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To be astonished at this child

(24 Posts)
Shagmundfreud Sun 18-Nov-12 14:27:29

A tiny Korean five year old in the grade 2 class at our local music festival. Had to climb on a box to get onto the piano stool. And then blew everyone out of their seats with her perfect, exquisite, mature playing, thereby scooping first prize, plus the overall trophy for the competition.

My 9 year old ds was green with envy (he did well but didn't get a prize), but I had tears in my eyes. Absolutely awesome and really moving to see a very small child do something incredibly well.

Wonder what it is about Korean culture that they turn out so many prodigiously talented child musicians?

mrskeithrichards Sun 18-Nov-12 14:29:05

Gangham style!

Shagmundfreud Sun 18-Nov-12 14:31:16

Maybe too much listening to that bloody Gangnam style is what's done for my ds's piano playing. He's downloaded it onto his ipod and plays it about 300 times a day. Last year he won the grade one class he entered and got a trophy. Nowt this year!

hackmum Sun 18-Nov-12 14:33:45

I assume it's simply practice, practice and more practice. Have you read the Tiger Mother book? It's eye-popping.

I would like to know the secret, though, of how they get them to practice. I've found mere nagging doesn't work.

quirrelquarrel Sun 18-Nov-12 14:35:22

What a lovely post Shagmund. It's just as hard to play the simpler pieces beautifully.

Hate to say it but I just think it has to be discipline, discipline, discipline. It's in the mindset.

GrrrArghZzzzYaayforall8nights Sun 18-Nov-12 14:47:46

I think it has more to do with having a child who has a compliant and/or eager personality than with ethnicity. There are white anglo-saxon British children who can do the same (and nowt in the culture to do with it) and Korean or Chinese children (since Tiger Mother has been brought up) that won't do the practice or be good at music regardless of encouragement or nagging. The ones who do are in the spotlight leaving us to forget how many don't.

2 of my mostly white children will practice or work for ages with an appropriate goal, 1 has no interest in doing any such thing no matter how I try. Same parenting, different personalities. That's pretty much the key in it I think.

Theas18 Sun 18-Nov-12 15:20:01

May hours of practice with a super involved parent I guess. talent yes, but I'm not sure ow you get a 5yr old to practice properly without doing every note effectively with them- how quickly does a child learn to practice popely - work at the weak bits and not just make the same errors each time? That's a hard skill.

Shagmundfreud Sun 18-Nov-12 15:39:03

It was the beautiful, mature phrasing that got me and not just the 'correctness'. You could hear that she really understood the piece and was loving what she was doing.

Yes, I've read Tiger Mother - loved it! I'm so NOT a tiger mother myself. If I could do my parenting life again from scratch I would be a bit more tigerish I think!

I bloody love music competitions. It's great to see children being brave and doing something as best they can, and to know the hours and hours of preparation that has gone into their performance. It always moves me to see it.

InNeedOfBrandy Sun 18-Nov-12 15:44:49

I feel really sorry for 5 yrbolds like this, there whole life must be took up with practising. sad I want to take them to a playground or soft play and let them run and laugh.

BegoniaBampot Sun 18-Nov-12 15:55:26

Maybe she is just a natural and loves to practice. The culture is often quite competitive and academic though. Children are drilled and tutored in a way we don't usually do here. we see the value of spending time and money on things like sports, dance etc. These kids will be more likely pushed into hours of music and extra tuition for school subjects as they are seen as more valuable.

Shagmundfreud Sun 18-Nov-12 16:46:25

InNeed - she looked very happy indeed. I suspect the average 5 year old in the UK watches 3 hour+ a day of TV. I have no problem with a 5 year old doing an hour or so of practise a day if they love music.

DozyDuck Sun 18-Nov-12 16:55:40


I think you're also in need of a grip.

Some kids don't like soft play and enjoy playing pianos

InNeedOfBrandy Sun 18-Nov-12 17:54:17

Some children have never had the chance, instead they spend their whole childhood practising piana and taking maths GCSE at 11. Some children need a childhood.

DozyDuck Sun 18-Nov-12 18:03:17

And you know these children personally do you?

RibenaFiend Sun 18-Nov-12 18:11:56

Aaaaaand back to the point in question.

I disliked watching tv. I much preferred playing outdoors (back in the day where the front door was just left open for us!) and playing my violin. (Suzuki!) I DESPERATELY wanted to learn the piano (still do) but my parents just couldn't afford the instrument or lessons. Some kids are just like that I'm afraid!

DP has a piano. As soon as we have a house it's going in and I'm taking lessons.

DozyDuck Sun 18-Nov-12 18:20:09

Some children LIKE academic stuff. Not all kids are the same at all. Why do you think children want to go to play areas, it's some children's idea of hell!

Some children love playing outdoors, some watching tv, some playing on their DS, some like maths, some playing piano!

My favourite activity as a child was doing long multiplication! (I'm rubbish at maths now)

If you force your child outside for 'fun' when they don't like it what's the point?

(mine isn't academic, he likes smearing poo and rolling in mud)

AChickenCalledKorma Sun 18-Nov-12 18:20:26

Had a similar experience with a lad of about 10 who was the last performer in a local concert for school choirs and instrumentalists. He clambered up on stage with his recorder. I'm guessing that a few hearts sank at the sight of the recorder.

And then he rattled off five minutes of sheer Baroque loveliness, grinned, gave a huge bow and left the stage. There was absolutely no doubt that he was enjoying himself and the audience went wild.

edam Sun 18-Nov-12 18:26:38

sounds impressive! Agree it's probably a combination of aptitude, talent and practice, practice, practice. Which some children enjoy.

Shagmundfreud Sun 18-Nov-12 18:30:43

AChicken - it really lifts you up. There's something slightly miraculous about beautiful live playing - especially when children are involved and are having a wonderful time.

Northernlurker Sun 18-Nov-12 18:31:29

This child sounds like a born musician. I think it's really unfair to assume her parents are denying her a childhood because they have also enabled her to make the most of her gift.

WilsonFrickett Sun 18-Nov-12 18:39:26

Some children are just prodigiously talented. Sounds like this one was because of the maturity and understanding you mentioned - that can't be drilled. Although I think the child's ethnicity is somewhat of a red herring.

freddiefrog Sun 18-Nov-12 18:48:36

I think some kids just have the talent and pick it up really well.

I play and we have a bashed up old upright piano. The kids have always sat at it and picked out tunes on it. They have lessons and practice as and when.

1 DD is really good, she has a natural talent, she doesn't practice very much but has scraped through her grade exams. If she stopped dicking about and did some practice she could fly through the exams. The other one isn't great but practices off her own bat every day, she'll never make a pianist but she enjoys it and has fun with it

thekidsrule Sun 18-Nov-12 19:05:08

think there are many factors

but imo i do feel these children are put under alot of pressure (look at the gymnasts etc)

there has been cases that way down the track when they have become adults they said themselves they had very little childhood and was very disciplined etc etc

these may be the extreme cases but even so this does happen

ArkadyRose Sun 18-Nov-12 19:21:35

Children who are child prodigies usually grow up in musical households where one or both parents are musicians themselves. Even so, that doesn't guarantee they'll be a prodigy or take to it well - the child has to have a love of music to begin with.

Musical parents are more likely to have recognised postential at an early age and be in a position to help nuture it; they may well have started teaching the child themselves on instruments at home.

That said, many such children do plateau early and very few of them go on to have a successful career in music as an adult.

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