Saturday, June 6, 2015

THE MOZART MYTH--- Talent is Overrated

Wolfgang’s first four piano concertos, composed when he was eleven, actually contain no original music by him. He put them together out of works by other composers. He wrote his next three works of this type, today not classified as piano concertos, at age sixteen; these also contain no original music but instead are arrangements of works by Johann Christian Bach, with whom Wolfgang had studied in London...

Mozart’s first work regarded today as a masterpiece, with its status confirmed by the number of recordings available, is his Piano Concerto No. 9, composed when he was twenty-one. That’s certainly an early age, but we must remember that by then Wolfgang had been through eighteen years of extremely hard, expert training.
~ Geoff Colvin from Talent is Overrated

Wolfgang Mozart was born a genius, right? Just kinda fell out of the womb and started composing crazy great stuff, right?

Might want to re-think that one.

First, consider the fact that Mozart’s dad, Leopold, was a famous composer who LITERALLY wrote the book on how to teach children music. He’d been practicing for years with Wolfgang’s older sister and got to work with little Wolfgang around the time most little doods are getting potty trained.

Long story a little shorter, when you look at his career, you’ll see that, as Colvin points out above,  Mozart put in EIGHTEEN years (!!!) of remarkably diligent training before he created something truly extraordinary.

As Carol Dweck (the Stanford researcher and leading authority on motivation and achievement) asks in her great book Mindset (see Notes): “Is it ability of mindset? Was it Mozart’s musical ability or the fact that he worked till his hands were deformed? Was it Darwin’s scientific ability or the fact that he collected specimens non-stop from early childhood?”

Talent is overrated. Long live hard work! :)