Elizabeth- I agree totally with both your posts. Talent won’t go any where without hard work, but with hard work, talent will go much farther than less talent making the same effort. We all know people who can learn music faster than you can put it on the stand. We all know people with a finger agility and speed that no amount of practicing by a lesser talent can match. We all know people who can memorize a page of music in 10 minutes, or who can relearn a piece learned years ago in a few hours. Even a person with all of these extroadinary skills will not become a great musician without hard work, and if that person does not have musical understanding, then all those extroadinary skills don’t mean very much. But if you are talking about the most extroadinary musicians on any instrument, they definitely have natural abilities that a lesser musician, no matter how hard he works, will never have. Robert Schuman said,”Talent makes slow and steady progress up the mountain, while genius stands at the summit and looks arrogantly around.”
I’ve read or heard about several studies over the years in which the researcher concludes that there is no such thing as talent. That anyone can achieve the same results. The studies are ALWAYS done by non-musicians, and I usually find that they are collecting the wrong data!