It doesn’t seem possible to refer to musical prodigies as commonplace or 14-year-old virtuosos as over the hill but Newsweek provides some interesting insight about the increase in talented young musicians.
In its article, “Musical Prodigies Find Plenty of Youthful Company,” Newsweek writes: “Conservatories in Europe and North America report an increasing number of pre-teens who turn up for auditions flawlessly performing repertoire previously considered the domain of 25 year olds.”
The reason for this increase is uncertain. One person attributed the trend to the Olympic syndrome of wanting to break records and attain fame. Another mentioned the growing Chinese population that typically tends to value music education. It is estimated that there are 30 million young pianists in China.
Music, however, is not just technical perfection — hitting the right notes and executing difficult passages. It’s also about artistry and creating an emotional connection with the music and to the audience.
Just ask Gabriela Montero, a Venezuelan pianist and a former a child prodigy who made her musical debut when she was just 8 years old. She stopped playing piano at 18 years old and lived life outside of the piano. She returned two years later and says the break added meaning to her work.
“The danger is that we’re creating machines that can play any piece at any speed,” Montero told Newsweek. “As an artist you have to say something to say, but you don’t have anything to say if you’ve spent your life in a practice room.”
What do you think? Is the increase in young music prodigies good or bad?
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