Is Talent Enough? Mitsuko Uchida

What is talent?
1. the deep need to express yourself through music and nothing else
2. intellect
3. technique
4. charisma

Uchida says that #1 is the most important and the only one you are born with. The others can be developed. She is great and I mostly totally agree.

[I think most all artists across disciplines agree that you can translate *facts* about talent and artmaking across all artistic disciplines. I’ve never heard argued otherwise. So I’ll say this from poet Rilke.]

Related to this, my great friend Josh sent me an amazing book for my birthday last year. Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke. Here is his response to a man who asks whether his verses are good: “Nobody can counsel and help you, nobody. There is only one single way. Go into yourself. Search for the reason that bids you write; find out whether it is spreading out its roots in the deepest places of your heart, acknowledge to yourself whether you would have to die if it were denied you write. This above all – ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night: must I write? … A work of art is good if it has sprung from necessity.

Talent is nothing more than the urge to create – and the ability to delight in abstract sensations. This is a paradigm shift from what mainstream culture raises us to believe. This is something I teach my students: you cannot let the world tell you if you have “talent” because the world does not understand “talent”. You are talented already because of your enthusiasm to play piano even though you may not yet be proficient as you want to be. Desire is enough. Passion is talent. (Or perhaps a more accurate claim would be: talent is a myth). Cultivate desire to drive you to work and work and delight and work.


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