From Bad to Good

Music is abstract and fleeting. You can’t see it, and except for the past 100 years, music isn’t preserved, at least not in the way visual art is preserved. This makes it tough (or impossible) to see how musicians progress. There is however, a lot of evidence of how visual artists progress. It’s yet one more piece of data that supports the fact that there is no such thing as “talent” in music, art, or nearly any other human endeavor. It’s all about spending time doing. If talent is anything, it’s a curiosity and a love and a playfulness. Talent is nothing but accumulated experience doing the thing. So. since there isn’t any evidence I’m aware of that shows how a musician progresses from a rank beginner to a capable player, visual art will have to serve as an example.

Marc Allante is a visual artist who has put up drawings he’s done from age 2 to age 25. His early work is no different from millions of other art done by two-year-olds around the world. Don’t believe me? Run a quick search. But the thing is, Mr. Allante persisted with his drawing, and you can see his work get better and better. It’s through the doing that we get better, not some kind of genetic gift. You just have to do it, play with it, and critique your work to improve it, and seek out teachers and others to share tips and techniques with, and a million other activities besides. This is all practice. Talent is not some divine gift. It’s practice in disguise. Here is Mr. Allante’s drawings from age 2 to age 25. Thanks for sharing, Marc!

Want to learn more about the best ways to practice? Get an e-mail with a discount code when The Practice of Practice is published (June, 2014). To learn more about the book, check out a sample from The Practice of Practice.

Age 2:

Age 3

Age 4

Age 5

Age 6

Age 7

Age 8

Age 9:

Want to learn more about the best ways to practice? Get an e-mail with a discount code when The Practice of Practice is published (June, 2014). To learn more about the book, check out a sample from The Practice of Practice.

Age 10:

Age 11:

Age 13:

Age 14:

Age 15:

Age 16:

Age 17 & 18:

Age 19:

Want to learn more about the best ways to practice? Get an e-mail with a discount code when The Practice of Practice is published (June, 2014). To learn more about the book, check out a sample from The Practice of Practice.

Age 20:

Age 22:

Age 23:

Age 24:

Age 25:

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. A brilliant example! Thanks for this.

    I discovered a similar example, in the realm of music, when my son bought a DVD set of the career of the Ramones. Here are some YouTube examples.

    First, in 1974. The audio quality of this isn’t that great, but you can easily tell that they, umm, aren’t very good. The playing is sloppy. The stage presence is non-existent. It’s a mess:

    By 1977, they are MUCH better:

    And by 1988 the playing is pretty tight and they seem to know what they’re doing. 🙂

  2. sweet! Thanks for sharing, Geoff!

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