Essay: Are Children Born with Natural Talent for Sport or Music?

IELTS Writing Task 2

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task. Write about the following topic:

Some people believe that some children are born with natural talent for sport or music and others are not. Others believe that any child can be taught such skills.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

You should write at least 250 words.

IELTS Writing Test Task 2 Sample Answer

Nobody would argue that some children seem to be born with a natural talent for certain things, be it sport, music or something else. However, if such talent is actually genetic or not is arguable, but there is no doubt that any child can be coached and instructed in skills to develop or nurture any ‘natural’ talent.

Some children show skill in certain areas early in life either through physical prowess or artistic and creative actions. If parents become involved and act by developing the child’s talent through coaching or instruction, then it is highly possible that the child can reach a very high level of proficiency in the skill.

Other children become interested in certain activities such as sport or creative pastimes later in life, possibly through their own process of discovery, and again it is possible to channel such interest in a positive way and develop the necessary skills to perform well in their chosen area of interest.

What we have learned from people who compete at the highest level in sports and also world class musicians is that talent alone, whether it is considered natural or not, is not enough to guarantee success. The most successful creative people who rely on talent, put in an incredible amount of work in terms of training, practicing and developing their skill or craft and in many cases sacrifice other aspects of life in favor of their chosen activity.

Personally, I believe that even the most ‘gifted’ child would not fulfill their full potential without proper support and development of their skill or talent while a child with less talent who is coached, nurtured, supported and has lots of enthusiasm can perfect their skills and perform at the highest levels.

Essay: What punishment should criminals receive?

How would you answer this IELTS essay question about if children are born with natural talent for sport or music?
  • Do you think some people have a natural gift for sport or music?
  • Are you naturally sporty? Or musical?
  • Do you have a different natural talent?

Genetics and talent in music: not only is practice necessary to be a genius

Child prodigy, natural talent ... a study by two Swedish universities shows that the innate is closely related to the musical virtues.

“Melody, rhythm and harmony, combined" is the first meaning when you look for the word music in your dictionary.

From a linguistic point it is valid, but for the vast majority of people, music means much more than that.

For these reasons, the fourth meaning may be much more appropriate: "the art of combining the sounds of the human voice or of the instruments, or of one another at a time, so as to produce delight, moving sensitivity, whether joyfully or sadly.

One way or another, it does not matter. We all like to enjoy this art at some point and, make no mistake, who has not felt the impulse to learn to play a musical instrument?

Practice is important, but it is not everything

Traditionally, the role of experience in learning and improvement of any type of technique has been defended.

One of the most widespread theories about the time it takes to become an expert is that of the 10,000 hours, and it is precisely around this thought, of practicing for hours and hours, specifically 10,000, to perfectly master a subject or skill.

It is not necessary to discuss the need for practice in order to develop the skills of something as technical as music, as it is something obvious.

But we must also point out the importance of natural talent and in the field of music, the role that genetics play.

Research shows the importance of genetics in musical talent

A recent study published has demonstrated the importance of genetics when it comes to having musical abilities.

This research focused on the musical abilities that different twins had, and for this, the researchers surveyed 1,211 identical twins and 1,358 non-identical twins.

All these twins were asked if they played a musical instrument or practiced singing, and they made an estimate of the hours they had devoted to it.
Depending on the time spent, a coefficient was added to make a comparison and then their skills were assessed through three tests of ascending difficulty, which started from simpler things such as differentiating the tone of two notes, to more complex ones such as detecting small variations in the melody.

The results were especially surprising because, unlike what was expected, the musical experience did not influence the results: there were not too many differences between one brother and the other despite the unequal hours of practice. Even in a case in which a twin had practiced 20,228 hours more than his brother, the results that they both had were similar.

What also a surprise was discovering that among the people who practiced the most time there were several genetic features that coincide, so it seems possible that the motivation at the time of playing an instrument or singing could be linked to genetics.

This Swedish investigation does not try to say that the practice is useless since to affirm that would be an absolute foolishness. But what it does show is that just as, for example in sports, innate talent and genetics greatly influence the final results.

Make no mistake, we cannot all aspire to be world-class musicians. In fact, many of us will never even learn to play the piano. But even musical geniuses must accompany their talent with large doses of work, practice and effort.

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