Friday, November 02, 2012

A Level-headed Look at Musical Prodigies

Half the prodigies I studied seemed to be under pressure to be even more astonishing than they naturally were, and the other half, to be more ordinary than their talents. Studying their families, I gradually recognized that all parenting is guesswork, and that difference of any kind, positive or negative, makes the guessing harder.
This comes from a very sane article by Andrew Solomon in Sunday's New York Times Magazine about musical prodigies and the parents that raise them. It is interesting to note that many parents who find they have unusually smart children start them on music because it gives them something challenging to do that offers them constant stimulation and the personal rewards that only music can bring. It seems almost like the polar opposite motive of a "Tiger Mother" who tries to make her children smart and accomplished by giving them music lessons, and insisting that they excel in order to feel that they are loved.

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