To think most "gifted" children are from affluent backgrounds?(412 Posts)
I was reading about Alma Deutscher, a child prodigy who started composing at age 6 and had her first opera performed at age 9. She is a child prodigy who is home schooled, her parents are scholars with interest in music, she had the best teachers from age 3 and according to Wikipedia:
Professor Gjerdingen recommended to Deutscher's parents the renowned Swiss improvisor Rudolf Lutz, who then connected them with the Swiss musician Tobias Cramm. Gjerdingen sent exercises and commented on technical aspects of Alma’s composition, while Alma had lessons in improvisation from Cramm via Skype, with the pair using the pedagogical method of the eighteenth century Italian partimenti, instructional bass lines used for the teaching of harmony, counterpoint and improvisation. Alma quickly became fluent in the music syntax of eighteenth century music
She spends 5 hours a day on music lessons from "Renowned violin and piano teachers at Yehudi Menuhin music school".
AIBU to think that most kids will become "prodigies" with such input?
But how many parents have the means/knowledge for such concentrated input?
I don't think most people would want their kids to be prodigies tbh. Sounds stressful and like they don't have much of a childhood.
It depends what you mean by gifted. If a child has the potential to greatness they can only achieve it with support. Children with wealthy parents are more likely to achieve that support but many many parents from low incomes help and support their children and show total dedication. Usian Bolt, the Williams sisters, Alisha Keys - 4 very successful people who have all commended their parents drive and commitment. You rarely see anyone from a poorer background succed in fields requiring expensive equipment etc thou - which is why UK does so well at the events - sailing, horses etc - at Olympic level.
I’m not sure, I think it’s hard because most of us will only know ‘ordinary’ clever children and adults and not any really ‘gifted’ people/prodigies.
There are plenty of ‘tiger parents’ and their kids do tend to become successful but just ‘normal successful’ (doctors, solicitor etc.) iykwim? So no, I think there’s probably something innate with real geniuses/prodigies.
My cleverest friend comes from a poor immigrant background, her mum was SAHM and her dad a taxi driver. She’s a dr now...I wonder what she could have done with pushy/tiger parents.
No, most children wouldn't be able to do that. However I think some gifted children don't realise their potential because they aren't in the right environment.
I completely agree with you OP. Amazing how few children from deprived backgrounds are considered gifted
But if you read biographies of most successful people, most had somebody behind them with money/connections etc etc. For example Prince came from a poor family, but his dad had connections in musical world, his bandmate's mum was their manager with connections and managed to get the band instruments on loan and contracts with local concert halls.
I think there is more to it than just a "gift". For example Alma's parents claim that she is gifted, but they never mention all the tutoring that is going on in the background...
Talent [most obviously physical characteristics] has a hereditary component, obviously. This is the whole basis of the selective breeding that takes place for horse racing etc.
But there's also a huge random component, e.g. look at the current England football team [pro football being pretty much a meritocracy given the very low financial barriers to entry & that coaches who get bad results are fired] - you can be sure that none of their dads [or mums] were useless at football, y'know, the last kid to be picked for playground kickabouts. But, that I'm aware of, not one of the current England team's dads [or maternal uncles] was good enough to play for England, or even good enough to be a pro at any level. This is a good illustration of the role that randomness plays in talent.
The kind of multi-generational 'excellence' such as successive generations of doctors, lawyers, music, etc obviously has more to do with financial & social barriers than plain talent.
I don’t understand at all how you can get a 2 year old to play the piano though
Yes it's the 10,000 hours theory. I'm guessing people from affluent backgrounds are more pushy about putting the hours in.
@Sprinklesinmyelbow Getting them to play is easy, getting them to play actual music somewhat harder.
My in-laws have a piano, dh plays by ear and he and ds have been messing about on it since ds was capable of sitting up unaided. Now whenever we are at his grandparents, he will go and play by himself. Sometimes it sounds fairly good, others less so. Definitely not a prodigy, just a curious little boy.
I think you're conflating two things, OP. 'Giftedness' and 'success'. Giftedness doesn't automatically lead to success, and that's where environment, parents, money, opportunities and connections come in. How do we know if there are just as many incredibly gifted children in families which don't have those privileges? We don't, because they mostly don't succeed.
It's not just that, though. They may have a higher level of intelligence which she was lucky enough to inherit. They may be strong believers in occupying your time doing something - they might not have the TV on all the time, they might not allow screens, they might encourage creative hobbies. It's not just cash, otherwise there would be a lot more child geniuses.
Sprinkles, DS started playing violin before age 3. He is quite advanced for his age and many people assume he has a talent. The truth is he had lessons for the most of his life, there is no magic behind it. But I can't afford the best tutors/instruments so he will never become a "prodigy" like say Vanessa Mae who played a violin that cost 1 mil at age 11...
Maybe they wanted to copy mummy/daddy initially? I play the flute and DS always wants a go so I give him plastic Fife’s or recorders or my penny whistle to blow into.
It's a bit egg and chicken
If you see the pure talent (ie the kid who can play by ear as a toddler) and have the means and drive to nurture it, your child is more likely to continue to develop that gift.
If you see the pure talent, tell your friends how great he is, and carry on with your day because you need to be out earning a living, he may just end up as the piano playing kid at school or in a gospel group, rather than a prodigy on a world stage.
There was an extremely interesting programme recently about gifted children from low income backgrounds called ‘Generation Gifted’. All the parents were supportive and the teachers were fantastic. There was one lad in particular who wanted to be a chef and by the end of the programme was thinking of studying medicine.
The difference between ‘gifted’ and ‘prodigy’ is immense though and the latter is a pretty tough road to travel.
Gifted is born not made and isn't necessarily smart. Gifted ppl won't necessarily do amazing in school.
I wouldn't say "affluent" is always the right word, but usually their parents come from the background that they are a prodigy in, which means they are exposed to it early and have access to support.
That’s interesting. I would like to encourage music and DC have been attending colourstrings from 2 but we are not a musical family and there are no fully sized, adult instruments in the house. Now wondering if we should consider getting one. Would there be any point with no one to teach them though? Also kodaly method doesn’t encourage an instrument until 5. Hmmm.
But how many so called gifted children come from a household where both parents are in full time employment Even for football you need to cart DC to various locations at various times of the day...
Puffy why do you think that "successive generations of any profession are obviously more to do with financial and social barriers than plain talent?" I was wondering if you had seen some research to back that up. It's my impression that that's not the case at all, although I live in the USA where we have far fewer financial and social barriers than in the UK or Europe. For example, my father's family is pretty typical "American Story" of coming here as poor uneducated starving immigrants and working their way up (my father is a Professor of Biochemistry). Similarly, my housekeeper can't read and write and doesn't speak a word of English, but her son is working on his Master degree.
There is no doubt that it helps to have money and privilege, but it's not the sole, or even main reason for giftedness. Genetics and nurturing help a lot too.
TheHulks, that's an interesting observation. I still think most of the "prodigies" are made, not born, and as you said their parents have something to do with it...
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