July 23, 2024

It's in their genes, that's why.

Scientists have found that extolling practice as the road to good musicianship becomes a dead-end unless it’s in one’s genes.  Dr. Miram Mosing, a Swedish psychologist has studied musical ability among 2500 twins, half identical and half non-identical (which share only half their genes.)  Bottom line: practice doesn’t make perfect, genes do.  Practice obviously improves ability, but it takes DNA to get over the hump.

This also explains why family bands and connections endure as music mojo actually passes from parent(s) to offspring.  The study has been published in Psychological Science, and a popular and insightful summary of it can be found in The Economist.  This genetic component also determines one’s approach to practice itself.  If you’ve even tried to learn an instrument but found your enthusiasm for practicing “limited,” then rejoice: you’ve now been vindicated by science.


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