How Far Will Talent Get You?

We have heard of the saying, “leaders are born.”  This simply is not true.  Rather, leaders are made. Leadership qualities are developed over time by studying the great leaders of our world and emulating them.  The same principle can apply to talent.  Many musicians relay solely on their talent to succeed.  There is no doubt that some musicians have an innate ability to play music.  I have worked with students where it just “clicks” for them.  But is this enough?  Should a musician exploit this and think this is the only ingredient they need to succeed?  The answer is a resounding no!  In fact, it is mythical to think that successful musicians did nothing but rely on their talent.  For instance, Charlie Parker, one of the great bebop musicians had a cymbal thrown at him from drummer, Joe Jones after Parker messed up during a song.  What did Parker do after this incident?  One can imagine he was distraught and humiliated.  However, he practiced vigilantly and tirelessly and came back a new musician.  Charlie Parker became one of the most prominent and influential musicians in the bebop era.  There is story after story on musicians who worked at their craft relentlessly to be the best they can be.  Some had natural talent while others didn’t, but the common denominator they encompassed was hard work.  They were willing and hungry to go the extra mile from the average musician.  So, we return to our question, “How far will talent get you?”  Apart from hard work, a hungry desire, and daily self-discipline, talent essentially means nothing.  It’s like a seed that can potentially turn into a beautiful tree.  Apart from sunlight and water, it is completely useless.  This is what talent is apart from a strong work ethic.