The Nature-Nurture Debate

piano-ology-emotional-preparation-the-nature-nurture-debate-featured-image-by-nico-wall-from-pixabay Image by Nico Wall from Pixabay

The fact that some people are remarkably skilled at doing something does not necessarily prove the existence of some innate gift…

Such differences may be explained by a variety of of other factors: motivation, personality, character traits, prior knowledge, problem-solving experience, access to excellent teachers and mentors, social supports, social pressures, work ethic, competitiveness, self-confidence, as well as the time, health, and safety to pursue their interests… to name but a few.

It is typically not possible to know from someone’s performance alone how they attained their level of competence. Are they a genetically-gifted rarity, a socially-gifted rarity, a highly-motivated rarity, or all of the above?

Consider this: Mozart is held up as an exemplar of the truly gifted prodigy, the “proof” that you either have it or you don’t.

Young Mozart (Image courtesy of wikipedia)

But the less-appreciated fact is that he was born into a richly musical and privileged household. While is it widely accepted that Wolfgang Amadeus was born special, it must also be admitted that he was raised special.

Mozart’s genius blossomed in an exceptionally nurturing environment that provided both a highly-focused education and unconstrained freedom to pursue his music. Imagine what kind of music Mozart may (or may not) have made if his DNA was born dirt-poor in ancient Greece or on 52nd Street as Thelonius Monk’s younger brother or to an Aboriginal tribe in the present day.

And if the genetics that provided the raw materials for his musical brain were trapped in a girl’s body in Salzburg in 1756, we would have never heard of her.

learn more… Labeling Theory