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Old 08-06-2014, 02:12 PM   #1
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Default What do great musicians have in common?

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Turns out you have parents that played there...and you practice.
What do Great Musicians Have in Common?

The latest scientific evidence suggests great musicians aren't always inherently talented at their instrument, but rather practicing at it. So even though some might have varying inherited musical or physical ability, the important factor for developing instrumental proficiency is an inclination to practice. In effect, a talent for practicing is more important than what most consider raw talent. And yet, no amount of practice can force greatness either, according to the lead author - "the idea that anyone can become an expert at most anything isn't scientifically defensible, and pretending otherwise is harmful to society and individuals.

I've never placed much emphasis on natural ability anyhow, even though I acknowledge it exists. I don't think I really possess any and so any gains I've made on the instrument have been earned through practice. Consider some of the savant type people who often take practice to an extreme. It's not that they have extra dexterous fingers or anything; they obsess (sometimes literally) over playing and do so as much as they can. You've probably also seen the obviously gifted guy who could seemingly do anything at will on their instrument, but yet was never focused or motivated to do much of anything with it.

So, what do you think? Are great musicians born and more or less destined to be what they become? Or are they made, a product of determined will and desire? Nature, nurture, or both?
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Old 08-06-2014, 02:49 PM   #2
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All great musicians are all highly intelligent, from what I know.
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Old 08-06-2014, 03:03 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by G-man View Post
All great musicians are all highly intelligent, from what I know.
I'm curious, how does one gauge that?

From what I can tell, you're talking out yer arse. E.g. Ted Nugent. lol.
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Old 08-06-2014, 03:19 PM   #4
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All great musicians have a lot of time.
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Old 08-06-2014, 03:32 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by no talent hack View Post
I'm curious, how does one gauge that?

From what I can tell, you're talking out yer arse. E.g. Ted Nugent. lol.
Indeed, there's several different aspects of intelligence. There's some of the obvious like someone being adept at calculus while another writes bestselling novels - both are intelligent, but in vastly different ways. Or some might have excellent memories while others are more naturally innovative problem solvers.

Then there's empathics who have high emotional intelligence - they might be great caregivers, counselors, or just your mom.

But point taken nonetheless, and in fact, we can probably think of examples of how these different IQ's are applied to their respective music - highly technical vs. simple and heartfelt, very unique vs. ability to mimic/incorporate anything, etc.
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Old 08-06-2014, 04:33 PM   #6
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I'm not as cerebral as you Rustee. I'll just fall back on my layman's definition of intelligence. Or lack of same.

Q: Is Ted Nugent intelligent?

A: Hmmm.... talks like a dumbass. Acts like a dumbass. So, no. No he's not intelligent. I'd have to surmise he's a dumbass.

I don't complicate nuthin' man.

If I had to give a somewhat succinct answer to your original question, I would have to say I believe all great musicians have been instilled with an irrepressible urge/need/desire to make music.

You have, say, two kids. One can't pass the family piano without his/her fingers plinking out a few notes. The other prefers to go outside and play baseball/soccer/dress up.

The first kid just has to do it. It's just in him/her. Now, the rest of the equation depends on a lot of the factors you mentioned in your first post. But I'd have to guess that it's the ingrained desire to produce music is what they all have in common.

My take on it, anyway.
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Old 08-06-2014, 04:35 PM   #7
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Rustee, you seem pretty bang on it. How would you define a 'musician'?
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Old 08-06-2014, 04:51 PM   #8
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I agree NTH, and which correlates well with the article and my own experience. When I got my first acoustic as a teenager I would literally run home from school in eagerness to play it, even though I couldn't really play jack. I had a severe lack of any skill, and negligible talent, but the desire was strong.

I'm not sure what you're saying G. But I would add that in accordance with the success in music thread, I don't make being famous or a lucrative success as prerequisites to being a great musician. And as I always say, we all have our moments.
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Old 08-06-2014, 05:39 PM   #9
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Oh btw, I wouldn't classify Nugent as great anyways. Starts to get really subjective, but whatev...Stranglehold is a great song, but I think there's rumors he didn't write/play most of that anyways. Other than Cat Scratch Fever (meh), I can't even name another Nugent song. Maybe I'm just ignorant though. Even the article concedes that "greatness" isn't limited to those with the most technical prowess, e.g. Rolling Stones, Nirvana, Ramones, etc.
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Old 08-06-2014, 07:22 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by no talent hack View Post
I'm curious, how does one gauge that?

From what I can tell, you're talking out yer arse. E.g. Ted Nugent. lol.
Pretty sure he specified great musicians, which obviously disqualifies Ted.
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