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The Idea of "Talent" Is Toxic to Childhood Development |

movie_sing's IDEAS section highlights a truth that will bring a sad nod of recognition to most Barbershoppers:

Research shows that many adults who think of themselves as “unmusical” were told as children that they couldn’t or shouldn’t sing by teachers and family members....

Children are natural musicians, as they readily sing, dance and play music from the time they are infants. People ask me all the time how they can tell if their child has musical talent. I assure them that their child – indeed every child – has musical ability that can be developed into a satisfying and lifelong relationship with music.

However, as they get older, some children begin to get messages from peers, family members, the media and (unfortunately) music teachers that they may not be very musical – that they don’t have “talent.”

 Author Steven M. Demorest, Professor of Music Education at Northwestern University, discusses the Oscar award-winning short film "Sing" which traces a story just like this for a young child told to simply mouth the words.

Demorest writes:

Shows like “American Idol” have promoted the notion that singing is a rare ability reserved for the talented few, and that those without such talent entertain us only by being ridiculed and weeded out.

This “talent mindset” of music runs counter to what psychologist Carol Dweck calls the “growth mindset” that is considered critical for learning: Students who view their success as a result of hard work will persevere through challenges, while students who believe their success lies with some innate ability – like “talent” – are more likely to give up.

Read the full story The Idea of "Talent" Is Toxic to Childhood Development |