(74 Posts)
bubbles1112 Fri 01-Jun-12 23:30:23

dd is about to do grade 2 on the piano, she is 7. Is this gifted? Either way she's pretty good...and just wondered how we can develop her talent. I'd love for her to have as many different avenues in life to go down and music could be an excellent alternative in life!!!!

ReallyTired Fri 01-Jun-12 23:33:12

How long has she been learing piano? She is doing well, but I don't think grade 2 at seven years old is that unusual.

This is what a gifted eight year old can do.


bubbles1112 Fri 01-Jun-12 23:37:35

She started just after she was 5. It's interesting to see what other people think, thanks.

rabbitstew Sat 02-Jun-12 16:49:24

Well, I don't think it's gifted to take exams. Is her playing a pleasure to listen to?

bubbles1112 Sat 02-Jun-12 20:25:50

Well we think so and most people that hear her are always complimentary smile

Wait and see if she passes...

I don't mean that to sound sarky. grade 2 at age 7 when she has been playing for 2 years is a good achievement, but I wouldn't say she is unusually gifted just on that basis.

bubbles1112 Sat 02-Jun-12 20:38:46

What else makes someone musically gifted in your opinion? I guess you don't need to be gifted to pursue music as a career if you're good and enjoy it. I just don't know any other children her age or close to her age that play like she does. Very proud of her smile

ClaireAll Sat 02-Jun-12 20:45:54

What does her piano teacher think?

My DD's music and singing teachers think that she is remarkably gifted and she is just working towards grade 1. You can't really tell with the early grades. So much of it is dependent on opportunity and parental pushiness.

I think you should encourage her, which I am sure you are doing, and give her opportunities to perform publicly. Does your school do performances? Do you go to church? Is she in a local music group where she has a wider opportunity?

bubbles1112 Sat 02-Jun-12 20:52:02

Teacher thinks she's very good and often says imagine how she'd be if she practiced wink....she does, but likes to do all the other stuff 7 year olds do.
School is rubbish...not remotely interested hmm and not a lot of groups or clubs to get involved in. She does like to play for people.

ClaireAll Sat 02-Jun-12 21:04:33

I think public performance is really important so you should focus on trying to find opportunities for her.

Try you LEA music service.

My DD gets lots of opportunity at school (an all-age private school), church, and most importantly by being in a prestigious choir. Her teachers were very clear about being in an external choir, as well as the school one.

bubbles1112 Sat 02-Jun-12 21:14:16

dd can join school choir in year 3 so hopefully she'll do that. Will look into LEA music service, thanks.

ihearthuckabees Sat 02-Jun-12 21:19:19

Sounds like she is very good, but I don't think it matters whether she's labelled as gifted or not. If she loves music, and has ability, she will become a good player. If she's pushed too hard, it could turn her off. Music is one of those things that children get hot housed in, and it doesn't necessarily guarantee success. Just foster a love of piano in her, and make sure she has good teachers who she clicks with, and it will work out.
Also, the grade you achieve is not the be all and end all. It is a guide to how good you are, but doesn't tell us the whole story.

DeWe Sat 02-Jun-12 22:04:41

Ime a grade a year for the first few grades is about what you expect for a normally musical child who does a bit of practicing. Certainly with dd1's piano teacher, who takes on "normal pupils" ie anyone who asks when there's a space, that's standard. There's a few people on here that have had children that have got to about grade 6 in not many more years. One child at my dc's school got 143 in his grade 6 (not piano)-I think he'd played for just over 3 years.

I don't think you can go by what "other people" say unless they are experienced in music, probably including teaching, and aren't your friends or being asked by you to comment. My experience is often people are just impressed at that age that they can manage to play twinkle twinkle with one hand wink

Also generally I take teachers' comments with a slight pinch of salt. They're not generally going to say "you're wasting your money, she's the least musical person I've ever come across" because you're paying them.

Just provide opportunities for her to keep on going while she's interested and if she's genuinely talented it will become obvious. If you start referring to her as gifted then she may find it very difficult if she hits a rough patch, or does badly in an exam.

ihearthuckabees Sun 03-Jun-12 18:17:32

Dewey, that is very well put.

ihearthuckabees Sun 03-Jun-12 18:17:58

Sorry, DeWe, I mean.

astreetcarnamedknackered Sun 03-Jun-12 18:34:09

Can I also add a word of caution to you?

When (often well meaning) people talk about musical talent/talented musicians it can have a few side effects. Particularly in a child:

1.they risk believing that they are talented/gifted and that this will carry them. It won't. Hard work, practice and dedication will.
2.even worse, they don't believe they are talented/gifted as they find x thing difficult. Therefore they may as well give up as no amount of hard work, dedication and practice will make them talented/gifted/any good at their chosen instrument.

It is beyond insulting to be told 'you do good because you have innate talent so it's alright for you'. Erm I think you'll find it's five hours practice a day for ten years actually. 99% perspiration and 1% talent.

Perhaps try dropping the g/t language and encourage her aptitude to learn the piano. That is very different to saying 'gifted at playing' or praising result in an exam.

As an aside he is lucky to have a mum who encourages her. Good on her for doing so well. Keep up the hard work.

bubbles1112 Sun 03-Jun-12 22:16:45

Hello, I have never and would never suggest to dd she is G&T! She is on the g&T reg at school for literacy and we have never mentioned it to her...there's no point and I'd hate her to believe she was better than her peers or different. Similarly we tell her if she wants to pass her exam then she needs to practice. We tell her she's great...but in the same way you do when your child has made a blob out of playdoh smile

cory Mon 04-Jun-12 23:54:27

Ime a real musical gift (as opposed to merely being good at music) comes with a kind of inner driven-ness that makes a child want to play more than they want to do anything else.

Just like children with a genuine talent for art are going to be drawing and painting and scribbling from a young age because you just can't stop them.

And children with a gift for writing are going to be making up stories in their heads whether it's encouraged or not, because they simply can't stop themselves.

So if she has that kind of serious gift, you will know soon; she will just be constantly drifting towards music.

gramercy Thu 07-Jun-12 17:52:36

ds did grade 2 at age 7 and passed with distinction. I wouldn't say he's going to give Lang Lang any trouble. It's true what others have said - you can nip through the lower grades with little trouble if you have decent musical ability. But what counts later is hours of practice - every day.

there is a girl in dd's year who at age 8 has achieved Grade 8. She is half-Chinese with the requisite Tiger Mother!

Colleger Thu 07-Jun-12 23:10:40

Not gifted I'm sorry to say. I know plenty children who are beyond grade 8 by the age of 8. Unfortunatley my child is nowhere near that level!

Hardboiled Fri 08-Jun-12 17:05:17

According to many professional musicians I have talked about this with, achieving Grade 8 at age 8 does not mean that child will be a great musician in adulthood. Getting there early does not mean ending up the best. Good musicianship comes with many other things and attributes, like any other art. Of course some will. But there's no point saying a child will not give Lang Lang any trouble just because they are only Grade 2 age 7. They may flourish in teenage years and become good musicians.

bubbles1112 Sat 09-Jun-12 23:03:46

Really Colleger you know plenty of children beyond grade 8 at the age of 8? What circles do you mix in? Genuine question! I know one other child learning the piano who is 7...he's doing grade 1!

Colleger Sat 09-Jun-12 23:09:44

Musical circles....

FunnysInLaJardin Sat 09-Jun-12 23:13:48

Jesus, what is it with having your DC labelled as gifted. I started playing the piano at 5 and was at grade 2 by 7. My sister was grade 8 at piano and violin by age 13, went on the have hideous mental health problems and just retain her sanity. FFS, just enjoy your children without the need to hope they are G&T. It's not all that great you know.

1805 Sun 10-Jun-12 22:29:13

grade 8 age 8??? where? how did they manage the scales, aural, grade 5 theory requirements? Let alone the musicality understanding of the pieces??
Please tell......

KalSkirata Sun 10-Jun-12 22:31:47

at 7 it should be fun. ds started at 13 and was grade 8 by 16 but it was all about fun. He plays for pleasure now and for his mates.
Children should have fun, not acquiring labels.

Colleger Sun 10-Jun-12 22:41:00

I'm surprised that it seems odd that there are eight year olds who can play grade 8 and beyond. They are prodigies and they exist, it's not that hard to comprehend surely?

I don't understand what is meant by how did they manage scales or aural or theory. If a child is musical and exceptional then it comes easy to them. Who is to say it is not fun just because they achieve at a stage earlier than the norm? One of my sons had his head stuck in a maths book when he was very young because he loved everything about maths. By the time he was six he was GCSE level without any coaching, it all came from him. I know child pianists who sit down at a piano at six and can play complex pieces by ear. We're all different!

morethanpotatoprints Sun 10-Jun-12 23:49:41

I don't think musical ability has anything to do with passing grades to be frank. All the grading does is identify a person who has played at that level on that day. Some teachers of music allow their students to play and learn 3 pieces, the relevant scales, a bit of sightreading, relevant Aural and bingo exam time. I know children take 2/3 exams a year. The problem comes when they have to show an overall ability at the level they have been awarded. My dh has colleagues who teach at conservatoires and often find they have to turn people away as they do not have the required level even though a bit of paper suggests they do. However, dh has students who are offered places in all of them at audition, some never passing a music exam in their life. I kid you not. Talent is having the ability, not a bit of paper. I appreciate the exams serve a purpose such as motivation to some people, they provide a guide as a level of competence. They boost ego's teachers as well as students.

1805 Mon 11-Jun-12 00:26:47

I mean - identifying up to four chords and their inversions, sing the lower part from a 3 part harmony, cadences, sight singing, identifying modulations, and a general discussion relating to musical features????? = aural requirements
The endless scale requirements in 6ths and 3rds, doms and dims, chromatics in 3rds and more.......
And passing grade 5 theory?
I really struggle to see how plenty of 8 year olds can understand that stuff? Even if they can play amazingly well.

Yes prodigies do exist, but "plenty"????? Where are you?

flexybex Mon 11-Jun-12 01:12:08

How do they reach the keys, or have they got mini pianos?

flexybex Mon 11-Jun-12 01:14:11

I so agree, * morethan* - reached Grade 7 on the piano and have not a musical bone in my body. It was merely a mathematical exercise.

CURIOUSMIND Mon 11-Jun-12 10:51:18

Obviously Colleger had experience with very seriouly talented people. At least I know YM 2012 finalist Yuanfan Yang achived grade 8 at 8 with distinction.
This must be very rare, but not in specialist school or JD.
Talent is talent ,it is out of ordinary.
It doesn't mean you shouldn't play if you can't get grade 8 by8 .

Colleger Mon 11-Jun-12 10:52:06

I never at one point said that they all had passed grade 8, I said there playing level was beyond grade 8 but many have sat the exam. An eight year old cannot just learn to pass an exam with very little talent - that is absurd. Well within my small world I currently know eighteen 7-9 year olds who play beyond grade 8 or have at least grade 8 distinction. Just go on YouTube and you'll find thousands!

morethanpotatoprints Mon 11-Jun-12 11:11:30

Colleger, I don't suggest that a lot of children don't work hard and practice well to pass exams. However, I don't think you necessarily need talent to pass these exams. A well practised person can learn to play scales, 3 pieces etc. A talented musician is one who plays well, sounds beautiful, has empathy and connections with other musicians. I agree with you as I know several young children studying for gr8 or passed the exam already. It doesn't make them good at music, just good at passing the exams. This is a common argument amongst teachers of music the same as other subjects. Do we teach children the subject, or how to pass the exams. There is a big difference. As I said, there is a purpose to exams no denying that most schools, colleges and uni's use them as milestones, they motivate some people to continue. However, this motivation is innate to musicians irrespective of exams.

Colleger Mon 11-Jun-12 11:18:13

I can tell you categorically that the children I know are at top music schools and JD and would not be there if they were merely passing exams. A number of the teachers don't even subscribe to the exam system and I know concert pianists at senior conservatoire who have never sat an exam in their life. These kids play musically and beautifully. In life there will always be kids with far more talent than our little Johnnys and just because we can't relate to it does not mean they don't exist!

Colleger Mon 11-Jun-12 11:23:15

Sorry, missed Curiousminds post.

I'm not trying to put anyone off playing but just trying to give them a sense of perspective. Then one has to work out how good their teacher is. What qualifications and experiencedo they have? I'd be a little concerned if a teacher told a parent their child was so musical so soon at a low level.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 11-Jun-12 11:38:51

Post 2. I would also like to say, you need to be a pretty tough cookie not to fall into the trap of parental competitiveness, even if you are totally against this type of thing. When I talk about dd auditioning for JD's at 11 (currently 8) people always ask, what grade is she. When I say soon taking gr2 violin working towards gr3 Singing, I hear see the urgency rising in their voices. "You know they need a distinction at grade 5". No they dont, they need to be working at this level.

At one time I would stand my ground when their dc had done so much, now I just walk away knowing how disappointed they will be when reality dawns. I know my dd has no worries about her audition when the time comes irrespective of what grade she is because she practices well, plays with the instrument and won't be pressured/lose the fun she has, due to learning pieces for an exam.

Colleger, you are entirely right about many having gone to grade 8 at this age. However, they stand no greater chance than a naturally talented and able child. Sometimes it is the reverse, as there are many gr8 clones and not as many of the latter examples. My dd is working above gr8 in some aspects especially Aural, swing and improvisation. No grade can teach this as it is an in built sense of music.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 11-Jun-12 11:45:55

Colleger, your post wasn't showing when I sent mine. We seem to be agreeing in most parts, lol.

Colleger Mon 11-Jun-12 12:35:21

My son is at a music school and he's never once been told that he's any good! Lol!

There are lots of levels at JD. There are grade 8+ violinists by 11 who are every bit as musical and talented and haven't been pushed as the child turning up with grade 5. I think it's unwise to assume a child has only reached a certain level because they've been pushed.

MTPP, why is DD only grade 3 singing? Surely with her advanced supporting skills she could easily sit Trinity grade 8? My son is a chorister and if he bothered to do exams could sit Diploma. Controversial, but singing really isn't that difficulty if you can do the supporting tests in my opinion. That's not putting your daughter down, more why is she not being stretched?

CURIOUSMIND Mon 11-Jun-12 12:54:18

Colleger, I understand your point of view very well(from your other posts as well).smile

morethanpotatoprints Mon 11-Jun-12 13:18:35

Colleger, firstly I'm not sure she would pass, nor would I like to put her under pressure. She has only just started auditioning for solos, working to pass gr2 and singing. I am of the school of thought that theres one way to stop an activity a child enjoys doing being fun and that is to bring examination into it.
I think she is being stretched in her own way, mostly by herself. She is currently working on an Italian Folk song and Ave Maria. She sings pieces from the abrsm songbook and will do exams when she wants. Her dad is one of those teachers you referred to that don't subscribe to the exam system and I must admit if I ever do get tempted to get ahead of myself, he will certainly pull me back. I'm not saying any way is better but its that usual chestnut of what works for one.....dd is really enjoying herself and very enthusiastic and really knows where shes going, even though only 8. I don't want to spoil it for her. As I said she is/will do exams but not at the expense of having fun. I never have to remind her to practice, sometimes we have to beg/bribe or cajole her to stop. Her instruments are her toys and she just loves them. I don't know what more I can say.

Colleger Mon 11-Jun-12 13:58:34

I suppose my point is though that there isn't a lot of work with singing exams so there shouldn't be any pressure.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 12-Jun-12 20:21:19

There doesn't seem to be as much as violin or piano, as there are no scales but sightsinging needs to be good and of course theres the unaccompanied folk song. DD has really good pitch and Aural is exceptional, but she has done very little singing from score or indeed music. Her teacher and choir Master give out written sheets of lyrics, which I must admit annoys me. She has her songbooks and sits at the piano and when she does scales she sings as well as plays the piano. But this is only just coming together now. I still think its early days though and feel that it will come together quite alot during next year. Maybe then she might do 2 exams in the year. Would also like to do some jazz grade as as well and the practical musicianship rather than gr5 theory.

Colleger Tue 12-Jun-12 22:26:11

If you HE have you thought about west end shows or English National Opera? DS is going up for a couple of auditions soon but his height goes against him as they like little ones!

morethanpotatoprints Wed 13-Jun-12 21:27:30

Thanks. I have thought of Shows but maybe somewhere a bit more local. I couldn't send her away and no way could I leave family and stay down there. It would be her dream and i know they find nice host families, but I'd hate being without her, lol. We do have English Northern Opera, or whatever its called up here and will def consider this as she gets older and if we HE. Thanks for the thought, gratefully appreciated. I hope ds does well in the auditions. I always think performing under pressure such as auditions, competitions and exams is so beneficial to future performances, if you can do it under pressure youv'e cracked it imo.

Veggiegrower Sun 24-Jun-12 17:36:24

My dd is about to sit grade 2 and was only introduced to a piano 12 months ago. Sat grade 1 in november last year and passed with distinction which I believe is uncommon. After watching youtube it is fair to say that although I would wish there was a special talent or gift in my child there are what appears to be prob thousands of children considerably younger at grade 8 level and beyond.

pianomama Mon 25-Jun-12 12:23:02

Actually , there are not many really talanted children on youtube.

Quite a few of them are over-trained and over-precessed playing pieces way beyond their understanding. Just because they them can play lots of notes very fast does not make them into good musicians.

I really would not go by grades - they just dont mean anything except the fact the child hase been trained to play 3 pieces and certain scales.

A lot of naturally bright kids wizz through early grades - this is just the beginning.

I heard a 13 yo boy playing some diploma standard pieces on piano recently - he has 3 G8s and a G6 on 4-th instrument.

He has done really well and will get scholarships to top schools.He can play in groups and be important part in school's music life.

However he is the most boring piano players who in my opinion will never make it as a pianist as all the magic is missing from the pieces he plays and he enjoys virtiosity for the sake of it. The number of time he has been labled as gifted, talanted etc - I worry about kids like that having to face a reality one day.

I think its really good when parents support music education for their kids, I just would be very careful at labelling a young child as gifted - making of a musician takes years of hard work.

pianomama Mon 25-Jun-12 12:25:29

Oops, sorry about so many mistakes - should try do 1 one thing at a time smile

Moominmammacat Wed 11-Jul-12 12:39:16

There aren't plenty of 8 year olds with Grade 8 ... 1805 makes all the right points. They may be able to play Grade 8 pieces ... but the rest of it? No chance for most of them ... and why should they be able to at 8? There are more important things for 8 year olds to be doing.

CURIOUSMIND Wed 11-Jul-12 22:01:39

Surely there are not plenty of Grade 8 at 8, but there are some.
Anyway, I believe G8at8 kids are fine with theory, scales, understanding, but I don't know how they cope with the octave+?
Do they tend to avoid pieces too strenchy for them, or skip some notes, or use pedal?

Colleger Thu 12-Jul-12 09:39:38

Ok I'll take my inside knowledge of the music schools and discount them as some strange figment of my imagination. My son is nearing grade 8 bassoon and he is in Year 6. I've been told by a number of teachers that a child of 10/11 cannot possibly play a full size bassoon. Not only can he play it but he plays it with great tone and musicality for his age and better than many students 6/7 years older than him. I wouldn't class him as gifted but the music schools must have thought he had something.

Even if an eight year old doesn't play the piano with the musicality of a 34 year old (which is to be expected) it does not mean they are not gifted.

Moominmammacat Thu 12-Jul-12 11:34:47

How many eight year olds do you know with the exam report to prove it?

Colleger Thu 12-Jul-12 12:57:25

Why can't you just be pleased at the achievements of some eight year olds? shock

CURIOUSMIND Thu 12-Jul-12 20:50:12

Talent is out of ordinary, couldn't be measured by usual rulers.
It's beyond ordinary people's imagination, but it doesn't mean they are not existing.
My question is genuine and practical.Can anybody give me some idea?

Moominmammacat Fri 13-Jul-12 09:39:46

Because I like accuracy ... not disputing some can play Grade 8 pieces ... and also "there are tons of Grade 8 8 year olds around" attitude puts down those who genuinely rejoice in a child's achievements, however basic or advanced.

CURIOUSMIND Fri 13-Jul-12 10:31:14

Why you let somebody else's attitude put you down?Doesn't worth it.
Somebody could be fantastic at ealier age doesn't mean you couldn't be fastastic at later age.Keep doing what you enjoyed doing.
I am sure Colleger does not mean to put anybody down.

Colleger Fri 13-Jul-12 10:32:51

You clearly have issues! The OP was asking if her child was gifted and I said no. My son is not grade 8 piano, he's only grade 3 and I rejoice in his piano achievements eventhough by a lot of standards it's not an achievement. Don't push your issues onto other peoples' posts...

servingwench Fri 13-Jul-12 19:19:36

How can reaching grade 3 on any instrument not be an achievement? What a strange way of thinking!

Colleger Fri 13-Jul-12 20:35:57

I just said I rejoice in his achievements. Banging head on moronic brick wall...

pianomama Thu 02-Aug-12 09:10:19

bubbles - how did your DD do on her exam?

LorraineSE22 Mon 06-Aug-12 19:20:52

I teach piano and Grade 6 around age 10 is reasonably commonplace, I have entered a handful of students at this age for Grade 6 and just one 11 year old for Grade 8. I do have one nearly 6 year old playing Grade 7 level pieces although she doesn't take exams. Anyway, regardless of whether your daughter is prodigious, as long as she is enjoying the piano and you love hearing her play, then that in itself is fantastic!

Yvonna Thu 16-Aug-12 22:40:52

My child has learned piano for just over a year and has taken both grade 1 and grade 2 where she obtained merits as she did everything from memory and was unable to pass the sight reading as she couldnt read the music. She is now preparing for grade 3 and is learning to play from music rather than just from ear so she should get the distinction now. she is also makes her own jazz riffs up which she loves doing. she practices every day for at least 30 mins which isnt bad for a 7 year old. SHe understands the need for practice as she strives to be and wants to be very good and to perform. She is also preparing for grade 1 clarinet and is taking grade 1 at singing. She is 7 now. I myself am a pianist.

Yvonna Thu 16-Aug-12 22:43:31

I studied at a famous music school in england. we have been told the guidelines for children now to audition are to be at the level of grade 5 by 9 years old so she would be able to achieve that with ease, so long as she continues to want this herself.

Colleger Mon 20-Aug-12 20:57:54

It says grade 5 for age 9 but the reality is that the pianists entering are beyond grade 8. The violinists are around grade 7/8 and the wind is grade 5. Most haven't sat any exams.

jabed Tue 21-Aug-12 18:23:50

Really tired, is that really a grade 8 child playing in that clip?

I am a complete mucical numbskull and I may be looking through the eyes of a loving DP but I think my DS can play better than that at 6.

I am surprised. When I have mentioned DS's mucic to mt DW she usually just smiles. When she comes in I shall have to ask her about it. Thanks for the example of a grade 8 child.

On a different note I think G&T labels are to be avoided.

Colleger Tue 21-Aug-12 20:48:16

That boy is not grade 8. He has been coached to pass grade 8 by his pianist mother who seems to want to promote him at any opportunity.

pianomama Wed 22-Aug-12 09:43:50

Agree. Silly mother not doing the little boy any favors.

FastLoris Fri 05-Oct-12 22:50:50

Musical giftedness is a load of cobblers, like most ideas about giftedness.

If your kid loves playing and plays well, that's great. The main factors that will influence taking that to the next level are (a) how much good quality, focused practice she does, and (b) the influence of top quality, appropriately targeted tuition. And probably the indirect influence of family and community culture on attitudes, values, motivation etc.

Peoples' spurious idea about mysterious forces marking out the chosen few at birth are just a distraction to all that.

richmal Sat 06-Oct-12 13:01:47

I agree that people are not born gifted; a lot of hard work is needed along the way.

However, IMO there are two sides to being a gifted musician; technical and artistic. It seems so much emphasis is placed on the former there are a lot of technically excellent, aesthetically tedious musicians. Not everyone who learns to type will become an author.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 13-Oct-12 18:19:32

Being able to play 24 pieces of music i.e grade 8, doesn't make you a gifted musician, at any age.
Sure its great if somebody can get to this stage at a young age but not all gifted or talented kids or adults for that matter, go down this route.
So its impossible to say that a gr 2 3 4 or whatever isn't talented.
A true gift is what it says. A natural ability, something extra ordinary, that extra special something. Yes it can be nurtured, coached but its something you have or you haven't.
I think my dd is gifted and talented in music, she is doing gr2 and gr 3 on 2 of her instruments and the others she is a begginner. The difference is she is driven, I have to tell her to stop. She won't go to school and practices for hours on end. She lives for it and nothing is going to stop her from doing it.

So O.P ignore the exam brigade they do have their place, but music should be fun foremost. Your dd could well be gifted or she may just enjoy music. Either way you should encourage her and nurture her talent. I think the focus she has had to reach grade 2 at her age is good.

AnxiousElephant Sat 13-Oct-12 21:06:43

My dd is 6 and started piano at the end of last year. I have no scooby doo what level she is at smile or how she has progressed as we have never heard her play anything at home! She came home with a certificate but no idea what she really can do grin. I just leave her to it, she seems to enjoy the lessons and takes pride in her achievements in piano but refuses point blank to practice. I don't nag her and as someone else said, I don't want to put her off. Her younger sister who isn't old enough for lessons at school does more practice on the keyboard!

b1uesky Sat 27-Oct-12 16:10:51

OP, I think your dd is talented, to pass 2 grades in 2 years at such a young age is really good. I do know children at 8 on G8 but it doesn't mean those children are more gifted than your dd because they practice long hours, concentrate mostly on the 3 exam pieces and don't always pass with distinction. When my dd was ready to take her G6 piano she was still on theory grade 2. My fault because she only get 5 mins of theory once a week at the end of her piano lesson. Her teacher and I decided dd should take the musicianship G5 instead of theory, dd managed to jumped from grade 0 to grade 5 in 6 months. If your dd is good at the aural part of the practical exam then do look into musicianship as an alternative. Personally I think you should trust the teacher, he wouldn't enter your dd for the exam unless he's confident of her ability. GL

cory Mon 29-Oct-12 09:01:54

"musical giftedness is a load of cobblers, like most ideas about giftedness.

If your kid loves playing and plays well, that's great. The main factors that will influence taking that to the next level are (a) how much good quality, focused practice she does, and (b) the influence of top quality, appropriately targeted tuition. And probably the indirect influence of family and community culture on attitudes, values, motivation etc.

Peoples' spurious idea about mysterious forces marking out the chosen few at birth are just a distraction to all that."

Not sure this is always the case. Mozart wasn't the only musical infant who was coached and promoted by musical families during the 18th and 19th centuries, but they didn't all go on to write Figaro's Wedding. He had something the others didn't- and it wasn't just a pushy dad. There was an article in one of the broadsheets the other week about a very young girl who was playing and composing at a mature level- again, not all girls who have a similar upbringing are capable of doing that.

So I do think it happens. But of course the chances it will happen in any one family are very, very low. For most of us, whatever our passion, hard work and appropriate support will have to do instead of genius- and we probably won't write Figaro's Wedding. But somewhere in the world there may be a child with that kind of genius, and that is exciting too.

FastLoris Wed 07-Nov-12 23:49:26

I don't think you can equate adult composing prowess with early apparent "giftedness" for several reasons. For one thing, even so-called child prodigies who compose - including Mozart - don't write music of real mature and enduring appeal at such a young age (for obvious reasons). That only comes much later, in Mozart's case for example from his late teens. Childhood "talent" for composing usually consists of understanding the rules and procedures for putting melodies and harmonies together in a way that makes sense to people, albeit in a derivative and superficial way. Of course that's no mean feat for a young child, but it's basically a process and a grammar that can be learnt - even when people learn a lot of it by osmosis, living in a musical community or household, rather than by analysing everything. It's like learning a language in that reaspect.

The fact that Mozart went on to compose pieces of staggering emotional depth that have endured to this day (which is the only thing really that differentiates him from all the minor composers of the time who just wrote music that "makes sense") only means that by the time he approached adulthood he had assimilated a huge amount of awareness of the power of various musical elements and of the musical grammar of his time. He may have been exceptionally motivated for whatever emotional reasons to do so, or the circumstances of his life may have simply added up to that happening where those of other lives don't. There's no evidence at all that he did so because of any genetic predisposition to do so.

Reports about so-called prodigies "composing at a young age" nowadays are even dodgier because there is little agreement about what even constitutes "good" composing, and certainly nothing like the cultural consensus of 18th century Vienna. The fact that a person of whatever age "can compose a piece" really means nothing, without actually hearing the piece - and even then, you're unlikely to get the same opinion about whether it even constitutes a half decent piece, let alone genius, from any two different people.

Of course not all people "of a similar upbringing" go on to do the same outstanding things in music or anything else. But that is meaningless because even with a superficially similar upbringing, the experiences of children in the early years of their life are all entirely unique. Even if you could devise an experiment where two children were given the exact same experiences externally measured (which of course you can't), that wouldn't do it because experience is an internal reality, not an external one. You could make two children practise the piano for two hours a day and that would be irrelevant because one of them might be at a stage of development where three hours would be appropriate, and the other only capable of one (but actually capable of ending up just as good a musician in the long run, as long as he isn't demoralised by being pushed too hard). Or one might be far better off on a different instrument than the piano, or whatever.

Assuming that the differences between five or eight year olds must be due to innate inherited factors is absurd, when you consider the absolutely staggering number of neural connections made during those years in response to experience, and the absolutely staggering number of differences in even similar sets of experience. Which is not of course to say that there CAN'T be innate differences, and we should of course accept them when there is evidence for them. But most people just use them as a default explanation, without evidence, for any situation where the end result is "a lot" or "very impressive", because they can't imagine how such a result would have been possible any other way. It's pretty much like believing there must be a God just because the world is a complex and amazing place.

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