Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for child prodigy

Comments on the Child Prodigy

A friend sent me the video below of a “child prodigy” with a request that I “comment”. Here goes. I would begin with a rhetorical question: is there anything more tiresome, more irksome than a “child prodigy”? Prodigies: they stand as a reminder of our own mediocrity, and if we could, we’d squash ‘em like the bugs they are. Honestly, is there a story that gives us more pleasure than that of the “prodigy” who crashes and burns when the realities of life kick in during late adolescence? Hah hah hah. Hah. Ho. I’d observe that the rarest prodigy is the creative prodigy. You know, it’s one thing to repeat words that have been put into your mouth or play music written by others; it’s another thing entirely to actually write those words or compose that music yourself. To be able to do that, you need real life experience and half-a-lifetime of accumulated technical skills. We are still waiting for the first “great” fifteen year-old novelist. And while it is entirely true that Wolfgang Mozart, Frédéric Chopin, and Alexander Scriabin all composed some first-rate music before they were sixteen, the fact remains that their early music was derivative, meaning that […]

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