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(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!!!!

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.

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.

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

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!

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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!

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

bubbles - how did your DD do on her exam?

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

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

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 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...

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.

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 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?

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

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

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 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.

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?

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