What The Pro’s Think – Talent

As part of my Honours Thesis, I asked 13 professional Australian composers a bunch of questions about learning to compose. The questionnaire was answered anonymously, so I can’t reveal who said what, but I found the responses incredibly interesting and worth sharing.

Here’s some snippets of what their responses tell us about the perceived importance of Talent as it relates to becoming a composer:

Innate Ability/Talent/Aptitude/Inspiration


“If one does not have the requisite inner ear, imagination and creative drive, then there is nothing you can do!” – 3a. Q1


“Ideas come to those who have acquired fluency and a high level of technique.” – 3a.Q5



“…creativity can be drawn forth and nurtured.” 2.Q1

“Yes, like any skill, some people have more aptitude but totally possible.” 5.Q1

“Only partly. You would have to have the right attitude and sensibility, from thereon you can be taught the musical language.” 6.q1



“Certainly, technically it is. Composition techniques can be taught…” 7.Q1



“Talent will need to win out in the acquisition and development of the above.”7.q3



“Technique can be taught… at a craft level… technique alone is not enough.”8.q.1



“Not from scratch. There needs to be an innate ability already. Then a refinement of that can be assisted by teaching.” 9.q1

“Originality cannot be taught” 6.q3

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