Genetic Musical Ability

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by FattoneTele, Dec 18, 2016.

  1. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    4,914
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    It's somewhat of a mystery to me why people are so anxious to have there be a a human nature and have it count for a lot. Imagining that you are confined by your nature is basically imagining or asserting unfreedom. Why is it important to imagine yourself constrained by a "natural" box? Insisting on "human nature" as the basis of this or that behavior is generally a way of shrugging the shoulders and dismissing explanation: it's often a way of justifying the status quo.

    Clearly we have different physical capacities and probably different mental capacities, but we generally judge people by what they make of the hand they are dealt, rather than insisting that the really important thing about them is the hand they were dealt.

    The "american dream" is basically that "no one needs to be confined by the circumstances of their birth." Insisting on genetics or human nature as a foundation of self is in that sense "un-american:" it emphasizes the circumstances of your birth over what you made of them.

    It's human nature to make art; it's human nature to be indifferent to art-making. it's human nature to be religious; it's human nature to be skeptical of religion. It's human nature to make war: its human nature to make peace. it's human nature to compete: it's human nature to co-operate. It's human nature to hate difference: its human nature to be fascinated by difference.

    People do all these contradictory things and always have: so what in the world is the value of talking about "human nature" when human actions are so inconsistent?

    I'd agree it's in the nature of people to make culture, and that's what matters.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2016
    songtalk and FattoneTele like this.
  2. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    12,620
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Location:
    victoria b.c. CANADA
    I see this 'trait' in SO many people....I express it this way..."what I'm thinking must be true because I'm thinking it".....it's a logical loop that has no obvious intrinsic way out....unless something fairly dramatic external to that mind gives it a bump. I see this in the majority of people I would say. "The proof that what I'm thinking is true is that I'm thinking it".....it's rampant!!
     
    telemnemonics and FattoneTele like this.
  3. MandyMarie

    MandyMarie Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,855
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    The ability to think up a great melody is what makes someone a great player IMO. If someone can hum the solo you created, you've done your job - there's thousands of truly wonderful guitar players out there....but there's not many that can create a melody that's going to stick with you.

    Playing melodically and serving the song is the ultimate goal, IMO, and that's not something you can learn. I could learn all of John's "licks" with enough time and practice....but I'll never be able to *think* the way he did. It's not fair ;-)
     
  4. Dean James

    Dean James Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    394
    Joined:
    May 13, 2016
    Location:
    Podunk, New England
    Genetics can help, I think. Stronger, more refined ear–mind–hand connections? Better cerebral audio processing?

    Eye–mind–hand seems to run in my family. I'm a professional graphic artist & illustrator, have been for many years. My brothers & sister can all draw well. My father could draw well & worked as a machinist, a tool & die maker, which involves needing to visualize inside-out & backwards. He also was a lapidary, a gemstone-faceter, as a hobby. There's a bunch of craftspersons.

    I even have a first cousin, once removed? Twice removed? He's from the late 1800s–early 1900s & was a well-known American Impressionist painter. One of his pieces hangs in the US Presidents' Oval Office.

    I dearly love music, but making it does not come naturally to me. It doesn't to anyone in my family. We can't sing, either. I can barely think of anyone else who ever played an instrument, only an older gentleman from when my mother was young, who played fiddle. He may have been an uncle & thereby unconnected genetically.

    Of course, one still has to practice until the fingers bleed.
     
    moosie and FattoneTele like this.
  5. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    9,087
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca
    "Serving the song" doesn't really have anything to do with learning licks or chord voicings or whatever. It's about experience and paying attention. You have to love music enough to pay close attention to what works and what doesn't - and of course that's all relative (style, era, genre, etc.). You have to fail, be able to tell that you've failed (maybe take some direction), correct course and then learn from that. That takes a lot of dedication and effort.

    One of the most elucidating listening experiences I've ever had was/is listening to the Beatles Anthology that came out in 1995 (documentary and CDs). Besides all the great things you get to hear in their creation 'process' is that you also get to witness the mis-steps, the bad ideas that never made it to the record. They got better as they gained more experience.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2016
    brookdalebill and FattoneTele like this.
  6. prebend

    prebend Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    544
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2013
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD, USA
    I learned to play melodically. The more scales, intervals, arpeggios, solos and licks I learned, the more melodically I played. The more music I listened to and transcribed, the more melodically I played. I'm learning new ways to create melodies all the time.
     
    FattoneTele, songtalk and klasaine like this.
  7. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    15,505
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2010
    Location:
    Up North
    I reckon you do!
    I hope you do them PROUD!
     
    FattoneTele likes this.
  8. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    9,087
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca
    I'd like to personally thank Fattone Tele for being the catalyst to such a great and informative discussion.
     
    songtalk likes this.
  9. songtalk

    songtalk Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,715
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2014
    Location:
    Greensboro, North Carolin
    Yes, this thread is good.

    @BorderRadio I just wanna clear one thing up and then we can go back to discussing the valuable ways to approach learning.

    I do not think an animal dominant nature excuses or necessitates immorality. On the contrary.

    Let's say a person is diagnosed with an antisocial disorder of some sort. If they come clean with the people close to them and make an effort to deal with it through professional help, they are doing the best they can and we can agree they are good. If they hide the information, refuse to seek help and inflict harm, they have made a bad choice leading to the clouding of their character.

    I think our animal instincts are kind of like that. We have to ackowledge their existance and combat their influence at difficult times (when people offend us, things surprise us, we are unhappy) to keep our human nature rolling strong. I don't know how to better put it. I see a lot of allegory in many things for this internal bio-psycho-social struggle.
     
    BorderRadio and FattoneTele like this.
  10. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    54,534
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2009
    Location:
    Kelowna, BC, Canuckistan
    My animal nature is better than my human nature!
     
    maxvintage, FattoneTele and songtalk like this.
  11. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    50
    Posts:
    16,075
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2012
    Location:
    Seattle
    That kid's a trip.
     
    noah330 and FattoneTele like this.
  12. FattoneTele

    FattoneTele Tele-Meister

    Age:
    18
    Posts:
    171
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2016
    Location:
    Jena, LA
    No problem. I'm glad it brought on so much discussion.
     
    klasaine likes this.
  13. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Posts:
    16,702
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2006
    Location:
    Iowa City, IA
    As teachers, do your teaching strategies account for differences between students with innate ability and those without, but who practice diligently and intelligently? How do you determine whether a student's success is due mostly to innate ability or dedicated practice? How do you determine if somebody just starting out has innate ability or not?
     
    FattoneTele and songtalk like this.
  14. songtalk

    songtalk Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,715
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2014
    Location:
    Greensboro, North Carolin

    I think in about a week I can gauge if a person (edit: I should have said "beginner") has aptitude. I can simply ask them how much they practice to determine whether it's innate ability or practice responsible for their progress.....maybe?
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2016
    FattoneTele likes this.
  15. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,110
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Location:
    Maryland
    TDPRI needs some Herbie the Love Bug, Green Day and having relationships with Chipmunks threads.

    Nathan, come back mate! We need you!!!
     
    FattoneTele likes this.
  16. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    9,087
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca
    I have found that 90% of the time, when a student isn't getting it - they're practicing wrong and/or not enough.
     
    FattoneTele likes this.
  17. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Posts:
    16,702
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2006
    Location:
    Iowa City, IA
    I don't recall any of my beginning students blowing me away right off the bat. They all sounded about the same, at the very beginning. Once in awhile, I would have a student who veered off into his/her own direction, picking out tunes by ear, developing novel techniques, etc.

    I had my own experience with being independent as a learner. Our family got a piano, and after its delivery, a neighbor showed my parents where the written notes were played on the keyboard. She had made a piece of paper that would line up with the keyboard and show the note names. But, this all happened late at night, while I was trying to sleep on the other side of the wall. I got up early the next morning, and was able to read some simple pieces of music. I remember waking up my parents to show them.

    I signed up for lessons right away (5th grade, right around the time of the JFK assassination). I was very excited about the whole enterprise, and tried to hijack the lesson the minute I sat down. I went through a little list of the things I had already figured out on my own. The lessons themselves were fine, but I tended to focus on my own stuff.

    I soon learned to cobble together things from different pieces of music to create a sort of mix n match hybrid of Beethoven and boogie-woogie. After a while, I developed a magnetic attraction to pianos sitting unused in a room, somewhere. It needed to be played, and became something of a micro-obsession of mine, where I would sit (or stand) and make up something based on what I already had figured out about how music worked. I did this every time I saw a piano in a school or church that wasn't being played. One of the older guys in our church was an amateur organist, and had noticed what I was doing. One day in a youth group meeting, he told the class that, while a girl in our church could play music very well off the printed page, I evidently had a gift from God that allowed me to make up stuff on the fly.

    Anyway, that's my story. My so-called gift from God was really just intense curiosity about sound and music. When I started playing guitar several years later, I would begin working out my own exercises and lessons, so that I could try out and hear how certain things sounded. That was, and still is, the main reason I practice. Curiosity.

    Right now, I kid you not, I have been typing this while standing at the dining room table, eager to go back upstairs to listen to some stuff that I composed this afternoon, before taking a nap. I love music. Every day, there's something new.
     
  18. Vibro Chimp

    Vibro Chimp TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    35
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2016
    Location:
    Upper Left USA
    Clearly, many people are uncomfortable with the notion of human nature. And yet, any parent who has raised two or more kids knows that children are born with different temperaments, aptitudes, personalities, etc. One kid may excel in math while another excels in reading; one kid may be an introvert while his sister is an extrovert; and so on. The parents of those kids will tell you that no amount of parenting will turn one kid into the other one.
    Nothing wrong with "human nature". It is society's duty to treat us as equals, despite our unique differences.
     
    P Thought and FattoneTele like this.
  19. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    54,534
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2009
    Location:
    Kelowna, BC, Canuckistan
    +1. Equals, but not the same, not interchangeable.

    I used to think that I was in change of myself, that I could chose how to think and behave. When I realised I was on the autism spectrum, I started noticing more and more behaviour consistent with that. Now I see that we are a mix and it's hard to separate the two, nurture and nature.
     
    BorderRadio and FattoneTele like this.
  20. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    12,620
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Location:
    victoria b.c. CANADA
    I can't understand why the notion of there being something called 'human nature' would seem offensive to some people or even non-existent.....it's presence seems to me simply self-evident. I can't imagine that anyone would argue there is observable dog nature or cat nature or horse nature.....how is the human animal any different? And why would it be viewed negatively? Of course within the broad scope of that 'nature' there is a vast realm of how that nature is displayed through thought and behaviour in any given individual....but it is there none the less. Being human comes with attributes plain and simple and they are neither intrinsically good nor bad....it's how those attributes are directed by belief (learning) as to whether they cause harm or create healing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2016
    FattoneTele likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.