The Harder I Work, the More "Talented" I Become: Views on the Development of Expertise in Instrumental Performance

Judith Fromyhr
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The Oxford dictionary defines the word expert as “well informed or skilful in a subject” or “a person with special knowledge and skill”. Expertise therefore is a “special skill or knowledge”. From a relativistic point of view, an expert would be someone who performs a task significantly better (by some specified criterion) than the majority of people. (Sloboda, 1991). However, how does one become an expert in a particular field such as the playing of a musical instrument? Does one have to be “talented” to succeed?

This paper will explore the following points:

• growth in musical development is cumulative (Bamberger. 1991)
• expertise in any activity is developed through an extended period of deliberate practice. (Ericsson et al, 1993; Hallam, 1997; Howe et al; Sloboda et al, 1995)
• deliberate practice is seen as work-like.
• motivation is a key element in persistence with deliberate practice. (Hallam, 1998; O’Neilly, 1997; Sloboda et al, 1995).
• this process establishes goal orientations.
• differing learning goal orientations appear to derive from and reflect beliefs about the nature of ability, the nature of success and the causes of success.
• two basic concepts of ability – an “entity” view and an “incremental” view. (Dweck et al).

Keywords: expertise, performance, goal orientation, talent
Stream: Arts Education
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Harder I Work, the More "Talented" I Become, The

Judith Fromyhr

Lecturer in Music, School of Arts and Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, ACU National (Australian Catholic University)

I am a lecturer in music at the Brisbane Campus of ACU National (Australian Catholic University) where I teach courses in music history, theory, music education in the context of teacher education and I am the assistant conductor of the ACU National Choir. My interest in early childhood music in particular has led to my involvement with the Young Conservatorium at Griffith University in Brisbane where I am the co-ordinator of the early Childhood Music program, co-ordinator and teacher of "Colourstrings" and conductor of the Melodic Minors Children's Choir. As a result of Australian and international awards, I have studied in Hungary, Finland, the UK and Canada and I am currently undertaking research on the development of expertise and the notion of “talent” as applied to music performance.

Ref: A06P0240