Over the years, I have surely developed a finer eye and ear for recognizing talent, and of course, it truly means a lot when it comes to evaluating students. This process is highly trained and fine-tuned to especially notice talent early on, but it also has an ongoing meaning as your relationship with that student continues. I find that there are always surprises in store when it comes to what defines a student as time goes on, and I certainly have had many who “came of age” right before my eyes!
When and if, I do find someone with a terrific level of talent, it’s such a high point in life. This is because for someone to be at that kind of level is so rare, and so exciting for me, as a teacher and evaluator of talent I simply must “take care of” that newly discovered talent and promise, and to not let that promise down! After all, if I were to ignore the promise and future of a young player such as this, it would be as if they were a “tree falling in the woods”, with no one to actually ever hear them for real! I can recall telling certain parents of students of mine about their child’s talent, and them not even being aware of just how terrific their kid is! Of course, this is a larger problem these days, with parents so consumed with themselves and their problems that they simply don’t enjoy enough of this miracle of watching their child grow and learn! There was one little boy who would come to me, simply because his older sister was also learning with me. Well, the older sister had no talent at all, but the boy would walk in with a $12 guitar with no case, and proceed to replicate nearly everything I threw his way! And I think he was all of about 8 years old! Lo and behold, one day, his parents suddenly took him out of taking lessons with me, and all I can say is I hope he was allowed to continue, because these parents had no idea just how amazingly talented their little boy was! If not for me teaching him, who knows if he’d ever even be told just how good he really was!
In any event, it’s really important for us all to be able to evaluate talent for many reasons. One day, we’ll be called upon to do this when choosing musicians for bands we are forming, recordings we are making and even like myself, if we are auditioning students. In the end, this is all important for us as well as them, and the decisions made by you can have long lasting, and far-reaching effect within people’s lives. Certainly a skill that must be well-developed, and taken very seriously as well! Good luck in all your pursuits!