Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Skill or Talent?

I've been pondering the difference between skill and talent.  Is there a difference?  Or is it more than a "difference"?  Are they more like two completely different things?  I mean, sure, some people have a natural talent for something, but can someone without said natural talent learn to do that thing just as well?  Now that I think about it, I think yes, anyone can learn to play a guitar as well as anyone else.  You can take lessons, you can practice, you can learn to do it.  In my opinion, the muscle movements are not where the magic lies.  Sure, it might be easier for some people, but as long as you have the physical capacity to play an instrument, you could do it (given enough time, lessons and practice, of course).

So why are some people completely mind blowing when they pick up an instrument or open their mouths to sing and others are...well...meh?  I don't think that what I'm talking about here is a skill level issue, I think it's a matter of talent.  Where I trip up though is what is it a talent for?  I do not believe it is just a talent for making sound, but it is most certainly a talent for something.

Technical ability does not create the kind of thing I'm talking about here.  Take, for example, Adele.  She has an incredible voice.  She writes and performs technically perfect (for things created by a human) songs. They are undoubtedly works of art and her performances are commendable.  However, the magic just isn't there for me.  Does that mean I don't think Adele is talented and skilled?  Absolutely not.  She is hugely talented and massively successful.  But, for me (and possibly only for me) she doesn't have that extra something.

Whatever the talent is for, it is as undeniable as it is undefinable.  Another problem with trying to put my finger on it is the fact that it's not the same for every person.  One person might be inspiring and wonderful to another person and mean nothing to me, or the other way around.  It is such an individual and intangible thing, which makes it all that much more special if you ask me.  I have recently found a few artists (musicians, photographers and writers) who have a spark that ignites my spark and what a wonderful thing that is.  I just don't believe that being able to connect to other people through your product (be it music, writing, painting, any art form) is a learned skill.  I think it is something that exists within all of us, it is just a matter of finding the artists that have the talent for igniting your particular spark.

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