Do you need talent to learn how to play music?

Talent or passion? Talent or intelligence? Talent or hard work? Is talent inherent or can you develop it? To learn music, play instruments or sing, do you really need to have talent?

What is talent?

First of all, what is talent? The definition of talent is A special ability or aptitude or A capacity for achievement and success. That being said, talent (and everything it involves) remains a mysterious concept. Some researchers such as the Russian Boris Teplov suggest that talent is a global principle, a combination of aptitudes that allow a person to practice with success a musical activity. Seashore claims that talent is, by definition, hereditary. Others refute this theory and believe that talent depends on education, on the family background and on several more external factors.

Various talents

Talent can be many things. A pianist who has studied for years could have a wonderful technique and play in a unique way but have no musical sensitivity. In this case, although he is impressed by the perfection of the musician, the listener remains emotionless. However, a pianist could have worked for as many years and have developed a deep sense of music without having a perfect technique. This time, the listener could be charmed and without reasons, he could be transported through the effervescence and excitement of the musician. This sensitivity almost creates an intimacy between the artist and his spectator.

Although the concept of talent is controversial, the fact remains that success in anything comes with training and improving over time. In all domains that require performance like music, sports or acting, for example, the fact of having a specific aptitude in a discipline will probably reduce the learning period but working hard still remains an essential element to obtain an interesting result. Could we assume that talent alone is the key to success? All celebrities would confirm that their exploits came with hours or even months and years of practice and training.

Success factors

This leads us to discuss the various factors that allow an individual to excel in his field. We all have the ability to create beautiful and great things. But there are many who prefer to envy successful people rather than rolling up their sleeves and doing what it takes to reach their goals. As already mentioned, work is one of the most important elements in the recipe for success, but it is not the only one. The true desire to excel, to go through all the steps and achieve a certain level of perfection represents a piece of the puzzle, as well as a deep love for the discipline and the desire to live through it.

For example, in a young child who shows an interest in a musical instrument, we often find an ambition, an appetite for musical discovery. By cons, if the passion is not supported, the child could lose interest and give up because of all the obstacles. Maintaining motivation, coaching, practicing, but also creating a motivating family environment are essential. A child who lives in an environment allowing him to be driven in comprehensive learning will find success more easily in music as in other spheres of life (school, interpersonal relations, work, etc.). Music especially appeals to memory, understanding, accuracy, listening, discipline, self-confidence, motivation... The valuation of the child and the development of his interest with a competent teacher also weigh in the balance. Choosing the right teacher is important.

It is the same for adults. The main difference is that an adult will make correlations and be aware of the various situations that will lead him to make decisions. Even if his motivation is hard to maintain, an adult can set goals to remain focused more easily. Thus, when an adult decides to learn to play a musical instrument or if he wants to sing, he must know that, even without any musical notion, the only fact of setting objectives, taking time and making efforts in his sessions will bring him progress and satisfaction. All this results in the pride and pleasure of personal achievement.

We do not think that a person has talent because he can walk. Yet, a baby cannot walk. After a while, he tries, falls and gets back up. He practices and practices the same movements again and again. The day comes when he gains enough experience and confidence to walk without support and eventually he can even run. It is the same with music.

Could we say that the real talent is the ability to have enough self-confidence to try to reach our goals and dreams? Is it setting our passion and the love of that passion free to overcome obstacles and to become an excellent musician? Of course, being talented will speed up the learning but as mentioned before, there is not achievement without work and without accepting that time is of the essence. So don’t underestimate yourself! Respect yourself and respect your passions! Do what you like with all your heart! You will see, the results will please you!

Karine Michon
Musician, teacher and lecturer

Lyrical singer and teacher, Karine Michon also has Bachelor and Master degrees in music. Kid loving musician with a passionate love of music, she shares her passion with enthusiasm. It is with a head brimming with ideas that she created music workshops at the Studio Tre Punti to offer sessions of prenatal singing, music discovery (3 to 18 months), musical awakening (18 months to 6 years) and singing lessons. Karine’s goal is to allow children of all ages to enjoy the benefits of music. Her kindness, sincerity and dynamism make her music workshops memorable for both kids and adults.  Learn more on her website Studio Tre Punti.

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