Thursday, July 25, 2013

Question Everything: Talent

I wrote a post last year here about looking at talent through your own lens and how that lens can warp where you see talent.  But what are you seeing when you see "talent"?

Imagine a group lines up a bunch of naname (slant stand) drums in a row and plays them in a line of people, moving down that line.  They strike well, but they look uncomfortable, both unfamiliar with the song and with the kata.  Are they talented? 

The twist here is that this happened when Kodo came to our studio a long time ago and played one of their member’s local songs.  Most of them didn’t know it and were picking it up quickly, but naname isn’t a style that Kodo does much (if at all). 

So if you see someone who’s not dazzling you on a particular instrument, does that mean they’re not talented?  And does talent, in terms of performance, only apply to the in-your-face stuff like spins and twirls and jumping about?

If someone doesn’t have the fastest hands or the flashiest moves, are they less talented than the people that do?  What if that person holds a really steady tempo and/or never gets off the beat?  It may not wow the crowd, but it’s equally impressive.  That’s a talent.  There’s also a talent in recovering after a mistake, either so the audience never notices or showing poise under pressure.

Is remembering how old songs used to go a talent?  Is being able to play a different solo each time a talent?  Is making people smile when you make eye contact with them a talent?  Is inspiring people through being genuine on stage a talent?  Of course these are talents, but do we recognize them?

Next time you watch a performance, can you see what talents people have that aren’t readily apparent?

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