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'More Evidence That Music Talent Is Largely Innate'

Posted by - 12:07 PM on 07/08/14
New research suggests that musical talent is largely innate.
Even after taking practice out of the equation, however, "over three-quarters of the genetic variance in music accomplishment remained," they report. This means that the aforementioned "genetically influenced propensities” to practice “are not sufficient to explain all of the genetic influences on accomplishment."

Rather, the researchers conclude, musical accomplishment is determined in large part by “a host of other genetically influenced factors, such as musical aptitude or basic abilities.”
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 18
12:15 PM on 07/08/14
#2
Chemical Love
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I agree. I can't play music for shit and I've practiced, had lessons.
12:46 PM on 07/08/14
#3
FTank
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Yeah, I was pretty sure this was the case even without info to back it up
02:43 PM on 07/08/14
#4
UglyMug
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Ehhhh. I haven't had a chance to read the whole article yet, but being a person who plays and makes music (recreationally), I feel like this isn't true. That's like saying being able to create and solve math problems is something that is innate and only some people can do it no matter how much you learn and practice.. (albiet different, these tasks concern the same fundamental patterns involved with improving ones own trade. In this case learning and practicing)

I definitely never used to think I could play guitar, but once I got older and actually had the ability to put my mind to something I picked it up relatively quickly (with enough practice).
02:53 PM on 07/08/14
#5
incognitojones
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Awesome, looks like I'm gonna make it guys.


Ehhhh. I haven't had a chance to read the whole article yet, but being a person who plays and makes music (recreationally), I feel like this isn't true. That's like saying being able to create and solve math problems is something that is innate and only some people can do it no matter how much you learn and practice.. (albiet different, these tasks concern the same fundamental patterns involved with improving ones own trade. In this case learning and practicing)

I definitely never used to think I could play guitar, but once I got older and actually had the ability to put my mind to something I picked it up relatively quickly (with enough practice).
Music is way way different from math man. And there are really two ways to define talent in music, actual technical ability to play an instrument, and then creative ability to craft a song that is enjoyable for others. While far more complicated and multi-faceted than just playing music, I would argue that the creative process is more innate. Tho you can do things to bolster creativity, and having at least some technical ability is a requirement to use that creative aspect.
02:59 PM on 07/08/14
#6
UglyMug
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Awesome, looks like I'm gonna make it guys.



Music is way way different from math man. And there are really two ways to define talent in music, actual technical ability to play an instrument, and then creative ability to craft a song that is enjoyable for others. While far more complicated and multi-faceted than just playing music, I would argue that the creative process is more innate. Tho you can do things to bolster creativity, and having at least some technical ability is a requirement to use that creative aspect.

Personally, I don't think that the two are two different, man. Being someone who actively deals with both, I see a lot of similarities required within the creativity in crafting a song and the creativity in solving a complex math problem. It requires the ability to think alternative to the normal; which is a skill one can learn. The ability to create a song that is enjoyable to others is not a talent in my opinion, because with that theory, you can't explain the instances where bands/solo artists make music that no longer appeal to their fan base and they become irrelivant.
03:12 PM on 07/08/14
#7
Running
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Music can be entirely math if you want it to be
03:19 PM on 07/08/14
#8
Jason Tate
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Pro-tip: Read the study and science before making "gut" and "feeling" calls ... our entire race would be way better off that way.
03:42 PM on 07/08/14
#9
incognitojones
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Personally, I don't think that the two are two different, man. Being someone who actively deals with both, I see a lot of similarities required within the creativity in crafting a song and the creativity in solving a complex math problem. It requires the ability to think alternative to the normal; which is a skill one can learn. The ability to create a song that is enjoyable to others is not a talent in my opinion, because with that theory, you can't explain the instances where bands/solo artists make music that no longer appeal to their fan base and they become irrelivant.
I'll give you that math problems could need to be solved creatively, especially the complex ones. But with math there is one solution (unless we start talking about theories and stuff blahh). With music there are no limits, you can do anything you want really. So there is some overlap, but would def say music requires more creativity than math. And math requires more technical knowledge than music. But I guess they both require some of both?

And the ability to create a song is definitely a talent, that doesn't mean musicians can do know wrong. Every band goes through a cycle where they peak and then become irrelevant, there are far more complex things at play than just the songs. And even then, are the songs they writing in the same ways making as much of a connection with the audience as they did before? Nothing last forever, which is why the bands that adapt and change have the most lasting relevancy. And it takes far more talent to write a song in different styles than it does to play the same general sound over and over until eventual irrelevancy.
05:55 PM on 07/08/14
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My grandmother toured the world playing bass with West Side Story and played in symphonies and shows all her life. My uncle has composed and conducted symphonies and played cello in orchestras. My dad was all-state choir and made a bunch of albums. I definitely buy into this
06:16 PM on 07/08/14
priceofsilver
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This idea has been around for a while, since the early 20th century at least, but people seem to love to ignore it. It's easier to sell the "all you need is hard work" line rather than giving someone the complicated and disconcerting task of figuring out what their own strengths and weaknesses are.
06:23 PM on 07/08/14
Dizzy23
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I've always thought this. I play the drums and some people literally have zero rhythm. They could never play the drums well.

I consider myself fairly adept at drums, but I'm not near as good at being creative with it as I wish I was. Some people just feel it and can do insanely awesome stuff creatively.
06:34 PM on 07/08/14
saddr weirdr
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The study's method seems vague and prone to confounding variables. How did they take practice out of the equation? How did they account for parental encouragement (which can psychologically have an enormous effect)? In addition, not all practice hours are spent equally efficiently. Quality of training must also be accounted for.

Generally, in twin studies, the best way to ensure validity is to take a set of fraternal twins and a set of identical twins both exposed to the same environment (in this case, number of hours practiced) and compare the variance within each groups. Simply taking fraternal twins and identical twins without ensuring that they indeed practiced the same amount of hours and received the same amount of encouragement isn't sufficient.
06:35 PM on 07/08/14
saddr weirdr
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Pro-tip: Read the study and science before making "gut" and "feeling" calls ... our entire race would be way better off that way.
Same with anecdotal calls. One family's story is completely irrelevant in the big picture.
06:39 PM on 07/08/14
Jason Tate
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The study's method seems vague and prone to confounding variables. How did they take practice out of the equation? How did they account for parental encouragement (which can psychologically have an enormous effect)? In addition, not all practice hours are spent equally efficiently. Quality of training must also be accounted for.

Generally, in twin studies, the best way to ensure validity is to take a set of fraternal twins and a set of identical twins both exposed to the same environment (in this case, number of hours practiced) and compare the variance within each groups. Simply taking fraternal twins and identical twins without ensuring that they indeed practiced the same amount of hours and received the same amount of encouragement isn't sufficient.
That's answered in the study -- linked via the article.

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