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You Are Talented. It’s True.

talent 300x159 You Are Talented. It’s True.Today I want to talk to you about something that I hope will make you feel really good about music.

But I also want to rant for a quick minute.

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a forum online where these cats were talk sh*t about me and my Monster Jazz Manifesto.

You know. Online everyone’s suddenly got an opinion and they’re not afraid to publically sh*t on someone else’s work from behind the safety of their computer screen;-)

Specifically, they were railing on the part where I say something to the effect that talent is not that important. I call it the myth of talent.

They accused me of saying that just to get cats to buy my stuff.

Well, that couldn’t be further than the truth. Obsessing over talent is one of the most destructive and disempowering things a musician can do. I did it. Then I realized it’s bullsh*t.

It’s true that potential can be passed on from your parents. It’s true that some kids seem to learn some things faster than others.

But I’ve seen ‘talented’ kids with perfect pitch get left in the dust by persistent, hardworking kids. Bill Evans himself didn’t think he was very naturally talented. He was consistent, persistent and patient though.

And I think we would agree that Bill Evans is one of the all time great players.

All of our musical skills and abilities are encoded in our brain’s neural pathways. Some of that information can be/was passed on to us from our parents.

But there is this thing called The Plasticity of the Brain which basically means that our brain is constantly changing, growing and developing new and deeper pathways for our ENTIRE lives.

Now, a quote/unquote talented kid most likely has what you would call a strong aural imagination. In other words he/she can clearly hear music in the mind’s ear.

Maybe when he was young he heard a lot of music, so that imagination was just soaking it up. Then maybe he also loved to play around on the piano and pick out some of those melodies he heard in his mind’s ear. Slowly he connected the sound in his imagination to the keys on the piano.

He was basically just doing eartraining.

Fast forward 5 years. He goes to band class and he is able to fly past everyone else in the class. Music is easy to him. He’s just got talent, right?

No. He’s got ‘learned talent’. The fact is that anyone can acquire this same ‘learned talent’ by doing the things he did.

Those early experiences wired in his brain. And the beautiful thing is that anyone, including you and me, can create these same neural connections at any age of our life – be it 18 or 82!

Now, I will admit that perhaps ‘god-given in-born talent’ comes into play when you’re talking about cats like Mozart or weird mathematical prodigies that can recite pi to 7000 digits at age 3.

So, I don’t claim to know how to create or become the next Mozart. But I do believe that each and every one of us is capable of achieving a VERY high level on our instruments and playing deep, swinging, heartfelt music.

Unfortunately, some lazy cats would rather keep on stinking on their instrument and blaming it on lack of talent rather than reevaluating what they’re doing (that’s not working) and trying to figure out what does work.

Tomorrow, I’m gonna hit you with another fancy checklist of things YOU can do to unlock YOUR talent.

And I’m going to show you a simple method to start getting some of that ‘learned talent’ for yourself.

To be continued…

 

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