No such thing as talent...

Discussion in 'Music Ministry' started by Aaron, Sep 23, 2006.

  1. Aaron

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    A talent is a unit of weight or money, but an erroneous application of Matt. 25:15-28 is at the root of our thinking of talent as an innate ability, or worse, as a spiritual gift. No where is this more evident than in our thinking concerning music.

    But does musical talent really exist? When investigated scientifically, the data seems to suggest that talent is a myth.

     
  2. LeBuick

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    I disagree with the study, where anyone can be tought to play the right notes and to get them on the right beat, when one has a true talent they have a way of placing their soul in the music they play. This imparting of soul "signs" the music and makes it that of the musician. Many have played Motzart, none can play it like Motzart. Some may be better but none contain his unique signature.

    Artist are the same way. I am intrigued how one can determine the true artist by the brush stroke or minor subtleties unique to the artist.

    As for the parable, I think you're focusing on the wrong part of the parable. It doesn't matter if the talent is a glass of water, the essence of the parable is what you do with it. Not what you have.
     
  3. TaterTot

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    As a music teacher, I have to disagree with the study to an extent. I can teach "most" people to match pitch with their voice or to play notes mechanically to a certain point. But some people just have an inborn gift. You can't teach it.
     
  4. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Nature or nurture? I say sometimes it is nature, sometimes nurture, and sometimes a little bit of both. Mozart composing the Magic Flute at the age of five (I think) is pure talent. The kid whom I taught to play trombone at my first school when he was the worse player in the band and then became the best player in the band was nurture. He was willing to work hard and I was willing to help him. I, myself, was a little bit of both. I had some talent, but was certainly no where on the same level as Tony Baker or Sim Flora. I took the talent I had and worked my rear off and had lots of help from my teachers. There is a such thing as talent. Come visit my beginning band class sometime and I will prove that to you.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  5. LeBuick

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    Good points Tator and Joseph, what about all the musicians who never took a lesson or can't read music but are truely gifted musicians?
     
  6. TaterTot

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    Course, this issue has always bugged me. The parable of the talents is not referring to the kinds of talents we are referring to. And it really bugs me when spiritual gifts and talents are used synonymously
     
  7. TaterTot

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    And what about blind folks and/or retarded ones that cannot carry on a conversation with you, but can play the fire outta a piano. I know of one, and its truly an amazing experience to hear him play and sing.
     
  8. Dale McNamee

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    There's No Such Thing as Talent

    Dear Tater Tot,

    You wrote: " And what about blind folks and/or retarded ones that cannot carry on a conversation with you, but can play the fire outta a piano. I know of one, and its truly an amazing experience to hear him play and sing."

    Last night, the Discovery Health Channel had a show titled: "Musical Savants" that showcased two "musical savants" from Britain,named Rex & Dex. The show followed them as they went about their daily routines and how they were able to play music at a skill level that astonished their music teachers.

    Yet,when they were away from their pianos,they would withdraw into their "inner worlds". What Dex & Rex appear to have is a form of autism with its attendent behaviors.

    Other "musical savant" children were also showcased and in one scene, Rex,Dex, and the three other others all improvised on songs together,
    which was amazing,given their situation.

    Dex was also shown listening to a musical piece played various ways and was asked as to what emotion was being displayed (happy,sad,angry) and he was able to lable the "pieces" appropriately.

    The show ended with Dex & Rex going to Las Vegas and their exposure to a "new" world and getting used to playing with other musicians and hearing other instruments (drums,bass,sax,trumpet,etc.). They were playing a benefit concert for a foundation studying neurological diseases.

    Dex was more comfortable than Rex with performing in public and getting applause,but Rex quickly relaxed and played great.

    Both Dex and Rex are blind as well.

    Regarding blindness,talent,and training... There are many great musicians and singers out there: Ronnie Milsap,Ken Medaema,Andreas Botticelli,Stevie Wonder,Art Tatum,Ray Charles,etc. and while they may have had an innate musical talent,it took a great deal of training and nurture to develope it.

    Imagine learning the basics (scales,rudiments,etc.) and not being able to see what you're doing!

    As for the mentally retarded and music, here is an organization that deals with teaching drumming and percussion to them:
    The Rhythm Arts Project :
    http://www.traponline.com/

    Also,here's another article regarding the same:

    "Working With Challenged Students" by John Jamison : http://www.vicfirth.com/education/articles/jamison.html

    In closing, in my own experience as a musician,it is talent,training,and "playing time" that makes for being a skillful musician!

    In Christ,

    Dale

     
    #8 Dale McNamee, Sep 25, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2006
  9. ccrobinson

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    Thanks so much, Aaron, for posting an article denigrating those of us who do have an innate talent.

    I've got an example that goes against the findings of the study. Me.

    I didn't start playing piano until the 5th grade. My sister started taking lessons about a year before I did and my parents didn't have a piano in the home until she started. I don't remember hearing my parents ever sing around the home.

    No disrespect to her, because she knows this is true, I can and have always been able to play circles around her.

    If the point is to say that innate musical talent shouldn't be compared to the talents described in the parable, I've always thought that anyway. But, other than that, I find the point of the OP to be offensive.
     
  10. Joshua Rhodes

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    I've never heard this passage preached as anything but talent = weight/money. Have I missed something?

    I have a talent for music. It's always come relatively easy to me, much more so than math or other academics, or even (for example) painting. But my spiritual gifts are not musical... they are in evangelism and teaching. So I use my talent, in this case music, to help further my gifts of outreach and teaching. But I've never heard otherwise.
     
  11. LeBuick

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    No, I bellieve talent was used symbolically to say when God gives you something, anything, could just be a blessing or two. It is given to you to be used in his service and not burried to be returned to him. God has it or he could not have given it to you.

    Why would God give you money? Because someone is in need somewhere...

    Music in your case is a talent and you use it to edify his saints and to lead others to the knowledge of his son. Yes, that is a ministry or teaching but it is also a gift from God.

    I own a piano and have tried for years to play it, I do not have the gift. Our musician has never taken a lesson in his life. Doesn't know one note on a page or what key the song is in but he is one of the best musicians I've ever heard.
     
  12. ccrobinson

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    I have. I've heard it preached as a warning that if you don't use what God gives you for him, he'll take it away. I thought it was nonsense then and think the same today.
     
  13. Bro Tony

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    Anyone who says there is no such thing as talent, must of been listening to me when I sing in the shower.:smilewinkgrin:

    Bro Tony
     
  14. LeBuick

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    Why would God need to give you money? Why would he care what you did with money?

    Mt 22:21 They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.

    Mt 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
    20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

    I think you're missing the target if you limit this to money...
     
  15. Aaron

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    The bottom line is this, no one excells in anything he doesn't work at. Music can be learned and mastered by the most degenerate of us, like bricklaying. That fact alone shows that it is not a spiritual gift, but a natural ability, and nothing special even as far as natural abilities go. But we esteem musicians more than bricklayers because of how music can affect our emotions.

    Many people (most people actually) mistake their natural emotional responses to music as a "move of the Spirit." This is the principle error in Charismania, and the driving force behind CCM.
     
  16. UnchartedSpirit

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    talent is a double edged sword indeed. I believe God has "equipped" you for a certain niche in life to do, but it's your choice as always to follow it. The tricky thing is that gift is also engrained genetically, so someone may be good at something they don't like becase God had blessed a prior relative for it.

    Also, the anaology of 10 vs 5 vs 2 talents may not mean how many gifts we have, but how much of that gift is instinct to us. For the anaolgy listed here we have musicians who are born knowing pitch, harmony, melody, but some have been called to be music leaders with only have pitch, or melody, engrained in them. They will have to work harder to get to be a "10" level musician, but what God was probably saying is that we shouldn't be discouarged if we only have a bit of insight into a career or trade, not to use it to invest and store that gift as a heavenlt treasure.

    I was born a writer and composer myself, I've been doing it since I was five. I got to like visual media and drawing a few years later, and I'm sticking to those. I haven't gotten everything like some artits, witers, or musicians I've grown up with. I had to spend much more time to learn storytelling, I still haven't gotten pitch myself, and I'm still studuing the figure in anatomy and poprotions. It's a good thing that I'm headed into the animation industry because I get to use a bit of these talents: Drawing, writing, acting, music is extra (I may just call it a hobby, but I still want to write music), and I can now take all these things and give it to God, who invested those instincts into me for his glory. Gosh, just revealing all this all of a sudden has greatyly relieved my current disposition!
     
  17. rbell

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    Holes in your theory:
    • "Tone deafness"--source this is an innate inablility to carry a tune.
    • Prodigies: those once-in-a-millenium gifted folks such as Mozart. Yes, they had prodding musically, but it certainly went deeper than that.
    Of course there is such a thing as "musical talent." To suggest otherwise is silly. God, in his creativity, created us with abilities in some areas, and lack of such in others. Having said that, I do agree with you that "talent" in the parable is a unit of money, not our modern-day definition.

    But of course, Aaron, you have an ulterior motive in this post--as all your posts do--and that is to denigrate CCM.

    And since the cat is out of the bag, I have heard many folks "get fired up" when a traditional song is sung well in a traditional/fundamentalist/whatever kind of service. I'll go along that someone's good performance musically does not equal "the moving of the Spirit."

    But God can use music to draw others to Him.
     
  18. UnchartedSpirit

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    ccm =contemporary christian music? am i at least intelllgent enough to figure that out?
     
  19. Pipedude

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    Even two brothers will evidence a marked difference in ability when a music teacher teaches them both. It's not just that one works harder or has more desire; he simply has it in him. Every music teacher sees this innate ability at different levels in different students.

    Even still, except for some kind of genius the likes of which I've never met, the best musician will be the one who works the hardest in addition to having some talent. This is why I get very irritated when someone comes up to a pianist after a brilliant performance and gushes "the Lord has given you such a gift!" Certainly even breath itself is a gift from God; but I've always wanted to challenge such gushers with the query "If it is a gift, why did she have to slave away for thousands of hours in order to do what she did tonight?"

    I heard an anecdote of someone who said to a famous violinist "Oh, I'd give my life to be able to play as you did tonight," to whom he replied "That's just what I did."
     
  20. Bro. Curtis

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    I've often said, if music is a gift, where can I return it ?
     

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