Can musical genius be hereditary?

M

mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
Not sure I can agree that Kenny is a 'genius'. I'm much more inclined to agree with Muckster...
 

aydee

Platinum Member
...

Millions in record sales, sold out gigs in the finest of venues, and....and....and...

...Miles loved his playing.

Beat that.

....
 
M

mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
Miles wasn't infallible - just look at some of his later work.

Also Kenny G committed the 'What a Wonderful World' sin, and I understand what heresy that is considered - even though I'm not fond of the song!

Aydee, it's all good. Friendly banter (this isn't the best format for that!)
 

Drumolator

Platinum Member
...

Millions in record sales, sold out gigs in the finest of venues, and....and....and...

...Miles loved his playing.

Beat that.

....
I like many different kinds of music, and I am not a snob. I saw Kenny G in 2008, and he was very good, and his band was great. Yes, musical ability can be inherited. My son got his from me, not his mother.

Where did you see that quote about Miles Davis liking Kenny G? I would like to find it so that I can use it on a couple of jazz forums.
 

TTNW

Pioneer Member
I'll say that in part it's hereditary and the rest of it, if you want to call it genius (that born-with-inclination) is fostered, developed and comes about by learning.
 

CrescentFresh

Junior Member
I completely disagree with the notion that "genius can be inherited". I don't believe natural talent exists.

Learning is based on the environment and the mindset of the individual. It's easy to associate inheritance as it's father and son, but this child's upbringing is surrounded by positive musical influence and technique, which would accelerate anyone's learning if they had interest in music.

There are plenty of arrogant musicians out there who are condescending to less experienced players, proclaiming about their "natural talent". I've experienced plenty of these people so far, and I just laugh to myself and know that their narrow mindedness in this matter will eventually plateau their maximum potential.
 

Muckster

Platinum Member
...

Millions in record sales, sold out gigs in the finest of venues, and....and....and...

...Miles loved his playing.

Beat that.

....
You just described Justin Bieber (except for the Miles Part). Genius? Nope.

Pat Metheny hates him, calls his music the dumbest music ever recorded.

That's good enough for me.
 
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Duckenheimer

Senior Member
I completely disagree with the notion that "genius can be inherited". I don't believe natural talent exists.
I find that concept completely impossible and I don't see how it makes any sense whatsoever.

It is completely and absolutely fact that natural talent exists physically in many endeavours. Not opinion - it is a complete fact that Arnie's long muscle bellies and large ribcage were genetically determined, that the strongest man in the world was born with an unusual amount of fast twitch fibres and so on.

The only way natural talent does not exist mentally is if completely unlike our mechanical capabilities every human brain and mental aptitude are naturally identical from birth until environmental factors set in and that makes no sense at all and is completely impossible.

The truth of these statements are completely irrelevant to any possibility that someone of average natural aptitude can reach an upper echelon of skill and achievement via certain levels of practise. After all, very few people practise anything progressively for 10,000 hours. And there are many forms of activities where there is no known upper limit, given enough learning time, to ability.

But that someone with average talent could achieve possibly appear to be a genius in some endeavours with enough work (and in something like music, where new concepts and co-ordination can always be learned) is completely irrelevant to whether natural talent exists or not. That potential can be squandered and the right environment is usually vital for genius to flourish and the top echelons of some activities may be more generally decided by environment than the "talent" is also completely irrelevant to whether natural talent exists or not.

To take this to an extreme; if genius can't be inherited, then a human baby and an amoeba should be on equal potential footing with the right environmental factors. Humans differ less from each other of course; but they differ. The concept of natural talent not existing in different levels from person to person is so astoundingly incredible that it would probably devastate several branches of science if discovered to be true and make me suspect a very mischievously deceitful entity controlling our planet (a rather less incredible idea).

Now, on the other hand, talent being "overrated"...
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
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The great soprano sax phenom, Kenny G....

...
You're killing me, Abe! That'll raise a few hackles right there, although not with me since I'm pretty neutral when it comes down the original G yo!

Great idea for a thread, though.

First off: what is the nature of genius and who determines it? It's easy to rattle off Newton, Einstein, and Mozart, as well as Vanilla Ice for the opposite quality, but how about those in the middle? I think I've known one or two geniuses in my 43 years, but perhaps I'm easily impressed. Also, I've had one or two clever moments myself and I'd like to think... okay, nevermind on that.

Then there's the mere idea of talent, which has similar troubles with definition. I'm not a formally schooled player and there are many who are (okay, most) that can run circles around me, but somehow with many of them, I think I'm the one with the talent since they have to work hard on their chops and never end up sounding convincing. Then there are drummers with even less training and understanding of fundamentals than me that sound stunning in the way they hear things and execute their parts. Very humbling stuff.

If there's a talented parent, it would seem that some of that might rub off on the kids if they get a chance to soak some of that up. So while maybe not a genius, I do think I'm talented (and for the purpose of this discussion, assume I am), but my parents and the vast majority of my family are the types that clap on 1 and 3 during sing-alongs. How do you explain that? My own kids have shown very little interest in drumming and I'm pretty sure I just saw my 7 year-old son trying to clap on 1 and 3 during the school play... Oh well.

Anyway, I totally get where CrescentFresh is coming from in questioning the existence of talent. Growing up, I had a hard time finding anything special in what I was doing on the drums and couldn't explain why I was picking it up so much faster than my peers who played except that they just weren't putting in the hours. They'd be off doing sports, hanging out with friends, working on cars, anything really except putting in the hours. I had become more proficient than them because I didn't do any of those other things - just a lot of hours on the kit. It almost irked me that they would dismiss me as being the one with the talent because to my mind, if I was doing all the extra curricular things they were doing all the time, they wouldn't think that because my playing would still be at the same level as theirs. It was like they were dismissing my effort and all the hours I put in.

But as with a lot of us, what is it that makes us want to put in those hours? Is it the drive itself that is the talent? I almost think so, and I think that anything that can hold my interest the way drums and music can will see me excel at it to about the same degree that I've excelled at drums.

I've enjoyed math and science for as far back as I've been into music and I've done similarly well with those topics, and have actually taken them a step further by getting a formal education in engineering.

It's not too hard to imagine living in an environment where my drumming would have been encouraged and supported from the time it became an obsession. I'm sure it happens all the time to the lucky ones. Those are the ones who eventually graduate to genius status because they had the obsession and support system in place to take it as far as their imaginations and other smarts would let them.

Mozart showed early signs of a musical obsession and his dad was keen to let little Wolfie take it as far as he possibly could. Perhaps the question should be "How often does any kind of 'genius' get stamped out of a kid by parents who don't recognize and support a kid so obsessed with learning and practicing something."

Did I forget the original question? Sorry... I think having an obsessive streak that can lead to extreme expertise and getting labelled 'genius' can definitely be hereditary.
 
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moontheloon

Silver Member
since when is Kenny f***ing G a genius.....

that cat plays the worst stale stiff adult contemporary garbage version of "smooth jazz" I have ever heard in my life.....


never ever use the word genius and Kenny G in the same sentence .....please!!!!!
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I completely disagree with the notion that "genius can be inherited". I don't believe natural talent exists.

Learning is based on the environment and the mindset of the individual. It's easy to associate inheritance as it's father and son, but this child's upbringing is surrounded by positive musical influence and technique, which would accelerate anyone's learning if they had interest in music.

There are plenty of arrogant musicians out there who are condescending to less experienced players, proclaiming about their "natural talent". I've experienced plenty of these people so far, and I just laugh to myself and know that their narrow mindedness in this matter will eventually plateau their maximum potential.
I would suggest Googling, Genius Inherited, and read the many articles before making such a rash statement.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Was Gregor Mendel on to something or just another suburban boy growing peas in his backyard?

Of course anything can be inherited ... can be ... it might and it might not. My mother was a writer and was sometimes called a literary genius (I know - she told me herself many times :). She was editing a kid's paper before her teens etc, and one of her main hobbies was reading the dictionary ... she had quite a vocabulary and could construct some pretty wild sentences. Her parents? Her father was a welder and a violent drunk, her mother was just your average suburban alcoholic gambling addict housewife. They say that ability as a writer is less dependent on genetic inheritance than other arts.

Music ... it's a double whammy. Culture is huge with music, as is the age of starting. If you're raised in a culture with strong rhythmic traditions then it's going to rub off. If you're raised in a family with high level talent then that's going to rub off, especially if muso visitors are turning up for jams. You absorb this stuff as a little one - plus the joy of music is probably infectious.

And, of course, Gregor Mendel was right. We are not born as identical blank slates ready to be written upon by life. There's a whole range of aptitudes and weaknesses.
 
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aydee

Platinum Member
Where did you see that quote about Miles Davis liking Kenny G? I would like to find it so that I can use it on a couple of jazz forums.

Aight, there's a bit of chain cranking with the thread title, but the question remains valid. Kenny G opened for Miles on at least 2 gigs way back, and word has it that Miles paid him some polite compliments..just something I've heard. Might be somewhere online..

Great idea for a thread, though.
But as with a lot of us, what is it that makes us want to put in those hours? Is it the drive itself that is the talent?.

Great post, Mike. We all know the saying about the 99% perspiration bit, but I sense different folk come with different tool kits. The wierdest thing I ever saw was a fantastic young drummer who hardly ever practiced or studied. It kinda freaked me out so I asked him how he gets it done and he said " by watching. I have a photographic memory". He'd just snapshot people off videos, or live and break it down and play it. ( almost without practice).

On the inheritance of genius, in the music world, it is seen a lot more often in non western cultures where the musical traditions are more oral, more tribal or fathers passing on the 'mojo' to their sons.
But even that would break down to inheritance by acess & proximity and not by genetics.. nope, I dont have the answer to my question. : )

never ever use the word genius and Kenny G in the same sentence .....please!!!!!
Gotcha, Moony! In my opinion anyone that can produce a son with that exact same hairdo is a genius, period. : I

If you're raised in a family with high level talent then that's going to rub off, especially if muso visitors are turning up for jams. You absorb this stuff as a little one - plus the joy of music is probably infectious.
.... We are not born as identical blank slates ready to be written upon by life. There's a whole range of aptitudes and weaknesses.
I buy that. Question though is.. its it talent that rubbing off or just a faster rate of skill assimilation?

...

...
 
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Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Is it the drive itself that is the talent?
It depends. You have more drive if you are being rewarded for your efforts. If you don't have talent then banging your head against a brick wall isn't much fun. Of course, having cloth ears in your early period is a huge advantage - *bam crash boom clink boing" ... hey that sounds great! I'm gunna play some more!


Kenny G opened for Miles on at least 2 gigs way back, and word has it that Miles paid him some polite compliments.
Hey ... um ... Ken man ... that was ... um ... yeah ... okay ... -ish.

Oh, and I ran out of cigarettes, you got any, man?

:)
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Really? Kenny G again? Oh my.... heheh


Anyhow, I don't think so. Out of all the music greats out there, how many had children who also were great? A few, sure, but not many.

Sure, if you have a parent who is great at something, they can teach you everything they know, but I'm not sure that is really inherited.
 
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