Music School In Abu Dhabi

Prodigies: Are They Born or Made?

“Are prodigies born or made?”- A time-honoured debate that still brings experts in opposition. Some believe that exhaustive practice, expert guidance, and a drive to learn matures a prodigy. Others insist on a genetic framework for exceptional talents.

We all, at least once in our lives, encountered a remarkably talented individual. Whether it is riveting literature or captivating music, such individuals have a rare dexterity and a refined skill set. You may wonder, ‘what makes that individual extraordinarily exceptional?’ Inherent talents and skills or years of practice?

What explains prodigy?

An individual that exhibits an unusual finesse at a specific skill, we call that individual a prodigy. Our history is brimming with individuals that honoured and advanced in a specific domain because of their skills. Among all these prodigies, one name that is worth mentioning is Wunderkind Mozart.

Mozart was only 4 when he started playing musical instruments, and by the age of 5, he progressed to performing at concertos. Where it was a rare accomplishment, researchers dismiss innate talents as the sole reason behind it.

Experts argue that the talents of prodigies cannot reach their peak without practice and continual learning. It was constant practice coupled with commitment that made prodigies like Mozart, a one-of-a-kind musician.

However, some experts argue that prodigies are born with these talents. It is a genetic structure that plays a vital role in making these individuals uniquely talented. On the other hand, many psychologists are convinced that continuous practice differentiates talents from other ordinary ones.

Several studies support this notion and keep religious practice as the primary factor enabling people to excel in complex domains and succeed.

Numerous experts argue that an individual’s genetic framework, coupled with your surroundings, help nurture the rare talents of prodigies. These experts support that prodigies aren’t born; they are made in a supportive environment and with systematic practice.

Case in point

Tiger Woods, a renowned golfer, wasn’t a golf prodigy. He was only two years old when his father started teaching him golf. From then on, his father trained him and played a pivotal role in his successful golf career.

Every person is blessed with unique skill-set and intelligence, but only a few are gifted with an environment that fosters their passion, cultivates their interests, and lets their uniqueness grow. Parents can play a pivotal role in supporting an environment that allows children to explore their talents and nourish their abilities.

Is there a special genetic formula?

Some experts say given enough support, instruction, any individual can gain expertise in a specific skill. However, others insist on the genetic factors inherited by these individuals. The proponents of this opinion use higher IQ levels of prodigies as evidence.

An average individual has an IQ level of 100, but prodigies are gifted with IQ levels of 130 and above. Additionally, prodigies are known to be socially and emotionally elevated individuals with increased alertness to their surroundings and environment.

Several psychologists and experts ascertain that prodigies are born and not made. The advocates of this view, state those cases where young children showed extraordinary talent at a tender age. These young children didn’t practice or weren’t tutored at a school.

Case in study

Julian Lage, aged 21, was once a celebrated child prodigy. Julian was only 5 years when he showed extraordinary mastery at playing the guitar. By the age of 8, Julian became the subject of the Oscar documentary ‘Jules at Eight (1996)‘. Moreover, he had the opportunity to play alongside Carlos Santana. By the time he was 11, he had made his first appearance at Grammy’s and had the chance to collaborate with Gary Burton.

In light of this case, advocates of ‘prodigies are born’ argue that genetic factors render such talents. If genetics are involved, it would mean that one or both the parents of prodigies are also prodigies. When these parents have children, they get rare abilities and extraordinary talents. These children are quick learners and have higher intelligence levels.

Bottom line

Prodigies may have a unique genetic framework, but proper guidance, nurturing environment, and careful practice are crucial for nourishing their talents. Experts and psychologists affirm that every child can gain special expertise, given the right environment. Therefore, parents and institutes need to focus on building environments where children can excel in their desired talents.

If your child exhibits some remarkable music expertise, then give an opportunity to let his talent flourish. We at The Young Musician Music Institute strive to polish the music talents and refine their skills. Our professional music teachers are focused on creating a life-long passion and drive for music in children.