Talent is not an inborn thing

“Talent is a word that grown-up people have found to describe a quality once it’s there and everyone knows that it’s there. Therefore, talent is not an inborn thing.”
~ Moshe Feldenkrais (p.122)

I loved reading this interview! Here are some points on the concept of ‘talent’ made by Moshe Feldenkrais in an interview with Joanna Rotté:

“If you can discover talent at the age of three days and tell me that this child is going to be a general and that that child is going to be a mathematician, then I will know what talent means. We talk about talent once it’s there, not before.” (p.122)

“It’s not an inborn thing. The only inborn thing is tissues and a brain that’s capable of learning. The talent is inculcated. You cannot be a talented pianist without ten or twenty years of playing music at a piano. You can only say that to be talented at something you must be interested in it. Because if you are not interested in music, you won’t have the patience or won’t find the time to practice some ten hours every day as many talented pianists need to do.” (p.123)

“And by the way, if you think about this a little bit, does a talented musician also not have to have somewhere in his guts a desire for the public to hear him? And why does a talented musician want a public? Why can’t he learn to play the piano and go to the seashore and play for himself?.” (p.123)

“A talented pianist must have an audience that can understand that talented pianist. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be able to sustain the capacity to practice for ten years. For what? And who would build pianos if there were not a public interested in hearing the piano? When somebody can play so that the public is interested, he then has the potential to develop into a genius – and be given a lot of money, and so on.” (p.124)

Ref: (emphases in blue bold mine) ‘Feldenkrais Revisited: Tension, Talent, and the Legacy of Childhood. Interview with Joanna Rotté’ pp.113-125 Ed. Elizabeth Beringer (2010) Embodied Wisdom: The collected papers of Moshe Feldenkrais. Somatic Resources: San Diego, California

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About backyardbooks

This blog is a kind of electronic storage locker for ideas and quotes that inform my research... literary research into fiction for young adults (with a special focus on New Zealand fiction). Kiwis are producing amazing literature for younger readers, but it isn't getting the academic appreciation it deserves. I hope readers of this blog can make use of the material I gather and share by way of promoting our fiction. Cheers!
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