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What Is Musical Talent?

What is musical talent? How to develop it on your guitar ?

J: The last of this series.

T: Amigos para siempre

J: Today we will have a good time with Thomas, and next week another surprise. There are 3 likes and I am the only one here.

Are you referring to the video likes?

I do not know Pablo, I have not noticed them yet.

Talent and Hard work on the Guitar

J: Today we will talk about musical talent and its development through intense guitar work.

In other words we will talk about the natural musical talent that people have and what does musical study imply for the gifted guitarists, or not so gifted. 

We will develop on natural talent versus study and we will prioritize on what is more important,  

what will get you closer to a satisfactory achievement, in your musical growth during your guitar learning process. 

Therefore: do we learn to play well because of Talent or simply because of good Practice and study. 

T: I would like to know Pablo´s opinion on this subject, 

What do you think?

Let me establish a context for you. Sometimes we view talent shows, where people come out screaming, playing very quickly, showing off, and in 2 minutes they finish. A lot of people relate talent to this concept.

Everyone has a special talent to do something unique

J: So what is talent and who is talented?

T: Sometimes we think that talent is enough, we know this is not true, but does everyone have musical talent?

 J:That is a good question.

T: Pablo, what do you think? Does everyone have talent?

J: What do you think Thomas? while we wait.

T: Everyone has a special talent to do something unique.This is a fact.

J: So everyone has a talent. What they do not is the ability, for different reasons….

T: Pablo believes in talent but work is necessary.

J: Hi Rodger


 What is Talent

T: What is talent?

The need to work or something we are born with naturally? Maybe we are born with the need to do something we like and that is what we simply call musical talent.

J: I think it is a predisposition for something.

T: Predisposition. Pablo says he has no talent for anything.

Rodger, Hi Rodger is very talented. We all have talent. Please excuse me if I am deviating from your conversation. For me, talent, we are born with it,  but I think it is more of an impulsive need to do something.

J: The desire to do.  Let’s go back to being a kid for now. A child is born and without thinking instinct pushes him/her to do certain things they like more than others. We know that they like to play, but then they grow up and apart from the typical game of playing with others, like with a ball, they have a tendency that differs from their brothers, and other kids, to do something they like more, but I think that is the consequence of the predisposition

T: So the consequence of the predisposition is what we call talent.

The Consequence of the Predisposition

J: Yes for me

T: In all your years as a teacher have you ever come across any guitar student that breaks this line of thought, that was born playing?

Hello Valdemar

J: Do you mean like a person that has a talent as if they have played the guitar a lot before?   

T: Yes that suddenly they do it with ease and play well in a short time.

J: No, I have never seen this in any student. 

T: Pablo says I have 6 brothers and we all like music but only one has reached the goal of being a musician.

T: Johnny said he had never encountered a naturally born self learnt talented student, but yes with a predisposition to play and learn. 

Have I ever had a student that I can apply the phrase to Wow, what talent? Never, but I have had students that I say wow, that’s a hard worker, and does not waste time, and does not think of useless things.They are concentrated on the goal.

They have a good time, they play the instrument with love, they are not stressed. They do not have many mental blocks and if they do, they leave them aside when they play the guitar, and that is what I refer to as musical talent.

Talent is Hard Wired

J: Predisposition? It can be a basic predisposition as you describe, which is the minimum 

you need to move forward, or a great predisposition, or a great talent. It is always a predisposition.

Predisposition is something internal. It is not a conscious awareness. It is something that comes out and you are the first observer that can say wow how good is what I do for example: to make some chairs.

You do not know why, but it works for you. You observe that you have a predisposition to do this, it’s something internal, something genetic.


Talent and Luck

T: This could be true.

This is the range of things we can do in life and it is a matter of luck for someone to stumble upon something they like and our predisposition selects the path. But life is somewhat different, I am not sure what you all think, but very rarely do we have the chance to do what we are designed for.

J: Yes this is what I was talking about before.

First we should discuss and then we can read all the comments later. Hi Juan, welcome.

We all have a talent but it can be very hidden. Another issue is for the person to be aware of it. This is the first step, then the second step is to take the decision to amplify this talent and work kicks in.

Awareness and Work 

So everyone has a talent. Not everyone is aware of it  and when they accept it they can move to the next step which is to work on this talent.

What do you think?

T: Perfect .Now we are at the point where we have to work on this talent, and the talent is music. I love it, I want to work on it, and I have to have a good time playing, that is what it is all about. 

But everything between here and there, other than work, is something else.

How to Achieve the Goal?

How to achieve the goal with a satisfying result? This in between is what fails, where the person is not able to convert their predisposition or talent into something worthwhile.

This talent sometimes is destroyed by a natural self destructive attitude, to not allow us to be,

or maybe guilt caused by the catholic religion as where we are born sinners,

J: or parents, or a bad music teacher. But all of these are excuses,Thomas.

T: Exactly 

J: We are talking about the point where a person recognises their talent but should also respect it. 

T: We are also talking about work, we have the talent, we see it, we are here, and we want to get there and there is all this shit between and we do not look at it. This is also the talent: loving so much what you do that you can ignore the negative stuff.

Or sometimes we learn from it because what we really should be doing is talking about the beauty of life, this is good, it makes us feel good, but no, few people have learnt to do the musical journey, and enjoy it.


Enjoy the Journey

Enjoy the journey. We have been taught to enjoy the result, but you do not enjoy the result of music, you enjoy the pathway to the goal.

J: The same as in any other field there are a lot of external factors that can benefit the capability of the young person to develop their talent, and influence it positively in an environment that is not only the family but social and cultural.

Society Manipulates

Or the other way around, sometimes these factors can make us hide talent. In our culture there is a manipulation, sometimes to keep people away from their center point, their natural balance.

And if their center point is music, this will affect all of their hidden talent, and I see a lot of this in my guitar students. That is something I see a lot, well after 3 decades of teaching music, in proportion I can say a lot of students come to me with a frustration, caused by this situation, and what I first try to do solve the frustration, so the student can approach music, if not it is an impossible mission.

The Bad Teacher 

So through the music, later on we can have that change ,but how many times has it happened to me, maybe also to you Thomas, that a type of student over the age of 25 years of age says, when I was a child I used to play, but I had a teacher that would make me do this and that.

The guitar teacher really is an extension of the parents. It’s really the parents that make the kids do it by taking them to the teacher, and they say I stopped playing, but as an adult once again they remember the call and they want to discover music again. 

Together we slowly untie this knot so they can re approach music. There are some environments that are bad for our musical talent.


Talent, Goal and the In Between

In summary, talent, the goal, we get to the goal, we work hard at it but the work is the environment, we have to create an adequate environment.

J: More than creating it has to be there. I think this is a conscious decision, if a person is conscious of having this talent then it does not matter if they have a good or bad environment

as they will make it work.They are responsible for creating a good environment that will favor their work

T: I am going to add something else.I have a lot of predisposition to music.

J: Yes I have noticed

T: I do not stop, I cannot stop, I am doing music all day long, and this is not a decision but I cannot do anything else, I need it. Now it’s ok but before I used to suffer a lot with music. While I was learning for 20 years, it was a very tough time. 

J: Yes it is very hard work

The Pathway to Learning

T: Yes, let’s say you have a great environment and you start working on your talent  to get to your goal.  
Do we have to repeat something a thousand times? No. 

Do we have to focus on playing very quickly? No, this is very easy. 

In a couple of years you can learn to play fast, it is just technique.

Is it our goal to learn a lot of songs?  to be persistent ? this is easy.

The Difficulty is to Make Music

The difficult things is to: 

J: Make music?

T: To express yourself. It’s not about screaming ,as this is something like applying great pressure to our sensors and after a few seconds you no longer feel anything. 

Music is based upon pulsation, you have to create, flow, push and pull. You have to play soft 

or not.


Anxiety and Panic

So what happens when someone in music expresses themselves in this pulsating manner? 

I used to have a rough time at this stage.This is where anxiety and anguish kick in, fear, panic… 

The goal is to express whatever you want, OMG be free, express the infinity.,This is the point where all that is never spoken of or taught comes to life.

J: Yes we sometimes have to clean up.

T: Yes. So maybe we can add another variable: talent work and cleaning up. 

Cleaning up Emotions

And cleaning is no other than to be a child again. Let’s  be that 4 year old child again, and everything learnt afterwards we eliminate it, everything that was learnt incorrectly. 

I know a lot of musicians of great talent, they play a bit and then go crazy. Like

a friend of mine that would end up in his underpants running around the room or musos that cross the limits with other things. 

So when we work our way into this world of expression, it is easy to encounter a world of fear, anguish, pain, because we encounter things we do not understand. Work is not only something mechanical, it is a personal journey also.

J: I think we are at this second point, where we have clarified our point of view .I would later like the viewers to express their opinion on this matter. 

Music Talent ? Do you Recognise you own ? 

Both of us have agreed that we all have talent, but not all of us can recognise it. We all have different talents even for the same things. Then the second point is that once we are aware we have to work on it.   

There is an internal development we need to get through and external, which is more technical. I agree with you that when we decide to develop our talent, this is a double job. An internal emotional job, that has a direct link to expression and the conflicts that may derive from such, and then a technical development:  instrument know how and music as a study subject.


It is not Easy to Play an Instrument well

It is not easy to play an instrument well. Technique is important, let’s talk about the process. 

T: I think it is very incorrect to focus on technique, but rather the focus should be on the expression and as a tool technique.  I want to express beauty, how do I do it, I want to express less beauty, I want to express vastness.Technique is what I need to develop to do so.This learning has to be like life.

J: Organic  

T: As a consequence of the need for expression.

J: So the rudder on this ship is the expression.That is a very creative aspect,

an artistic value, but not all musicians create art. A musician can be simply a performer.  

When we go on TV to play, to accompany a prize show or something like that, we do it as a job.

Musical Expression

T: But you can still play in a way that you are expressing yourself, flowing. The expression is here and we move towards it.

J: Yes, but it is not the same in a situation like you and me now, or in a theater with a stage, with good sound.

Hi Luis, welcome. Let’s read what our friends have to say.  Pablo says I like music more than the average person. I have tried to learn guitar but I always was bored by the repetition.That is why I think I lack talent which would help me learn better. Luis says as everything, it is about being constant; nobody is born with the knowledge.

There are some great talents, not that many, that are very young and seem to have worked on it for 30 years. Those are geniuses that require less work than we do.

T:  But those are exceptions.They are born with a brain wired for making it happen.

Tips on Bored by Repetition

T: There is something Pablo said now about being bored by repetition. Why do we have to repeat something to learn it?  

J: Yes we do not have to repeat a lot. When you repeat and don’t have a good time, you are doing something you do not like. I suggest for those who wish to start on an instrument or with music to not separate music from life.

Music is inside life. What we all do everyday to survive has the same function and logistics as what we do in music. If you wake up in the morning and do something you do not like and if you repeat this everyday, you will not enjoy yourself.

For example you do not like going to buy bread. You do not like to do this at all and if you do it everyday you will end up hating it. If you do something on the guitar you do not like, it is exactly the same.

I am not saying you do not like the guitar but it is the way you are approaching it. 

I am sure you love the guitar, but this repeating might not be want you want at this stage. 

T: Another thought!

If in your learning you do not have a good time, then you should get a guide, a guitar teacher.

J: That is a good reply, but a good guitar teacher which is not that easy to find. 

T: A teacher that you can ask a question and get the right answer because they listen and understand. 

J:I also think a guitar teacher must listen to you not as one of many, but as Pablo. We each have different needs, so the guitar teacher has to personalize the pathway.

T: In this learning process we might get to that point where we do not like to repeat. Why? Well it could be that you are playing too fast, and if you do it slower there is no need to repeat. It could be a bad posture issue, it could also be the following:


Groove and Repetition

Take note that when we are playing groove we repeat.

J: Yes, but on each repeat it is slightly different.

T: Yes, we are repeating with slight changes. So it is good to repeat but with slight differences and when we do so we fall into a trance. In music there are a lot of repetition but with variations. 

J: Dynamics per note …

Play the Guitar Seeking expression 

T: So we have to learn from the start, to do everything seeking expression. 

Another observation. When I started playing I already knew what I wanted to say because I was listening to it on albums and I was saying to myself I want that. 

I would pick up the instrument but was not getting the feel, so I would repeat and repeat 

but with variations until Igot it right.

Therefore classical musicians that have to repeat the score 4000 times, with exact repetitions until they get it right, what a torture? OMG.

J: They have to like it to avoid the torture, so if you like a bit of torture go for it.

T: I once met a lady that said all classical musicians are all so calm. Well that is no surprise if they have to repeat so much as they end up brainwashed.That was a joke.

There really is no difference between a good classical musician and any other as they memorize the sound and the score and when they repeat they go for the feel.

J: Wait Vanessa is saying something.

How can you grow in music without being affected by criticism?

How can you grow in music without being affected by criticism? It is a world where you need a lot of character. It is very common to hear artists criticize others.

J: This is true.This is a constant in the musical community, there is always a musician criticizing behind your back, this is true.

T: A lot  

J: I do not mind when they do it with me but they never say it to your face.

T: How about if you shave?

J: Why? Do I look bad?

T: Naah, you look great!

J: What’s this about?

T: I was merely criticizing you. 

J: Sometimes the camera disappears but not to worry. So what was I saying? 

T: We were talking about criticism

J: I forgot the thread Ahh..

I do not mind when they say it to me but l do not like it when they criticize and this is independent of their musical expertise.

It is more than that.


In Music it is Accepted that you can Criticize 

There are people that criticize because in music it is accepted that you can criticize. Our cultures induce us to do so.

For example: Imagine that Thomas invites me to eat with a person, and he introduces this person and we have dinner together. It is not so accepted in our culture that when we leave the restaurant I start criticizing this person for no reason at all, about what he eats, how, this is not acceptable. This is rude, it is bad manners.

If someone does it l would ask them to stop. This is what culture tells us but with music it’s different. If I invite a person and we play, immediately afterwards someone will be criticizing my guest.

 I find it annoying, not personally. I do not like it. The lack of respect towards music as an entity.The limitation of this person to express gratitude for music as it is, even if it is badly played, it does not matter. I find this very arrogant but also it is based upon ignorance.

Ignorance Frustration = Criticism

Some people believe music is different to other things.I have always had this feeling.

I am not sure if I explained myself correctly but it is very accepted in our culture to criticize a musician they have just seen.

But no one has asked you anything.

No one is asking you to judge this person.This I find very annoying.

T: This may be the need of the other person to classify, understand, justify their frustration, 

J: What is the purpose? I do not see any constructive value,

For example:I have played with many musicians. I change a musician, a friend comes to see me and once I am off the stage he comes and tells me how this new musician has performed, 

but no one has asked you anything!

But why is music criticisable and we have to do it. I do not understand.Thomas do you understand what I am referring to?

T: Yes I do, when I hear music I only hear nice things because I respect what everyone is doing.

J: Everyone plays, cooks, talks and does whatever they want to and we are nobody to be there judging. 

T: It may be a reflection of individual frustration.They see something and have the excuse  

to let go and express all their frustration in their lives. Simply they are seeing a person who is expressing and doing something they would like to do.  

T: Yes but we can ignore criticism. 

J: Yes it is not that important. Music is something else, music should be above this.

 Play the Guitar not Seeking Approval of Others

T: If you play in a manner where the objective is not to seek the approval of others…

I am not playing so you can like it ! 

Imagine another scenario.We are at home and we invite a friend. Am I going to cook something so he can like it? No way, I will cook something I would like to eat and if I like it and have done it with love I am sure my guest will love it. 

When you do Things with Love you Share   

You share it because you like it. This is what is normal. When you do things with love you share. Whatever comes out is not that important.

J: No, what is important is to share. 

T: If I ask, what do you think? Omg, horrible.. 

I also think that when someone plays the guitar and produces music and is not seeking approval they are simply asking to be listened to, to share.

That’s what I do. I want to have the pleasure of sharing my music with you as if it was a plate of food, so sit down on the table, get a fork and let’s eat. You have to try it and in music you try it by listening to it. 

This is an important factor. The objective is to share and this way I am not aware of criticism.

J: As a kid I was aware of these situations and it was uncomfortable. 

Pablo says: there are some people who criticize and others who look for the positive attributes in others. 

Time to play I Feel Like Making Love

J: Very well. Should we play a song?

T: Yes!

J: We will play a song so you can criticize us a bit.

Whenever Thomas comes to the studio, while we are checking sound we decide what we are going to play, we choose some songs…. 

Hello Jumpy Guitar Hello everyone, hello to both of you,  “I am only myself and the guitar in my hands” George Harrison.Hello Jumpy Guitar, welcome.

Sorry about this as we have a problem with a guitar cable.

OK

So we have My Romance and Feel Like Making Love.

Thomas, introduce the song. 

Careful this is scary. He might hit me.

T: One moment let me fix the camera. 

J: Careful.

T:  I am not going to hit you, I am used to it.

Let me turn off the mic. 

J: Pablo says you need to find a right handed guitarist to play with so they do not hit you.

T: Don’t worry, I have it under control, I won’t hit you. I will dodge it. No problem, there is still a large gap between us. 

J: This is fun. This is a song by Roberta Flack.

T: Flack, Black?

J: No, it’s Flack.

T: I feel like making love to you 

J: to whom?

T: not to you, I feel like making love to you tonight

Flack not black, and this is what work is about.

40 000 or 50000 Study Hours

How many hours have we worked on the guitar for?

J: Yes, the other day, let’s share with them this conversation we had last week after the livestream where we were deciding on what to talk about today: Talent and Work.

Thomas said: I wonder how many hours we have played in our lives, and with a calculator we started adding them up: all the hours we have played the guitar in our lives.

So we choose the start and end date. We also realized that in some periods we would play 10 hours, 12 hours, 8 hours. 

Then we have given a lot of classes, a lot of concerts, rehearsals.

A lot of hours. 

So we decided on a low ball park figure, most probably it would be even more hours. We decided on a 3 hour daily average.

This is very little for us and we calculated that we have played a minimum of 40 thousand hours.

So 40 Thousand is 40 Times a Thousand.

So 40 thousand is 40 times a thousand.

T: Excellent mathematics

J:Pablo says Roberta was black but she was called  flack

T: Let’s get back to the point

One has talent, one studies for 40 thousand hours, one still believes one knows nothing.

J: Exactly and that is what is best. This is success.

I just noticed I can see the number of people connected at a time and I had not seen it until now. It’s taken me 6 weeks to see this. There are 6 people connected at this moment.

Study with Respect Towards Yourself

T: Well going back to the students I have had. I am thinking about those that already started playing well from a young age, because of this predisposition and they spend hours playing,

always playing with a lot of love.

I notice that those who spend a lot of hours playing with beauty and sweetness are beautiful, sweet people, they are wired for work, no shouting, a lot of respect towards others.

If you do not do this you end up burnt in a matter of years and stressing out others, even physically, and with problems as drugs.

When people get to that point where they cannot understand their emotions, they go crazy with music and suddenly they have the urge to limit their actions through hmmm food? 

J: We are going to play another song. 

T: Another song, no more talking?

J: Yes we can chat, do you have something to say?

T: Well, we must have the need to play a lot, and no matter what. 

J: In reality it is very simple.

T: Play with a lot of love and have a good time. 


The Guitar Livestream Summary

J: In summary we all have talent, in something. Some people do not have a talent for music but they do have it for something else.

This is awesome, as this way we help each other.  If you have a talent for wood and you make furniture and I need some furniture, it is good to have people with this talent, so I can buy.

 So Ikea has a lot of talent with furniture?

There used to be a lot of artisans and now that is almost dead, it’s all become factory based. We are artisans. As artisans we dedicate our time to music.

What Would the Planet Be Like if Everyone Followed Their Call and Talent?

T: What would the planet be like if everyone followed their call and talent?

J: Divine? It would be fantastic.

T: It would be very good. People would do only what they have talent for so there would be no need of money.

Maybe?

We would have an interchange of talent, and the value of our talent would result in a social status. 

J: I go to your home to play and you give me a chair made by you, and I sit down there to play also.This would be a chat for another livestream.

T: This is important. For everyone to follow not their dreams but their natural talent. We have to help the person discover it and not let the parents decide.

J: Pablo says I think my talent is English but I would rather prefer music. 

T: Well you have the talent and the predisposition you only need to find your pathway that feels good.

J: Also, music  is not the same for everyone.The amount of space you allow for music in 24 hours is not the same as anyone else.

What is important is for you to enjoy the space you give for music.This is the only important value. 

J: To be social in music will help you enjoy more of it.

T: Music is not made to be alone at home, music is made for sharing with others. 

J: Drawing is my talent. Luis says my talent is drawing but I love music and the guitar more.  

Luis is one of my students.

My Romance in Guitar Duo with Swing 30s style

Now we will play a jazz standard.I think we have not played any jazz standard in any of these 6 last live-streams, so to close off this series we can play a pretty jazz standard.

T: A pretty standard called My Romance, from another movie I believe.

And we are going to play it with a groove, of heavy swing.

J: Old, from the 20s or 30s era.

I live alone and music is playing in my home almost all day long.

T: Ok we are going to play My Romance.

J: Today we improvised and just let go. 

T: Yes we finished with a Christmas version of the song. 

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