There is always a question for me as to how we perceive talent when it is something that is difficult to measure mathematically. With a sprinter we can measure his time, but it becomes progressively more difficult with more abstract things such as musical talent that rely on perception.
In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink, he notes that an orchestra had to erect a screen at auditions between the musician and the judges in order to prevent external appearance (or the sex of the musician) influencing the perception of talent. As an interesting addition to this problem, the Washington Post persuaded the world’s greatest living violinist to take his Stradivarius down to a DC subway plaza and busk for a while to see if anyone appreciated the sheer quality of performance in such an unlikely venue. The results were instructive. . . .