Words of Wisdom for Wednesday: Malcolm Gladwell


“Talent is the desire to practice.”

      – Malcolm Gladwell, “Outliers”

I don’t know when I realized this, but at some point
in my teaching career I realized that all my amazing
ideas for music activities for young children – or
what I thought were amazing ideas – didn’t always
translate into amazing lessons. In fact many ideas 
bombed the first few times I tried them with
actual children. After a while though, as I became
more comfortable with the pacing and the presen-
tation of each activity, the children responded
more and more positively.

I realized  – long before the wonderful book
“Outliers” was published – that I could skip the
first few “failures” by practicing the activities – and
my presentation of them – at home, before they
reached the classroom. So I practiced. And 
practiced. And practiced. When my presentation
was down pat, I wasn’t as flustered by the
inevitable chaos and confusion in early-childhood

I like the way Gladwell put this, though – it isn’t
just about practicing per se, it’s about the desire
to constantly work on my teaching skills. I’m a 

naturally musical and creative person, but
the desire to always be improving my skills
is what makes me a more talented teacher
than I was years ago. 



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