Bob Ross on Talent and Practice
Tuesday Quotes are short explorations of music, life, and the daily endeavor of practicing classical guitar. Enjoy!
“Talent is a pursued interest. Anything that you’re willing to practice, you can do.”
Many of us grew up believing that “talent” is something you either have or you don’t. It’s something some lucky people were born with. The rest of us “just aren’t talented.”
But talent is a myth. It’s a fancy word describing the outcome of practice.
A musician playing note-perfect Bach has “talent”. But even if we tie the most perfect knot, no one will ever tell us we have a “talent” for tying shoes. We do it well because we’ve done it enough times to master the skills involved.
Music is the same. If we put in time, we get better. This is true for us all.
That said, some people do seem to have an easier time of it than others.
The people for whom it seems to come more easily are likely very interested in it. They are curious. They ask questions and seek answers.
This heightened engagement makes each lesson come quicker. It makes practice more fun. It leads to more practice, and quicker improvement.
The key to steady growth on our instruments is interest. As long as we stay engaged, we build the skills needed to meet new challenges. These new challenges pique our interest, and a virtuous cycle is born.
Instead of holding back because we lack “talent”, we can instead take responsibility.
We’re either interested and engaged or we’re not. If it’s something we’d like to do, then our job is to get interested and get engaged.
And we do this by looking closer at the details, asking questions, and trying new things.
Hi, I’m Allen Mathews.
I started as a folk guitarist, then fell in love with classical guitar in my 20’s. Despite a lot of practice and schooling, I still couldn’t get my music to flow well. I struggled with excess tension. My music sounded forced. And my hands and body were often sore. I got frustrated, and couldn’t see the way forward. Then, over the next decade, I studied with two other stellar teachers – one focused on the technical movements, and one on the musical (he was a concert pianist). In time, I came to discover a new set of formulas and movements. These brought new life and vitality to my practice. Now I help guitarists find more comfort and flow in their music, so they play more beautifully.
Click here for a sample formula.
Hi Allen, I am a Dutch guy who plays classical guitar (solo and together with a flute player). Unfortunately I have been suffering from focal dystonia since begin 2016. Of course I tried physical therapy which didn't help… But I tried some of your [technique] lessons (I had teachers before but I was never taught your techniques) and to my big surprise the nasty feeling in the back of my right hand which pulls my index finger upward was gone! So now I practice your lessons. Anyway, I am very happy to have found you on the internet. Thanks very much!
~ Arnoud Reinders
I just started level 1C...I was able to look at a Carulli piece, albeit a simple one, and understand it. And that understanding allowed me to play it much more easily on the first run through, and I expect it will allow me to make it fully musical at tempo quite soon. That's a huge personal victory for me. Until very recently my mindset was: "Notes on a page. Jimi didn't need them and I don't either." But I ain't Jimi, and now I want those notes on a page.My work in CGS, even at these early levels, got me to that personal breakthrough. And that's given me more confidence that continued work will get me to greater places in due time. So to answer your question: yes, I absolutely feel like I'm making headway and moving forward in my playing. Thank you for that.~ Matthew Ecker
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