Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

Just wondering because sometimes i feel that my violin would be of more use as a wall hanging sometimes!

It would be wonderful to hear others thoughts and maybe a little inspiration! thanks!

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Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

There is no human being on this planet without any musical ability. Some people just have to work harder for musical success than others. And not everybody can achieve top grades.
BTW. It doesn’t do violins much good to hang on walls. So keep at it.

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Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

i beleive that certain instruments, more suit certain people.
perhaps time spent with whistle, would re enforce your self belief, i don’t think putting the fiddle up for a little, while
would do any harm,so long as it’s not too long. i did this whilst
stuggling with bluegrass banjo, and it worked.
good luck cass

Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

I checked your bio and it says you have been learning violin for 3 yrs, which really is not a long time. Keep at it, have fun, if its frustrating, walk away and come back later. You’ll get it, just keep working at it. There is definitley a "peaks and valleys" syndrome in learning an instrument.

Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

Violin? I thought it was called the Fiddle in our circles. 3 years isn’t a long time for any instrument especially the fiddle. Agree with all of the above, but think that also maybe some people have very well developed parts of their brains which are involved in skills such as listening, motor control spatial, and temporal memory, but mostly it’s to do with dedication (another part of the brain, much bigger and intrinsic in ones personality) There is no such thing as getting good by playing off and on. You either have to be off or on.

Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

Yes, you get good by letting music own you. You have to be music’s b!tch.

It will practise till its fingers bleed!

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Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

I’m sure you didn’t use expressions like that before you moved to London, Matt.
Go and wash your mouth out with Stout and Porter!

Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

i think after 3 yrs on any instrument, some headway should have been made,do you have other musicians nearby, to gauge your progress? find a teacher.

regards cass

Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

Sorry, I guess that was a little too dark for a Sunday morning.

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Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

Gollum, sorry Matt…. no I mean Q, Yes yes yes, it IS our communal Precious, not just yours, matey-o.
I have to say, and not meaning to be disparaging, but at 3 years playing I was up and out at every imaginable session, voraciously increasing my repertoire at sessions, listening to every imaginable tune, busking on the Underground for up to 2 hours at a time, THEN going home to practice some wee twiddly bits,THEN going out to a session. I had an athlete’s mentality which I first switched to climbing, then to something I considered more creative, ie EYE TEA EMM.

Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

Self teach things to do.
No. 1. Listen. Obviously. Listen to as many bits as you can. Become a geek for the wee twiddly bits, rolls, cuts and all that palava, but mostly listen as to how eg, Mr.T. Peoples or Mr. K. Burke or Mr. S.Connolly…how they *carry* a tune. These guys are the supremos, but they would only like to be thought of as delivery boys, bringing the tune right to your doorstep, but doing so with grace…. hmm, in reality maybe not, but that is something like the IDEAL.
No. 2. Spend unjustifiable amounts of time scraping blowing or plucking your precious. It’s unfair to your flatmates, wife/hubby & kids, cellmates, whatever, but it’s up to you to measure up your priorities. To re- paraphrase what I said on another thread recently, you can’t just magic yourself into being Kevin Griffin, or Tommy Peoples, etc, it takes years and years.
No. 3 Don’t Panic. Go to sessions and play what you know. That’s what I do on the box. Fortunately I’m passable (I think!) on the flute, so listeners take that into consideration when they are subject to my screechings and wailings on the DG machine, and hence don’t immediately cut my hands off…been close a few times though.

Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

Welllll, I believe that some people are better at music than others naturally - the same way some people are better at memory games than others, and the same way that everybody else is better at science/maths etc than me. Its unusual for anybody to be brilliant at everything and obviously we all have our strenghts and weaknesses. My weakness being anything related with school oh and beer:)

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Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

Yes, bb, I have a weakness for beer as well…..

Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

LOL, Beebs — yeah, I have to say I agree with the others. That said, of course I have a story rather than something truly helpful. :)

I teach Irish stepdancing. I once spent part of a year — literally almost exactly a year — shut up in a studio with ONE student, trying to teach her how to dance sevens. She just couldn’t seem to get the hang of them. Not only could she not figure out where to put her feet, but she couldn’t seem to hear the beat of the music, to figure out when to put her feet down in a rhythmic way, much less putting emphasis on the correct weight placement to go correctly with the music.

I tried everything I could think of, and she tried SO hard. I sang the step for her along with the (very very slow) music. I had HER sing the step along with the music. I wrote out diagrams of the music to show her where her feet went where, and she took the diagrams home and studied them assidiously. I tried visualizing the steps for her and had her mirror them back to me. We went over those damn sevens for half an hour every single week. It was a basics class, and at our school, until you can perform the step and test out with it, you can’t go any further. She had everything else more or less figured out, but for some reason those sevens really didn’t come naturally. It was so frustrating for both of us, not the least because most people stay in basics an average of a month and a half to two months. But she was determined to pass out of that class.

After about a year, she more or less had the step, and within the next six months, she was actually placing at the feisianna. I was so proud of her. She was an adult dancer, very intelligent, worked in languages and history and IT. She was the only person in her class through the kindness of our TCRG, so she essentially had a private lesson almost every single week that year, working on those sevens.

I honestly believe that this was a rare case of someone truly not being able to hear the musical beat to save her life. I really think that this was someone who didn’t have a musical bone in her body. She got through the rest of the stuff simply by the mathematics of it all. But she was so determined that I couldn’t give her less than my own determination and patience, and she finally got it. She got through her own physical and mental limitations to do it.

So to answer the apparent question, yes — I think music is something inherent to most people, but I think that most people do have the basic ability to catch a beat. But there are people who don’t naturally have it and have to be taught it. I do think that this is very rare, however. :)

Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

Maybe having musical ability is natural, maybe we all start out with it in our un-selfconcious infant state. Maybe the process of learning to suppress our natural instincts to fit in with whatever the current mores of society are damages our music thing, like it damages so much else.

Every kid I know who has been brought up in a ‘musical household’* seems to have great ‘innate musical ability’ (not that they all choose to use it. That can’t be coincidence.

* I mean a household where people sit around and play music in a social way, not a household that has a grand piano and the kids are forced to go to lessons.

Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

Personally, when it’s not working for me, I prefer to hang myself on the wall and give my instrument to somebody else to play.

Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

What is it the pithy, cliche thing say? 10% inspiration, 90% persperation. It’s true people have musical ability like I have math and science ability (as in — not at all) but if they work hard enough at it they can compensate.

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I like the statement about being musics bitch, she really is a bossy litle bugger now isn;t she?

Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

It becomes a struggle between the rational mind and your obsession. As an adult, you can rationalize yourself out of trying with ideas like this, but if you’re obsessed — it won’t matter — you’ll HAVE TO DO IT.

One of the disadvantages in taking up music as an adult is the baggage you bring into it. It’s very easy for adults to talk themselves out of trying when the going gets tuff. As a child you aren’t as concerned with your progress — you just do it because that’s what you do. Children more easily fall into a pattern of lessons and they progress naturally over time. This will work for a while, but at the end of the day it’s still the obsession that decides what actually happens.

I’m not saying that there are aspects of natural ability that will give individuals an advantage over others, but I’m certain there are people out there that have extraordinary musical abilities that were never realized because they lacked the obsession. As a result, there are probably people with lesser natural abilities that became better musicians than the ones with the special abilities because they had the more important obsession that the former lacked.

So I guess what I’m saying is; don’t waste time worrying about this sort of thing. If you’re obsessed – you’ll HAVE to practice… and practice… and practice… and practice… (20 years later)… and practice… and practice… and practice…

Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

The instrument isn’t the be-all-and -end-all in a session.

You are allowed to read,write,listen to and sing music as well.
It seems to be concensus all over The Session, that you don’t need to be able to read or write music, but no matter how good they are, the musician who doesn’t listen to a bit of ITM or do a bit of singing (even privately) is missing out.

Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

Just last night was watching a tv documentary on bluegrass music, and during a segment on Nickle Creek they showed old footage of Chris Theile playing mandolin on stage at the tender age of 7. He was better then than I will ever be on any instrument. In however few years he’d actually been playing, he had already far eclipsed any ability I’ve managed in nearly 40 years of trying to make music.

Sigh. Some people are born with extraordinary musical capacities.

The rest of us can still enjoy making music within our own abilities. If you don’t ooze natural ability, then you have to work harder at it, but that’s true of most things. If it brings you moments of joy, do it.

I also believe that people are drawn to certain sounds and the instruments that make them. If fiddle calls to you, by all means, answer the call. But don’t hesitate to try other instruments along the way—you may find that your brain is wired just right for flute or concertina or harp.

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Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

I don’t think music is a natural ability - but persistence might be :)

Speaking as someone who found it desperately difficult to learn tunes by ear, play with any semblance of spirit, or ever think I would get the hang of it. But you know, if you keep playing, keep practising, keep going to sessions it begins to sink in eventually.

And surely Q *has* been washing his mouth out with stout and porter? Maybe it’s the evil chocolate piranhas talking?

Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

hi. tuff question… there are certain things which are natural abilities. my immediate family don’t have a note and aren’t even terribly fond of it but yet i ended up playing music. i remember it took me about a year and half to learn to play the dawning of the day on the tin wistle. maybe the fact that i was 3 would have something to do with it but still…

what is obvious is that you have a love of music when you’ve been at it for 3 years. that means you’re doing something right when you’re still trying and posting this.

as was said, don’t rule out other instruments. i am the only example in the college of music of someone who can’t sing or even pitch a note but to say i don’t have music in me would be a big lie.

anyhow, real virtuosity in trad is looked down on by most so you prob aren’t doing that badly altogether. hang in there, get a good teacher and you’ll get there soon.

mt.

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P.s.

according to seamus ennis (i think), it takes three seven year periods to become a master piper so thank god you’re not at that!

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Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

I don’t know from natural ability or natural wall hanging either.

Fiddle is a difficult instrument. Going weeks or months without descernable improvement is discouraging. A teacher would be helpful, but what you REALLY need is playing buddies. Buddies are motivating and can teach you tunes. If I knew then…… I’d probably have been begging the piano player at church…..

Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

everyone has the ABILITY but not everyone has the TALENT.
its the talented ones who become the pro’s.
but us humble musicians, just work hard, practice, and have loads of fun along the way…….work as hard as you can fit into your busy daily lives and the results will come with time.

berti
*beginner flute player myself, over one year under my belt now*

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Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

Leigh say in the biog, "I’ve been trying to learn the violin for three years on and off." I think the answer lies in the "on and off" bit

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Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

Thank you everyone for your advice and support. I really appreciate you guys taking the time to reply :-)
Wish i lived near yas so i could come to a session! I agree with everyones comments, Phantom and Danny’s hit the nail on the head about baggage and being unfair to family (and sometimes i liken my fella to a cellmate! Just kidding!!) Another thing i realised is how your background can influence learning, as i have to admit i have not heard of the people mentioned and being so far away is isolating. I had a teacher but never got into the nitty gritty, so i dont know alot about the theory side of things. We just stood there and i tried to play along as best i could. So it did get discouraging when i had not made much progress but theres so much more to learn, not just notes on a page. Will definately find some buddies and keep going at it! Thank you all so much this means alot, i hope i didnt sound like a whiner! sorry about the lingo too, im not in the know. BTW what is eye tea emm? is that the same as ITM, also DG machine??

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Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

Music certainly does comes more naturally to some than others - growing up in a musical environment can help but it’s no guarantee! I’m also convinced that, to a degree, it’s a question of finding your instrument! How many children were told (and believed!) that they had no musical talent because they strugged with the school violin/recorder or whatever was handed to them….?

Your own particular kind of co-ordination comes into it too - how many fingers do you need to produce a note? Wind, keyboard, stringed instruments - bowed or plucked - percussion, all require different co-ordination skills. So look for what suits you - it’ll be out there somewhere!

I found mine …….. B/C button box - my family says it’s perfect for me - it’s totally illogical!

Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

Everyone has a music muscle, and the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.

Some people never got to exercise theirs in childhood, and now the poor thing is emaciated, but it’s still there and with nurturing it will grow.

Re: Is music a natural ability that you either have or dont??

Some unfortunate people are born without any musical ability to speak of. I have a friend in church who couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. But he has rhythm, and sings quietly, so it works OK. Other people can hear the notes, but have no good sense of rhythm. A very sad few draw no satisfaction from music at all, even listening.

But most people have some musical ability (imagine it as a bell curve, if you will), which can be improved with practice to some extent or the other. I feel that I am probably somewhere in this pack, I love music, but my natural talents are modest, and only through perserverance have I developed the ability to play what I do.

And then there are those magical folks, as mentioned above, (at the other end of the bell curve ) that have a gift, and oh it is a joy to hear them.