Skills are different from abilities, you have to work at them to achieve anything. Someone (Usain Bolt) may be born with the ability to run really fast, but no one ever just sat in front of a keyboard and wrote a critically acclaimed book. To be skilled in something you have to work at your craft until it appears as though it is an ability.
Look at The Beatles, the fact they appeared on the music scene with this amazing ability to write hit after hit ignores the fact that they spent many hard years honing their skills in bars in Hamburg and Liverpool.
I’m often complimented on my ability on a computer, but I have spent many hours over many years on them. Being able to do fancy things in Excel is not a superpower, it’s practice.
Of all the skills I wish I had the one I want the most is to be musical. I was learning to play the trumpet at school but, being young and impatient, wanted to go straight from making a noise to playing in a philharmonic orchestra. In fact I still have that problem now, I don’t want to put in the hard work…I want the instant gratification. I want someone to put a disc in the machine and ‘know kung-fu’.
I would love to play the piano, be able to sit and play a 30 minute piece of music from memory. I can type really quickly so why can’t I easily transfer those skills across to a different kind of keyboard?
I’ve tried to play on a musical keyboard, it was part of our required music lessons at school. All I have been able to come away with is the ability to play a few pieces of Pachelbel and Beethoven, and both only with the right hand and the first bars. I mean I have pretty much mastered the first 16 seconds of this:
As well as memorising the E-E-F-G-G-F-E-D-C-C-D-E-E-D-D-E-E-F-G-G-F-E-D-C-C-D-E-D-C-C to play one of Ludwig’s best. Instead of being immortal beloved I end up more:
In the end the problem is one of patience and practice. I want to be able to play a piano to virtuoso standard now, and not have to learn my scales and arpeggios (or learn how to spell arpeggio). Why is that so hard to ask for?
Do you play an instrument? Is there a musical instrument whose sound you find particularly pleasing? Tell us a story about your experience or relationship with an instrument of your choice.
In response to: Strike a Chord