Is Musical Ability Natural or Learned?

Often times, you'll hear a non-musician say that they just haven't been given the gift. Do you believe that musicians are gifted, is it the never ending debate on nature versus nurture? Can anyone be taught how to play or are musicians born with a special ear?

In our opinion, everyone has the ability to make music - they just need to find their instrument. Often times, in past decades, people are brought up to learn an instrument that doesn't jive with them - say they are forced to play violin in third grade and just because that particular instrument doesn't "click" with them - doesn't mean that they don't have it in them.
283-pai3819-chim.jpgPsychology of Well Being touches on this topic in their discussion on talent. They state "Gary Marcus, a psychology professor at NYU, was one of those poor souls born without a knack for music. But as a psychology professor he was familiar with a variety of research on skill development. Carol Dweck’s research on “Mindset” for example, which shows that people who believe that skill can be developed will be far more successful (evidence supporting the old saw, “whether you believe you can or can’t, you’re right”). Or Anders Ericsson, who found that what separates the experts from the amateurs (in any field) is about 10,000 hours of deliberate practice."

"Marcus decided to put it to the test in a personal way, and set out to see if a person with no musical talent could become a musician. He’s written a book about his journey, appropriately titled “Guitar Zero,” a reference to both his initial lack of talent and his addiction to the game “Guitar Hero,” which perhaps laid the foundation for his musical journey."

The first key is letting your fear go and allowing yourself to make mistakes. This is the only way to sift through all of those disastrous scales and not-so-cute tones. You've got to gift yourself the time that it takes to learn and smooth all of that out.

Interestingly enough, a recent Melbourne study stated "Only five percent of people (in the West) who go through tertiary music education end up playing music, the University of Melbourne associate professor said. On the whole, music education has created an elitism around music performance that has caused the normal person to feel that they can’t play, he said."

It's easy to witness incredible players and just assume that you'll never be on their level. They make it look effortless but what you don't see is all of the blood, sweat and tears behind the scenes.

We truly believe that someone needs to find their voice, be it in a certain instrument, a genre, a musical wave. Discovering that niche will truly make or break your ability to tap into that which is already brewing within you!