Models of talent development in music – Part 2
Csikszentmihalyi, Rathunde, and Whalen (1993) conducted a study of talented teenagers in art,music, athletics, and science to determine what made these teenagers persist at their talent compared to those who give up on their talent.
The researchers described a set of meta-skills that these talented teen had which allowed them to develop their talents. These skills are comprised of concentration, curiosity, and the ability to set personal goals, allowing them to pursue their interests to a high degree. Additionally, these teenagers had the support of their family and significant others within their chosen field of talent to help them develop these meta-skills.
Csikszentmihalyi also described these teenagers with ‘flow’ characteristics which allows them to be so involved with their interests that they will persist in the face of challenge and failure. In this respect, the talented teenagers become so engaged with their talent, that nothing else seemed to matter.
These teenagers were also aware of other pressures and conflicts which could affect their work, such as peer influences. The talented teenagers were able to realise the conflicts and mitigate the pressures in a variety of ways so as to keep on with their commitment to their talent. This may involve finding new peer groups, adopting different personas for different peer groups, or attend specialised schools which would allow them to work on their talent. In all of these cases, the teenagers had the support of their family.
The Csikszentmihalyi, Rathunde, and Whalen (1993) study identified 8 factors influencing talent development in teenagers. The teenagers must be recognised as talented; they must posses a personality which allows them to concentrate for extended periods of time; they have developed habits which allow them to cultivate their talent; they are generally more conservative personality wise; they have families who are supportive of their talent development; the teenagers had teachers who were supportive and good models to develop talent; talent development was seen as a process; talent will develop when the experiences are optimally challenging and enjoyable as these will continue to motivate the teenager.