To be described as talented – what do we really mean?

talented musicians

To be described as talented – What do we really mean?

The gene for talent does not exist. However, many people are keen to label someone with extraordinary abilities in a particular pursuit such as music or sport, as someone who must be innately talented.

We give the label talented to people after the fact.

That is, we call someone talented when their achievement is above all others, as if it has been natural and something they have been born with. What is often overlooked are all the hours of effort and training which have gone into this extraordinary ability.

We can train ourselves to reach incredible feats of memory, physical, musical, and creative output.

This takes quite some time. These feats require the ability to set goals maintain focus, be able to reflect on training sessions and outcomes, and to be prepared and able to adapt goals where necessary. It is necessary to be able to continue to make incremental improvements, even in the face of setbacks.

For example, top-level musicians, athletes, and chess players, do this over many years. Throughout this time, they will make steady improvements by obtaining pre-defined goals. Over time, these individuals will devise even more challenging goals, improve weaknesses in training or practice plan. They have a heightened awareness of flaws and things to improve and more importantly, how to correct them.

They will more than likely have access to good teachers who are able to present new challenges to them and assist in solving complex technical issues. More importantly, the teacher will be able to provide the proper tools to allow the student to continue their  growth.

One day they may obtain the label of ‘talented’. However, these individuals at the top of their field know that a lot of dedication and practice was required to reach incredible feats athleticism or musical competence.

Talented is perhaps a laypersons well-meaning way of congratulations on your achievement. You have been able to achieve something remarkable. Well done.


© iteachpiano 2017

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