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Thread: How to tell if any natural talent's there or not?

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    Newbies FDanconio's Avatar
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    Smile How to tell if any natural talent's there or not?

    At what point does it become evident that there is/n't any natural talent when learning? I'm going to take my first cello lesson soon - but I know that you can't usually tell at the first lesson, since I'd think I'd be more worried about even getting familiar with the instrument itself.

    Does it usually come to the surface within 3-4 lessons? (Assuming an average pace, average teacher, etc etc ceteris paribus). No vague/politically correct answers, just a ballpark figure.

    Bear in mind, I'm 21, so I know that's too late to ever become a great musician. (And by objective criteria, not personal fulfillment or anything fluffy like that).

    Thanks!
    New cellist.
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    I don't mean to dodge your question, but at your age I would say that you needn't worry about the surfacing of natural talent, and instead just get a feel for playing in your first few lessons and make sure you know whether or not you've got it in you to stick with it and try your best for many years to come. You don't have to be able to pick something up quickly for you to be talented, you can cultivate talent over a long period of time through hard work.

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    Senior Member Rasa's Avatar
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    If you're starting at 21, I wouldn't worry so much about what you'll achieve (my guess is that, taking into account the average in all factors, you're not going to be soloing with the London Phil in your lifetime), but rather focus on how much enjoyment you're getting over the thing.

    Persistence is more important then talent.

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    Senior Member GoneBaroque's Avatar
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    Back in the days of my youth I sang with a male chorus whose motto was "We sing for our enjoyment and to others amazement." We sang a good number of performances ove quite a few years and had a great deal of enjoyment and friendship.
    Rob

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDanconio View Post
    At what point does it become evident that there is/n't any natural talent when learning? I'm going to take my first cello lesson soon - but I know that you can't usually tell at the first lesson, since I'd think I'd be more worried about even getting familiar with the instrument itself.

    Does it usually come to the surface within 3-4 lessons? (Assuming an average pace, average teacher, etc etc ceteris paribus). No vague/politically correct answers, just a ballpark figure.

    Bear in mind, I'm 21, so I know that's too late to ever become a great musician. (And by objective criteria, not personal fulfillment or anything fluffy like that).

    Thanks!
    If you are still dropping the bow, and fingering strings you didn't plan to, after half-a-dozen lessons and the concurrent practice, natural talent maybe not so much. By then your teacher should be able to make an educated guess re whether you are going to play well enough to enjoy yourself.
    I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people don't like me anyway.

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    Newbies FDanconio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasa View Post
    If you're starting at 21, I wouldn't worry so much about what you'll achieve (my guess is that, taking into account the average in all factors, you're not going to be soloing with the London Phil in your lifetime), but rather focus on how much enjoyment you're getting over the thing.

    Persistence is more important then talent.
    Well, that's discouraging. :/

    How young would I have had to start in order to become a professional? Damn myself for being such a horrid planner as a toddler! :P
    New cellist.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDanconio View Post
    Well, that's discouraging. :/

    How young would I have had to start in order to become a professional? Damn myself for being such a horrid planner as a toddler! :P
    Well, the rule of thumb is, "you need 10 years of learning to master a string instrument".

    Individual talent, of course, shortens the time. Most pro-violinists I know started at the age of 4, cellists tend to be a bit later. About 4 or 5 years, that is. Just to put things into perspective: I live in Germany, and the competition here is really hard. Other countries have other standards.

    The question of "When does talent start to play a BIG role?"... In my experience, after about 5 or 6 years.

    Strings aren't exactly the easiest-to-learn instruments. There are harder ones (the oboe is supposed to be the most difficult instrument in a regular orchestra), but there are also an awful lot of easier to learn.

    The trick to master the cello is to practice every day. At least for 15 minutes. Good luck! It's a gorgeous instrument!

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    Senior Member Couchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDanconio View Post
    Well, that's discouraging. :/

    How young would I have had to start in order to become a professional? Damn myself for being such a horrid planner as a toddler! :P
    Don't be too discouraged by Rasa's answer. The odds of becoming a solo professional are overwhelming against you no matter what age you start. Just play.

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    Senior Member kv466's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDanconio View Post
    Well, that's discouraging. :/

    How young would I have had to start in order to become a professional? Damn myself for being such a horrid planner as a toddler! :P

    Yeah, I mean...you'd have a better chance at that kinda thing if you'd started at two years old, let's say...but is that really the only goal?...I mean, if that were the case I wouldn't play over a dozen instruments well right now...when I first started playing guitar I wanted to be playing live in front of millions...if I went only by what I heard the first two years, I would have quit...now, do I have the chops to play in any band and in any situation and learn any song within' one listen?...yes...doesn't change the fact that I never toured with Aerosmith or any huge act for that matter...still, I'm happy...playing music makes you happy...


    ...heck, I started piano even later; around 14...still, I can sit at the chair and go right through Mozart sonatas, Chopin etudes and concerto excerpts but the strive shouldn't be to be a concert pianist or a legend...just learn to play for you and only you and who knows how good you can get...as far as "persistence being above talent", I simply cannot agree with that; maybe they go hand in hand but without a natural talent,...there are just some things that cannot be taught no matter how much one sits at an instrument...it has to be innate...whatever you case may be,...keep playing...find pieces you enjoy and strive to learn them...for you...

    I like that rule about '10 years or more to master a string instrument'...I think this kinda applies to any instrument as I've been guitar for about 22 years and still, I keep learning new techniques and acquiring styles from different players...I've just been playing bass for about 11 years now and that 6-string bass is my *bleep*....it does whatever I want it to do...

    Main thing you should take away from any response you get: play, no matter what. Keep playing. Love it.

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