Joseph, my talented high school student, went on to college before I could get him to change his deficient work habits. His undeveloped musical talent showed itself in the widely varying levels of skill within his technique: for example, his quick mental grasp of the fingerboard made music-reading and etude-learning easy for him, but his tone production lagged far behind. Overall, his playing was not nearly as good as it could have been, and did not reflect his superior innate ability.
What might have happened if Joseph had learned how to work hard? Through a mere two hours of practice per day—a lot for a high school student, but not much for a serious performer—he could have dedicated a small percentage of that time to consistent work on bow technique (tone production), another segment to shifting (moving the left hand from one place to another along the fingerboard), and yet another to drilling finger patterns.
These and other skills would have been difficult for him to master at first, as they are for all cellists, but his talent would probably have helped him to synthesize his technique more rapidly than other students could. Then the superior ability he’d obviously been born with would have shone clearly.