Tag Archives: music practice

Don’t Wait to Feel Inspired

Story of the Day for Friday July 29, 2011

Don’t Wait to Feel Inspired

                     All hard work is profitable, but mere talk leads to poverty. 

                                                                  Proverbs 14:23

 Johann Sabastian Bach is considered one of the most talented musical geniuses of all time. Maybe so. But Dr. K.Anders Ericsson, one of the world’s foremost experts on genius and natural talent has discovered something surprising.

 

But, first, let’s go back to Bach. Young Johann was surrounded by musical relatives. An orphan at the age of ten, he moved in with his oldest brother, who was an organist and composer. At fourteen, he studied music for two years near Hamburg.

At seventeen, he walked 250 miles (one way) to study for four months under the greatest organist of the day, Dietrich Buxtehude. He overstayed his visit by three months.

Bach’s passion to learn music was so intense he would stay up late to copy the works of great composers by candlelight – to better internalize the works of the masters.

Once hired as a musician in Leipzig, he composed a new cantata for every Sunday and feast day of the year.  Bach’s compositions total 1127 – and this doesn’t account for his many works that have been lost.

 

Is there such a thing as innate talent?

Well, what kind of a stupid question is that? Of course there is.

Yeah, well, have you heard of the work of Dr. K. Anders Ericsson, a professor at Florida State University?  Ericsson joined two colleagues at Berlin’s Academy of Music, and, had them divide the school’s violinists into three groups: expert, good, and acceptable. All the musicians were asked the same question: over the entire course of you career, how much have you practiced?

Those in the highest category practiced about 10,000 hours, those in the middle group around 5000, and those in the least accomplished class practiced only 2000 hours.

Ericsson looked to find “naturals” – musicians so talented they excelled without great effort, and “grinds” – musicians who practiced harder but never excelled.

He couldn’t find either.

Those accepted at the music academy obviously had musical talent. But the only factor that determined achievement from that point was not genius, talent, or inspiration, but how hard each student worked.

 

Don’t wait to feel inspired to pray or read Scripture. Don’t wait to feel inspired to do anything. Just do it. Hard work isn’t the enemy of God’s blessing, but one of the conduits to receiving it.

 

“I have worked hard,” Bach said to sum up his achievements, “anyone who works just as hard will go just as far.”

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)