Monday, February 6, 2012


When you watch someone practice or perform, how do you measure their talent? This seems like a simple question at first, but let's take a look...

At first glance, we tend to view someone's talent through OUR lens. We notice what's important to us - what we notice in ourselves. That's only natural. The downfall here is judging whether someone is talented or not based on those limited parameters.

It's not always easy to look at what someone is good at if we're not good at it to begin with. Still, we should endeavor to try and develop that sort of critical eye, in order to get better at it ourselves. Another way to look at it is, imagine someone else viewing you and making talent assessments. You'd want someone watching you to take in the whole picture, right?

There's also the non-performing stuff, the things a person brings to a group that aren't on the stage. It's not something the audience is going to see, but it definitely is an element to be considered. Personality, drum-making, songwriting, experience...those are just a few on the list.

Finally, a lot depends on the group a person is in. If a group doesn't focus on presence and ki, then the players might not look to be talented in that area. It doesn't mean it's not a valid observation, but may simply give a reason for why you don't see it in a performance.

The point of my blog here is two-fold. One, I want you to consider different kinds of "talent" when it comes to watching a performer, and what you may or may not be seeing. Two, I want you to realize that if you ever start getting down on yourself about how "good" you are, think about all the other talents that you bring to your group.

Talent should never be narrowly-defined, whether you're the player or the audience. Keeping your eyes, ears, and mind open is the best way to hone your observation skills - which is something good to be talented in!

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