Talent and Training

Teresa Roberts
3 min readJan 31


Which Performers Had Both?

The music makers (my photo)

Music! It’s something that I can’t get enough of. Like Puccini’s Nessun Dorma sung by the amazing Pavarotti.

I don’t remember when I first heard Pavarotti sing, but I have always loved his voice.

I have a wide range of musical tastes from opera to rock, to pop and jazz, music makes me feel good. It produces all kinds of emotions and opens my heart and mind. I can’t imagine the world without music.

One day, I read an article disclosing the fact that Pavarotti couldn’t read music. I was surprised. His voice had been a tower of creative expression in the classical world for years. Yet now I’m hearing that amongst so many highly trained musicians, Pavarotti couldn’t read music.

How could that be?

What did his peers think of his lack of training? How did it effect his performances and rehearsals? I was curious but soon responded to my own questions with a simple answer.

I don’t really care.

Pavarotti’s voice spoke to me. It had that unearthly power to transcend the tediousness of everyday life. So, I closed my eyes and listened three more times to Nessun Dorma.

I started wondering if there were lots of popular performers who didn’t read music. Whether they were songwriters, musicians, or singers, I figured there must be others.

I was right.

The Beatles didn’t read music.

“None of us could read music… None of us can write it.” John Lennon admitted this about the band in a 1980 Playboy interview, “but as pure musicians, as inspired humans to make the noise, they [Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr] are as good as anybody.”

Yet the Beatles wrote and performed hundreds of songs. They moved the hearts and souls of many people and left a mark on society. Below is a link to ten legendary musicians who never learned to read music.

10 legendary musicians who never learned to read music
You don’t need to be able to read music in order to be a great musician. From Hendrix to Zimmer, these famous faces…www.classicfm.com

I’m the first person to bow at the feet of a highly trained musician. Give me a well-orchestrated piece of music with difficult passages that require great commitment to master well enough to perform and I’ll visibly swoon in amazement.

But in the end, they gotta move me.

And if they do, I’ll give it up for their creation and allow the free flow of my emotions, those feelings that tear me up and make me participate in a heartfelt standing ovation.

Technical accomplishments are hard won and impressive. Talent has an equal power to captivate my soul.

A piece written from the heart, a song sung from the depths of the soul, or a piano played with emotion and passion is all I require.

I don’t know where this gift of creative expression comes from, but it’s the thing that makes us gods.

Teresa is an author, world traveler, and professional myth buster. You can find her books on Amazon.



Teresa Roberts

Teresa is an author, world traveler, and professional myth buster. She’s also a top writer on climate change and the future.