turns a phrase that would't be tolerated today.
OK. Just looked it up. It was the other way round! Sorry I misunderstood your post. It was Billings who didn't get the recognition he deserved when he was alive, because of his circumstances.

It reminds me of the poem Gray's Elegy:

https://www.bartleby.com/101/453.html
"There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.
By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world."
Robert Louis Stevenson

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