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#1478365 - 07/21/10 08:32 AM Can a prodigy be "made"?
Brooke Taylor Offline
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Registered: 07/19/10
Posts: 161
Loc: Citrus Park, Tampa, FL
Hello users of pianoworld!

I may seem very ignorant and don't know what I'm talking about, but I was just thinking. One generally accepted definition of a prodigy is a person who, by the age of 10, displays expert proficiency in a field usually only undertaken by adults. Well, it that's true, then that must mean that it can be made. Do you understand what I'm saying? If you start at age 2, by the time you're 12 or 10 and have been playing some 8-10 years, of course you're going to be very talented. It seems like prodigies can be formed. What do you think?

Please, no hateful comments as I am only fourteen. I just want opinions. I was just thinking. Because I already know I sound stupid!


Edited by Brooke Taylor (07/21/10 09:24 AM)
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#1478376 - 07/21/10 09:03 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Brooke Taylor]
Piano*Dad Offline
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You don't sound stupid at all. A little defensive, perhaps. grin

Most 'prodigies' are made, in the sense that their parents play a large role in structuring the environment in which they develop. I suspect the number of piano prodigies who emerge from an environment in which non-musical parents simply allow their children to do just whatever they want is quite small. Most of the ten year olds who can play difficult adult repertoire with a reasonably adult sound have received very specialized training and nurturing from roughly age three or four.

Note that I have not emotionalized the issue. I have said nothing about 'chaining children to the bench' or 'destroying their childhood.' People often dismiss the accomplishments of these children with simple expressions of this sort and a dismissive wave of the hand. In my experience, prodigies are not tortured freaks. They are usually very focussed children who grow up in an environment that rewards that focus.

Lastly, you cannot ignore innate characteristics. Every child who is put in front of a piano at age three will not emerge seven years later playing the Revolutionary Etude sounding like a pro. It's a rare child who can sit still and focus on complex abstract tasks at a very young age. There is a tremendous amount of selection going on here.
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#1478385 - 07/21/10 09:20 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Piano*Dad]
CWPiano Offline
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Registered: 11/30/08
Posts: 212
Prodigy can be made, but artist cannot be made. Of course when we hear the word 'prodigy', we assume nowadays it's a young kid who have amassed insane amount of repertoire and have performed substantially. The problem with this definition is instead we are using the speed of learning as yardstick. Very few of these 'prodigies' actually have innate abilities to bring special insights into the music they are learning. But those who can went on to become great musicians such as Stephen Hough.Perhaps one day Lang Lang, Sudbin or Yuja might achieve such point, but only time will tell.


Edited by CWPiano (07/21/10 09:22 AM)
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#1478390 - 07/21/10 09:29 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: CWPiano]
Morodiene Offline
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I think that somewhere in the mix, talent has to be accounted for. Talent can be defined as genetics or a predisposition to be able to process music easier than most, or what have you. While I do think that every child who takes piano lessons and has the combination of a good teacher and parental support (not pressure, mind you) then that child will have the best chances of learning piano. However, this will not make them a prodigy. I do not think a prodigy can be made without the talent factored in.
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#1478391 - 07/21/10 09:32 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: CWPiano]
pianoloverus Offline
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Originally Posted By: CWPiano
Prodigy can be made, but artist cannot be made. Of course when we hear the word 'prodigy', we assume nowadays it's a young kid who have amassed insane amount of repertoire and have performed substantially. The problem with this definition is instead we are using the speed of learning as yardstick. Very few of these 'prodigies' actually have innate abilities to bring special insights into the music they are learning. But those who can went on to become great musicians such as Stephen Hough.Perhaps one day Lang Lang, Sudbin or Yuja might achieve such point, but only time will tell.
I think there are many prodigies whose "innate abilites to bring special insights into music" are incredibly high. Three would be Conrad Tao, Evgeny Kissin, and Haochen Zhang.

There is no exact definition of prodigy. I think only is the most obvious cases(Menuhin, Hofmann, Mozart etc.)would most everyone agree.


Edited by pianoloverus (07/21/10 10:51 AM)

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#1478395 - 07/21/10 09:41 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: pianoloverus]
CWPiano Offline
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Registered: 11/30/08
Posts: 212
Oops, I totally forgotten about Kissin.

The problem with the society nowadays we cheapen the value of the words 'prodigy' and 'talent'. Like what I said these two words are now thrown around so casually that I think it is becoming detrimental to whoever the label is being attached to.
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#1478397 - 07/21/10 09:42 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Brooke Taylor]
pianoloverus Offline
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Originally Posted By: Brooke Taylor


I may seem very ignorant and don't know what I'm talking about, but I was just thinking. One generally accepted definition of a prodigy is a person who, by the age of 10, displays expert proficiency in a field usually only undertaken by adults. Well, it that's true, then that must mean that it can be made. Do you understand what I'm saying? If you start at age 2, by the time you're 12 or 10 and have been playing some 8-10 years, of course you're going to be very talented. It seems like prodigies can be formed. What do you think?

Although most prodigies have put in a lot of time practicing, I don't think time is the only requirement. Without great talent also musical prodigies wouldn't exist. Even if one is just speaking of technical skill(which I wasn't), I think time and endless hours of practicing can only go so far without talent.

And in most fields, there are such thing as prodigies, so time is not an issue at all. The major fields with prodigies are music, chess, and mathematics.


Edited by pianoloverus (07/21/10 09:48 AM)

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#1478399 - 07/21/10 09:49 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: CWPiano]
pianoloverus Offline
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Originally Posted By: CWPiano
Oops, I totally forgotten about Kissin.
And hundreds more IMO.

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#1478408 - 07/21/10 10:11 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Brooke Taylor]
moscheles001 Offline
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Registered: 09/13/08
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Originally Posted By: Brooke Taylor
I may seem very ignorant and don't know what I'm talking about


This has never prevented me from posting on PW.

I would think that the important thing for prodigies is that they are properly nurtured by parents and teachers. That they aren't pushed, but just provided the time and environment to grow at their own pace.

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#1478418 - 07/21/10 10:31 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Piano*Dad]
Brooke Taylor Offline
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Registered: 07/19/10
Posts: 161
Loc: Citrus Park, Tampa, FL
Dear Piano*Dad,

I completely agree with you. Without talent, like the others said, then of course there is no prodigy. But that still might mean that they could still be formed. With endless hours of practice, and talent already, couldn't any talented young child "become" a prodigy? Excuse me if I am not making sense here, it's hard to put my thoughts down through words. But, I think you get the point! Thanks for answering!

- Brooke
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#1478428 - 07/21/10 10:48 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Brooke Taylor]
WinsomeAllegretto Offline
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Registered: 07/18/10
Posts: 824
My piano teacher used to tell me "Genuis is 1% inspiration and 99% persperation," trying to make me believe that it doesn't matter what talent you were born with,you just have to work hard enough. However, I never believed her because one of her other students, who is a probably a piano genius, practiced the same amount as me and still progressed like 3 times faster. That told me that inborn talent has a lot to do with it. I think the percentages are more like 50/50. If you're born with 0 inspiration, you have to work 100% more.

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#1478441 - 07/21/10 11:15 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]
Andromaque Offline
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I am staying out of the prodigy discussion. My own teacher is getting me to focus on the perspiration bit.. for a reason I am sure.

But I wanted to let PLUS and anyone else interested know that Haochen is performing at Avery Fisher Hall on the 30th July. He is playing Chopin Preludes in a pre-concert recital.I am actually going to the 8pm concert that night which is how I found out about his recital, but I am looking forward to hearing him play. I would have preferred to hear him play Mozart, especially that this the Mostly Mozart festival, and I am sick of the preludes.. But I am sure he will be interesting. It is odd that he is not adevertised though. I guess they do not announce the pre-concert recitals independently.

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#1478448 - 07/21/10 11:31 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Brooke Taylor]
pianoloverus Offline
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Originally Posted By: Brooke Taylor
Dear Piano*Dad,

I completely agree with you. Without talent, like the others said, then of course there is no prodigy. But that still might mean that they could still be formed. With endless hours of practice, and talent already, couldn't any talented young child "become" a prodigy? Excuse me if I am not making sense here, it's hard to put my thoughts down through words. But, I think you get the point! Thanks for answering!

- Brooke
Impossible to answer without a precise definition of "talent" and "prodigy". And I don't think there is such a thing as a precise, measurable definition of those words. I think all one can say is that it takes talent and practice to become a prodigy.


Edited by pianoloverus (07/21/10 07:29 PM)

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#1478483 - 07/21/10 12:26 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Brooke Taylor]
Afterthought Offline
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Registered: 07/20/10
Posts: 35
Well, first you must understand that prodigies, in no way, compare to an adult pianist. Prodigies are only considered prodigies because they are better at something (I assume we're talking about piano?)than all the kids around them.

Prodigies are formed, just like everyone else, with genes x environment. It's the combination of nature and nurture. Kids must have supportive parents or mentors that push them; however, the mentors should praise and encourage whether they succeed or fail. The kid must have a great teacher, the parents must be on their toes to sit them at the piano for a few hours a day, and they must have a lot of luck.

I'm going to post another reply, because I have more to say, and for some reason the reply box messes up when I type a long message.

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#1478487 - 07/21/10 12:32 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Afterthought]
Afterthought Offline
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Registered: 07/20/10
Posts: 35
People have already mentioned this, but I'll add more information on it.

Contrary to popular belief, prodigies usually turn out to be rather average adults. This is because humans improve when the environment demands them to improve. If you're a prodigy and better than all the kids around you, then there is no room for improvement. Therefore, the prodigy doesn't learn how to improve and soon all the other kids surpass him. They basically burn out and lived their brief years of greatness when...it really didn't even matter. Wouldn't it be better to be amazing when you're older instead of young? That's the problem with prodigies. (And the fact that they rely too much on their parents, most of the time.)

If you are further interested in this topic, there are many books about it, along with books about music and the brain in general. It is a very popular and interesting topic.

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#1478624 - 07/21/10 04:46 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Andromaque]
Brooke Taylor Offline
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Registered: 07/19/10
Posts: 161
Loc: Citrus Park, Tampa, FL
Dear Andromaque,

If you do not want to join this discussion, then why did you bother replying to it? Please don't answer my questions if you have no intention on even staying on the topic. Thank you.

- Brooke
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Currently working on - Ballade No.1 in G minor Opus 23 by Chopin and Un Sospiro by Liszt

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#1478627 - 07/21/10 04:53 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Brooke Taylor]
Andromaque Offline
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Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 3886
Loc: New York
Dear Brooke
Please accept my deepest apologies. Carry on, prodigiously!

PS. WHo si the guy in your avatar

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#1478633 - 07/21/10 05:09 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]
jcabraham Offline
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Registered: 06/24/09
Posts: 102
Loc: Boston
Originally Posted By: WinsomeAllegretto
My piano teacher used to tell me "Genuis is 1% inspiration and 99% persperation," trying to make me believe that it doesn't matter what talent you were born with,you just have to work hard enough. However, I never believed her because one of her other students, who is a probably a piano genius, practiced the same amount as me and still progressed like 3 times faster. That told me that inborn talent has a lot to do with it. I think the percentages are more like 50/50. If you're born with 0 inspiration, you have to work 100% more.


How do you know the "prodigy" didn't simply practice "better", more efficiently, than you?

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#1478634 - 07/21/10 05:10 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Andromaque]
eweiss Offline
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Registered: 02/28/09
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Prodigy = 90% nature & 10% nurture. Or something like that. Most prodigies are 'wired' that way. smile
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#1478681 - 07/21/10 06:54 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: moscheles001]
jdhampton924 Offline
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Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 1009
Loc: Evansville, Indiana
Originally Posted By: moscheles001
Originally Posted By: Brooke Taylor
I may seem very ignorant and don't know what I'm talking about


This has never prevented me from posting on PW.



I agree, that has never stopped you from posting before here...I am truly kidding. I am of the same sentiment. I sometimes, if not always feel pretty ignorant.

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#1478696 - 07/21/10 07:24 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Andromaque]
Brooke Taylor Offline
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Registered: 07/19/10
Posts: 161
Loc: Citrus Park, Tampa, FL
Dear Andromaque,

He's Jonathan Rhys Meyers. He plays in my favorite movie.
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#1478706 - 07/21/10 07:35 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: eweiss]
rocket88 Offline
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Registered: 09/04/06
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Originally Posted By: eweiss
Prodigy = 90% nature & 10% nurture. Or something like that. Most prodigies are 'wired' that way. smile


Exactly. Thats what makes them prodigies...they are hard-wired at the factory with talent for the expertise in the field in which they excell.

"Prodigy: A highly talented child or youth". Merriam-Webster online dictionary

"Talent: the natural endowments of a person; a special often athletic, creative, or artistic aptitude ". Merriam-Webster online dictionary
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#1478714 - 07/21/10 07:47 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: rocket88]
Piano*Dad Offline
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If you truly want to understand conceptions of 'prodigy' there is a literature out there that is approachable.

An example:

Child Prodigies: A distinctive form of giftedness

I suspect Monica K. could also inform the discussion from direct professional reading.
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#1478849 - 07/22/10 12:50 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Piano*Dad]
cast12 Offline
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Posts: 219
Brooke Taylor, according to what you've said about yourself, you are probably the most talented pianist of all time, let alone a prodigy.

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#1478893 - 07/22/10 02:27 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: cast12]
wr Offline
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Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7753
If you can train seals to do amazing things, why not children? Yeah, I know, seals have the advantage of not being human, but still...

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#1478946 - 07/22/10 07:29 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: wr]
moscheles001 Offline
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Registered: 09/13/08
Posts: 753
Loc: Northeast Pennsylvania
I'm training my children to balance balls on their noses. The longer they can do it, the more fish I give them. Next comes playing "Three Blind Mice" on the bulb-horns.
laugh

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#1478988 - 07/22/10 08:28 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: wr]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Originally Posted By: wr
If you can train seals to do amazing things, why not children? Yeah, I know, seals have the advantage of not being human, but still...



and as anyone who has had children likely will tell you, this can be a big advantage indeed. grin
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#1479009 - 07/22/10 09:06 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: moscheles001]
Andromaque Offline
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Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 3886
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: moscheles001
I'm training my children to balance balls on their noses. The longer they can do it, the more fish I give them. Next comes playing "Three Blind Mice" on the bulb-horns.
laugh


I bet that has taken more than 10 weeks! smile

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#1479022 - 07/22/10 09:27 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Piano*Dad]
hippymusicman Offline
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Registered: 09/10/09
Posts: 150
Dear Brooke,

The terms 'prodigy' or 'talented' mean whatever you want them to mean, and have completely different meanings in the minds of different people.

The same concept applies for all people. Some will define 'really talented' as someone who can use 2 hands at the same time... others will only call 'really talented' as someone who can sight read beethoven..

So in response to your question... Yes a prodigy can be made and formed right now... In fact, I can make you one right now.

*I believe what you can do on the piano makes you a prodigy.*

Congratulations. You are prodigy in my mind. Now work on changing what prodigy means for you... until you believe you are one.

The point is, it's just a label. If you are one to me. You can be one to yourself, and you can be one to other people in the same way.

And then the penny drops... labels mean nothing but what you think they mean.
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#1479030 - 07/22/10 09:47 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: hippymusicman]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: hippymusicman
Dear Brooke,

The terms 'prodigy' or 'talented' mean whatever you want them to mean, and have completely different meanings in the minds of different people.

The same concept applies for all people. Some will define 'really talented' as someone who can use 2 hands at the same time... others will only call 'really talented' as someone who can sight read beethoven..

So in response to your question... Yes a prodigy can be made and formed right now... In fact, I can make you one right now.

*I believe what you can do on the piano makes you a prodigy.*

Congratulations. You are prodigy in my mind. Now work on changing what prodigy means for you... until you believe you are one.

The point is, it's just a label. If you are one to me. You can be one to yourself, and you can be one to other people in the same way.

And then the penny drops... labels mean nothing but what you think they mean.


I don't agree with the label you've given to the word "label". To me, labels mean something, otherwise why give it?
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#1479036 - 07/22/10 09:56 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Morodiene]
moscheles001 Offline
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Registered: 09/13/08
Posts: 753
Loc: Northeast Pennsylvania
Some people insist that words can mean whatever anyone else says they mean. Yet, when they order a pizza with pepperoni, actually expect to get a pizza with pepperoni.

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#1479050 - 07/22/10 10:13 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: moscheles001]
Stanza Offline
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Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1458
Loc: Chapel Hill, NC
Lets talk Tiger Woods....clearly he was his golf-loving father's "project". Fantastic golfer...fantastic person?
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#1479071 - 07/22/10 10:32 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Stanza]
Elissa Milne Offline
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Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
hippymusicman has a valid point here: what on earth does the term mean anyway? It's a continuum from dunce to prodigy, and in golfing terms Tiger Woods was clearly a prodigy, but it's all a moot point once you're into adolescence and heading toward adulthood: Tiger Woods does not win EVERY tournament in which he competes....

so at best this label is one that applies for a short while before you reach maturity, and then says nothing much about anything apart from your past.....

there are plenty of studies showing that prodigy is almost completely a matter of time spent (the 10,000 hours thing is part of these research findings), but of course, it's a rare 3 year old who wants to spend hours a day doing the same narrow range of activities....

aspiring to prodigy seems to have it the wrong way about.... and may be why it is so rare for a prodigy to be happy....
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#1479076 - 07/22/10 10:36 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: moscheles001]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Registered: 04/12/05
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Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Originally Posted By: moscheles001
Some people insist that words can mean whatever anyone else says they mean. Yet, when they order a pizza with pepperoni, actually expect to get a pizza with pepperoni.


Indeed.

No, I don't think hippymusicman makes a valid point at all, unless you think language itself is meaningless.

People may not have noticed, but as I posted above, there is a sizable literature on this notion of 'prodigy.' You cannot have a meaningful discussion unless you are fairly precise about terms. I guess those of you who think all conceptions like this are meaningless likely think all science is just babble too, because every label just means something different to every person. Genuine communication requires a common understanding of terms, or at least a common understanding of why people are defining terms differently.
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#1479080 - 07/22/10 10:41 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Piano*Dad]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Originally Posted By: moscheles001
Some people insist that words can mean whatever anyone else says they mean. Yet, when they order a pizza with pepperoni, actually expect to get a pizza with pepperoni.


Indeed.

No, I don't think hippymusicman makes a valid point at all, unless you think language itself is meaningless.

People may not have noticed, but as I posted above, there is a sizable literature on this notion of 'prodigy.' You cannot have a meaningful discussion unless you are fairly precise about terms. I guess those of you who think all conceptions like this are meaningless likely think all science is just babble too, because every label just means something different to every person. Genuine communication requires a common understanding of terms, or at least a common understanding of why people are defining terms differently.


Well said, both of you!
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#1479102 - 07/22/10 11:07 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Morodiene]
Elissa Milne Offline
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Registered: 01/11/10
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Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
I was taking as read that hippymusicman has invalid points.

The valid point is that the label 'prodigy' signifies little of consequence, particularly in the context of this discussion which asks not for evidence or research-based findings but your own thoughts. And one gets the impression that the question is not being asked in order to find the results of academic research in this field.

Brooke - are you interested in the research into high achievement in specific skill acquisition in young children, or are you wondering if you might be a prodigy yourself (and if not, how to become one)? Cos there's some good research out there that answers these questions, and it comes down to effort matched with appropriately focussed family support, and starting young enough.

Although there are some visual artists who take up painting in their dotage to great acclaim - do we regard these as 'prodigies'?
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#1479139 - 07/22/10 11:54 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: cast12]
Brooke Taylor Offline
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Dear cast12,

I think I am FAR from the most talented pianist of all time. Nor a prodigy! What makes you think that? Haha.
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#1479142 - 07/22/10 12:00 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Elissa Milne]
Brooke Taylor Offline
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Hello Elissa!

No, I am not wondering if I am a prodigy. I just find the topic to be very fascinating! I don't even know if I am or not. My guess, is no. I just love playing!

-Brooke
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#1479143 - 07/22/10 12:00 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Piano*Dad]
Brooke Taylor Offline
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I agree with Morodiene! Well said!
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#1479145 - 07/22/10 12:02 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]
Brooke Taylor Offline
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WinsomeAllegretto,

You have a good point. That is what I think. Thanks for answering!

-Brooke
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#1479148 - 07/22/10 12:03 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: pianoloverus]
Brooke Taylor Offline
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Great answer, Pianoloverus!
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#1479275 - 07/22/10 03:23 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Brooke Taylor]
jdhampton924 Offline
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Recently read an article that said Lady Gaga was a prodigy, so I don't think anyone knows the actual definition...now where is my dictionary...I will go find it later :p

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#1479328 - 07/22/10 04:52 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: jdhampton924]
Brooke Taylor Offline
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Lady gaga? That's really funny. No offense to anyone here that likes her, but I think her music is pure garbage. Did you know Justin bieber is a prodigy too? I'm serious. Usher claimed that he is. I had a good laugh at that. And that Greyson chance.... He sings lady gaga and plays the piano and people consider him a prodigy. People abuse that word, I'll tell ya.

- Brooke
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#1479390 - 07/22/10 06:27 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Brooke Taylor]
bitWrangler Offline
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I'm no fan of Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga, however, basing whether or not the term "prodigy" applies by looking at the body of their commercial work seems short sighted. They may very well be musical prodigies, but if they need to sing bubble gum pop songs to "bring home the bacon" (and lots and lots of it), then that says nothing about their musical talents. Plus, I think it can very well be argued that even if they are not purely "musical performance" prodigies, they certainly are "popular music revenue generation" prodigies.

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#1479406 - 07/22/10 07:13 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: bitWrangler]
stores Offline
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Originally Posted By: bitWrangler
I'm no fan of Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga, however, basing whether or not the term "prodigy" applies by looking at the body of their commercial work seems short sighted. They may very well be musical prodigies, but if they need to sing bubble gum pop songs to "bring home the bacon" (and lots and lots of it), then that says nothing about their musical talents. Plus, I think it can very well be argued that even if they are not purely "musical performance" prodigies, they certainly are "popular music revenue generation" prodigies.


Well, if Bieber, or Gaga are prodigies then I'm the Pope (excuse me while I convert to Catholicism). "Popular music revenue generation" prodigies? Hardly. Pop music stars these days have little to do with their own success outside of looking good and pulling off a slick dance move or two.
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#1479410 - 07/22/10 07:30 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Brooke Taylor]
cast12 Offline
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Registered: 12/14/09
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Originally Posted By: Brooke Taylor
Dear cast12,

I think I am FAR from the most talented pianist of all time. Nor a prodigy! What makes you think that? Haha.


You've stated that can play Prelude and Fugue no 2 from the WTC, the first two pages of Sonata Pathtique, the Raindrop Prelude, and the first page of Un Sospiro. Yet you've only been playing for ten weeks.

From what I know, no pianist in history -- not even Liszt or Rachmaninoff -- progressed as rapidly as you have.

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#1479442 - 07/22/10 08:48 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: cast12]
argerichfan Offline
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Admittedly Justin Bieber is an easy target for the fake-prodigy category, but I don't think it's quite that simple. He has had phenomenal success, and it was a YouTube video (when he was a nobody) which came to the attention of a Big Wig and thus propelled him to stardom and the Big League. Clearly he is doing something right, though it remains to be seen if his career can take him past the trajectory of the myriad pop prodigies who ended up on the junk heap after they physically matured.

Of course there is a fair amount of 'packaging' involved, and far be it for me to tell his millions of adolescent girl fans that -after all- it's not my kind of music. (My non-classical tastes are more jazz and '80's pop.)

IMO, one of the greatest film star prodigies was Brad Renfro. His performance with Susan Sarrandon in 'The Client' (one of my favourite movies) was brilliantly outstanding in every respect. By all accounts he should have gone on (like Leonardo DiCaprio) to far greater things, but alas, every subsequent film was in some sense a disappointment, and after a while I stopped seeing them. And dear Brad had his battles with substance abuse which finally took their toll. That was a sad day for me as I pondered what could have been.
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#1479450 - 07/22/10 09:16 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: cast12]
argerichfan Offline
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Originally Posted By: cast12

You've stated that can play Prelude and Fugue no 2 from the WTC, the first two pages of Sonata Pathtique, the Raindrop Prelude, and the first page of Un Sospiro. Yet you've only been playing for ten weeks.

From what I know, no pianist in history -- not even Liszt or Rachmaninoff -- progressed as rapidly as you have.

We have been through this on the board before, so perhaps I'll leave well enough alone. And I will also leave well enough alone what I was playing at 10 weeks. blush
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#1479521 - 07/22/10 10:57 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: cast12]
Brooke Taylor Offline
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Loc: Citrus Park, Tampa, FL
Dear cast12,

Yes, that is true, but I don't quite think that qualifies me as a prodigy! I don't know.
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#1479527 - 07/22/10 11:03 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: cast12]
Brooke Taylor Offline
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Loc: Citrus Park, Tampa, FL
Woah woah, my goodness! It certainly is very nice of you to give me those compliments, but I don't think I could ever put myself in the same sentence as liszt or rachmaninoff!

But you know what's funny, most of the composers weren't prodigies themselves. Chopin & mozart was, but Beethoven, rachmaninoff, liszt (I don't think), or Bach were not prodigies. Excuse me if I am wrong, but it says no where that any of the listed composers were prodiges. How funny is that?

- brooke


Edited by Brooke Taylor (07/22/10 11:03 PM)
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#1479529 - 07/22/10 11:05 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: argerichfan]
Brooke Taylor Offline
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Argierchfan,

I don't quite get your reply! Could you explain? Sorry, I don't get a lot of things. I have trouble with social ques, and things like that.
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#1479531 - 07/22/10 11:13 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: bitWrangler]
Brooke Taylor Offline
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BitWrangler,

The reason I laugh when people say that justin bieber or lady gaga are prodigies, is because, well, they don't show that they have any significant amount of talent. Justin bieber, writes songs about teenage puppy love, that any moron could write, and most of his songs are all done up, because when he sings live, it's god awful. Lady gaga, In my opinion, any "singer" that has to dress up like an ignorant fool to get peoples attention, then there is obviously something missing. Talent. Don't get me wrong, I am all about individuality, but it's gotten way out of hand. Her songs are disgusting. Did you watch the telephone? It really puzzles me. Why people have to be so dirty. Sure, Justin bieber can write some songs, and make some overly done soundtracks, but give him a guitar and ask him to play an E minor, and I bet you he wouldn't know how.

- Brooke
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#1479533 - 07/22/10 11:14 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: stores]
Brooke Taylor Offline
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Great answer stores! I completely agree with you!
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#1479539 - 07/22/10 11:34 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Brooke Taylor]
Afterthought Offline
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I think that Lady Gaga is more interesting than the rest of them, and that makes her better, somehow. I wouldn't go as far as to say that she's talented, although nobody really knows the extent of her talent when her voice has been auto-tuned so much.

I'm no dancer, and I'm sure people who are serious dancers would differ on their opinions, but from what I can see, she seems better at dancing than many other celebrities.

Please nobody eat me alive for saying positive things about her!

Oh, and great comment, Brooke Taylor, about how "if any 'singer' has to dress up like an ignorant fool to get peoples attention, then there is obviously something missing. Talent."

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#1479549 - 07/22/10 11:51 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Afterthought]
Elissa Milne Offline
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The discussion about Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber demonstrates a lack of understanding about how the pop music world works. If anyone could do it then everyone would do it, and they don't. The 'talent' might not be as uncomplicated as being able to play the piano.

Prodigies are made. If prodigies don't put in the work they don't become any good at what they do. No one gets born skilled.

Although my three year old is freakish with a soccer ball, and has been since he took his first steps. Hmm!
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#1479552 - 07/22/10 11:55 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Afterthought]
Brooke Taylor Offline
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Thank you, Afterthought, for posting! I will have to agree with you. She is more interesting, as Justin bieber is just like any Nick Carter or jessy McCartney, but I am really not that harsh in real life. I thought that what I was saying was a bit too much. But people OBSESS, and it drives me crazy.
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#1479560 - 07/23/10 12:03 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Elissa Milne]
Brooke Taylor Offline
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Dear Elissa,

I agree with you on the prodigy part, but in my opinion, all of the teeny pop bands have been a joke. Jonas brothers, Justin bieber, lady gaga, etc. What they are doing to ME, isn't talent. I don't want to come off as critical, but it's just my opinion. There are some VERY good musicians out there that are so unknown, yet these people are in the spotlight. Why? While these unknown singers are writing some songs that actually portray to real life, Justin bieber is writing yet another song about this girl he is in love with singing the same verse OVER and OVER again. And people obsess over it. Thank you for posting!
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#1479568 - 07/23/10 12:18 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Brooke Taylor]
Afterthought Offline
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Registered: 07/20/10
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Very true, very true. I have to admit that she has made it to the top, along with others, which shows hard work. I like how you put it, Elissa Milne. "If anyone could do it then everyone would do it, and they don't. The 'talent' might not be as uncomplicated as being able to play the piano."

Who knows? Perhaps these people really CAN sing? I know that they can sing and dance better than me, and they must have something that I don't have, or else I would be in their same shoes.(Not that singing and dancing better than me is an accomplishment.) Some people seem to like the electronic sound to music, so the artists might add it to their music for fame. Perhaps they made a bad decision of signing a particular contract, and are now controlled like puppets. We don't really know the full story, although that doesn't mean that we have to like them. The point is, they've made it to the top, and somehow they're staying at the top, so surely that could be a talent in itself?

And don't fret, Brooke Taylor, to me you didn't sound too harsh. It's also very true about how some obsess, but, then again, everything is obsessed over by somebody.


Edited by Afterthought (07/23/10 12:21 AM)

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#1479572 - 07/23/10 12:25 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Brooke Taylor]
argerichfan Offline
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Registered: 11/15/06
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Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: Brooke Taylor

I don't quite get your reply! Could you explain? Sorry, I don't get a lot of things. I have trouble with social ques, and things like that.

That's okay, you're new here. wink

Stick around, things will make sense.
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#1479573 - 07/23/10 12:31 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Afterthought]
Brooke Taylor Offline
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Maybe they can! I can NOT sing, nor dance. It's just my opinion on their music. But what do I know, I'm just some 14 year old kid! I do understand obsessions, because I have Aspergers, and I have had some very bad obsessions that have taken over me completely. But hearing about these people everyday, it just bothers me when it all comes down to it. You know?


Edited by Brooke Taylor (07/23/10 12:31 AM)
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#1479574 - 07/23/10 12:34 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: argerichfan]
Brooke Taylor Offline
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Will do! This is a very lovely website. The people on here are actually educated, unlike the numbskulls on yahoo answers.
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#1479580 - 07/23/10 12:49 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Brooke Taylor]
argerichfan Offline
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Originally Posted By: Brooke Taylor

I agree with you on the prodigy part, but in my opinion, all of the teeny pop bands have been a joke. Jonas brothers, Justin Bieber, (edit: Jesse McCartney)

Well not quite. Is it a joke that all of these performers have incredible charisma, a commanding presence on the stage? That can only be rehearsed up to a certain point, and one cannot take anyone off the street and bring them to that level.

In a more extreme case, it has been discussed here that one cannot take any pianist off the street and transform them into a Horowitz or Argerich... and I don't think the pop world is as different as one might think. The untalented ones are weeded out very quickly. Whatever you say about the Jonas Brothers -and it is not music I particularly care for- they put on a helluva fun show, they play beautifully together, they do more than justice to their material, and they convey a love for their audience. It is a wonderful chemistry, and I am grateful to see this in action. Talent? Well, yes.
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#1479610 - 07/23/10 02:38 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Brooke Taylor]
Afterthought Offline
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Originally Posted By: Brooke Taylor
Maybe they can! I can NOT sing, nor dance. It's just my opinion on their music. But what do I know, I'm just some 14 year old kid! I do understand obsessions, because I have Aspergers, and I have had some very bad obsessions that have taken over me completely. But hearing about these people everyday, it just bothers me when it all comes down to it. You know?


Haha, what do I know? I'm just some THIRTEEN year old kid! Well, yes. Shouldn't people be focusing their attentions elsewhere? It reminds me of teenagers that waste all day playing Guitar Hero and Rockband, when, with that commitment and time, they could be taking up an instrument! And I've had plenty of obsessions myself, until it burns out completely. I try not to get too obsessed, beause I don't want to ruin it for myself.

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#1479698 - 07/23/10 08:03 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Afterthought]
hippymusicman Offline
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Amusing.. Everybody has a different idea of what prodigy means.

The teeny boppers think Justin Beiber and Lady Gaga are prodigies, the pianists think beethoven and chopin are prodigies, the babies think people who can play with 2 hands are prodigies.


Everybody is a 'prodigy'.. in some people's brains.
And everybody is a 'non prodigy' in some people's brains.

And that's all that word means...

Of course, the most important thing is how you define prodigy in your OWN brain.
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#1479727 - 07/23/10 09:03 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: hippymusicman]
Brooke Taylor Offline
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I completely disagree with you, hippymusicman. Justin bieber and lady gaga aren't prodigies. Especially lady gaga. She's what 20? I think your forgetting the age limit. In various definitions, I'll average it out to be, say 15. Lady gaga exceeds this limit. The reason she does not fit into the prodigy definition, is because she does not sing like a highly trained adult. She is an adult. She writes disgusting, meaningless songs. Justin bieber too. Beethoven was not a prodigy. However, His father exploited him to be one. His father was jealous of child prodigy Mozart, and all of his success. So when he made young Beethoven perform, he set back his age. Claiming he was. He was not. Because Mozart set different standards for Prodigies at the time. Chopin, WAS a child prodigy. You are abusing the word, and letting it's meaning go way beyond it's definition, and standards.
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#1479744 - 07/23/10 09:29 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Brooke Taylor]
hippymusicman Offline
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Posts: 150
They do not fit into your definition of 'prodigy'.
It's unfair to say "they don't fit THE definition of prodigy" because there is no one definition of prodigy. Prodigy means whatever we think it means.

In your mind, Justin Beiber and Lady Gaga are not prodigies.

In your mind, Age is important and only people below 15 can be prodigies.

In your mind, Singing like a trained adult would contribute to your beliefs on becoming a prodigy.

You could very well share this belief with many other people.
But the fact that you and many others else think them, does not make them true to everybody.

So when you say, 'That person is a prodigy' you may as well be saying 'That person appears to be a prodigy to everybody who has defined 'prodigy' in the same way as me.'



Edited by hippymusicman (07/23/10 09:57 AM)
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#1479766 - 07/23/10 10:00 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: hippymusicman]
Canonie Offline
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Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 1941
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: hippymusicman
The terms 'prodigy' or 'talented' mean whatever you want them to mean, and have completely different meanings in the minds of different people.

The same concept applies for all people. Some will define 'really talented' as someone who can use 2 hands at the same time... others will only call 'really talented' as someone who can sight read beethoven..

So in response to your question... Yes a prodigy can be made and formed right now... In fact, I can make you one right now.

*I believe what you can do on the piano makes you a prodigy.*

Congratulations. You are prodigy in my mind. Now work on changing what prodigy means for you... until you believe you are one.

The point is, it's just a label. If you are one to me. You can be one to yourself, and you can be one to other people in the same way.

And then the penny drops... labels mean nothing but what you think they mean.

Hippy (which is a fine way to be, by the way, less of a medical risk than carrying weight on the abdomen)

What kind of penny is this - English? Australian? could I use a dime? And how do I know which direction the penny drops? A penny dropping in China takes a different trajectory than in my county. Or.. does it?

Why do you tell me this penny drops when you know that all our pennies drop differently (literal and metaphoric pennies). Have you tried communicating without nouns. I think this would avoid the *----- altogether.

* = problem (in my mind at least).

hi brooke, you sound very enthusiastic and passionate - enjoy your music and piano playing. It is a gift smile
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#1479768 - 07/23/10 10:02 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: hippymusicman]
Piano*Dad Offline
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HP,

Is your definition of the indefinite integral whatever you want it to be? Are your feelings about the tensile strength of various metals every bit as valid as a metallurgists? Just because the concept of 'prodigy' isn't from mathematics or materials science does not mean that anything goes. Social scientists define terms so they can use them to communicate to each other and so that they can be sure that when they are measuring things, and trying to understand processes like human development, that they are talking TO each other instead of PAST each other. You may not like how the term is being used by these social scientists, though I suspect you have not really thought seriously about it, but your feelings really don't advance anyone's ability to understand anything.

In everyday speech, people often use words imprecisely, and they personalize the meaning in different ways. This does lead to communication problems. But it does not mean that people cannot rigorously study a phenomenon. Precise definition is the starting point for any serious study. Precise definition allows clear observation and comparison. Clear observation permits tentative conclusions about correlation and perhaps even causality. This is how serious people think about complicated issues.
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#1479773 - 07/23/10 10:11 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Piano*Dad]
Canonie Offline
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Registered: 10/04/09
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yes yes that's what I meant!
Elegant, precise and accurate post P*Dad. And I liked your earlier one too.
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#1479774 - 07/23/10 10:12 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: hippymusicman]
moscheles001 Offline
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Do you want pepperoni on that? wink

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#1479778 - 07/23/10 10:16 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: moscheles001]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Registered: 04/12/05
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What really IS a pepperoni? There are thousands of types. I'm SOOO confused. My brain hurts. grin
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#1479779 - 07/23/10 10:16 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: moscheles001]
Canonie Offline
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Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 1941
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: moscheles001
Do you want pepperoni on that? wink


Brilliant moscheles. Too funny!!
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#1479780 - 07/23/10 10:17 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Canonie]
keyboardklutz Offline
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Originally Posted By: Canonie

Hippy (which is a fine way to be, by the way, less of a medical risk than carrying weight on the abdomen)
I'll buy that!
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#1479782 - 07/23/10 10:19 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Canonie]
Canonie Offline
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The post really was about pizza, before it was edited.
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#1479807 - 07/23/10 11:00 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: cast12]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: cast12


You've stated that can play ... Un Sospiro...From what I know, no pianist in history -- not even Liszt or Rachmaninoff -- progressed as rapidly as you have.


Liszt couldn't play Un Sospiro after 10 weeks, but that's only becuase he hadn't written it yet wink
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#1479808 - 07/23/10 11:01 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Canonie]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: Canonie
The post really was about pizza, before it was edited.


If I eat too much pepperoni pizza, I'd be "hippy" too :P
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#1479811 - 07/23/10 11:06 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Brooke Taylor]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: Brooke Taylor
BitWrangler,

The reason I laugh when people say that justin bieber or lady gaga are prodigies, is because, well, they don't show that they have any significant amount of talent. Justin bieber, writes songs about teenage puppy love, that any moron could write, and most of his songs are all done up, because when he sings live, it's god awful. Lady gaga, In my opinion, any "singer" that has to dress up like an ignorant fool to get peoples attention, then there is obviously something missing. Talent. Don't get me wrong, I am all about individuality, but it's gotten way out of hand. Her songs are disgusting. Did you watch the telephone? It really puzzles me. Why people have to be so dirty. Sure, Justin bieber can write some songs, and make some overly done soundtracks, but give him a guitar and ask him to play an E minor, and I bet you he wouldn't know how.

- Brooke


Well put! I most pop stars today cannot be considered musical prodigies simply because they aren't very good at music. Autotune is very popular these days, as well as lip-synching. I recall when that sort of thing used to be scandalous to use (Milli-vanilli anyone?). Why bother practicing and learning to sound good when you can have computers fix your issues? Why bother if you are talented and have a good voice when you can doctor it up to make it presentable?

I wouldn't use the term "prodigy" with these people, but the term "charlatan" comes to mind.
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#1479813 - 07/23/10 11:15 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Morodiene]
bitWrangler Offline
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: Brooke Taylor
BitWrangler,

The reason I laugh when people say that justin bieber or lady gaga are prodigies, is because, well, they don't show that they have any significant amount of talent. Justin bieber, writes songs about teenage puppy love, that any moron could write, and most of his songs are all done up, because when he sings live, it's god awful. Lady gaga, In my opinion, any "singer" that has to dress up like an ignorant fool to get peoples attention, then there is obviously something missing. Talent. Don't get me wrong, I am all about individuality, but it's gotten way out of hand. Her songs are disgusting. Did you watch the telephone? It really puzzles me. Why people have to be so dirty. Sure, Justin bieber can write some songs, and make some overly done soundtracks, but give him a guitar and ask him to play an E minor, and I bet you he wouldn't know how.

- Brooke


Well put! I most pop stars today cannot be considered musical prodigies simply because they aren't very good at music. Autotune is very popular these days, as well as lip-synching. I recall when that sort of thing used to be scandalous to use (Milli-vanilli anyone?). Why bother practicing and learning to sound good when you can have computers fix your issues? Why bother if you are talented and have a good voice when you can doctor it up to make it presentable?

I wouldn't use the term "prodigy" with these people, but the term "charlatan" comes to mind.


Your both missing my point, which is, though they may make their living today as bubble gum artists, that doesn't mean that they were not "prodigies" as kids. Remember, the word does not reflect ones occupation, simply ones abilities. I'm sure that there are many "prodigies" doing things other than the activity that they were prodigies in, does that mean that they weren't prodigies? I think everyone here knows that being a "piano prodigy" as a kid doesn't necessarily translate into success as a concert pianist, so all those former prodigies are out there doing something to make a living, maybe even making millions of dollars dressing up in outlandish outfits and performing dance tunes.

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#1479821 - 07/23/10 11:28 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Morodiene]
moscheles001 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: Canonie
The post really was about pizza, before it was edited.


If I eat too much pepperoni pizza, I'd be "hippy" too :P


You beat me to it! laugh

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#1479841 - 07/23/10 12:08 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: bitWrangler]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: bitWrangler


Your both missing my point, which is, though they may make their living today as bubble gum artists, that doesn't mean that they were not "prodigies" as kids. Remember, the word does not reflect ones occupation, simply ones abilities. I'm sure that there are many "prodigies" doing things other than the activity that they were prodigies in, does that mean that they weren't prodigies? I think everyone here knows that being a "piano prodigy" as a kid doesn't necessarily translate into success as a concert pianist, so all those former prodigies are out there doing something to make a living, maybe even making millions of dollars dressing up in outlandish outfits and performing dance tunes.


I see your point. I'm not up on what experts define "prodigy" as, but it seems from this thread that there are different uses for the same word. Here's merriam-webster's definition:
"an extraordinary, marvelous, or unusual accomplishment, deed, or event b : a highly talented child or youth." So in the a. version it can refer to anything that is extraordinary, and in the b. version, it refers only to a young person who is highly talented.

So it seems that "prodigy" can refer to an adult as well.

I do find it interesting to know that many child piano prodigies end up not becoming concert pianists, or that it seems things even out later on in their lives (they don't keep progressing at the rate at which they began) so that other talented but non-prodigy children may in fact end up surpassing them later on.

It makes me wonder if all the attention given to child prodigies is harmful and only something that very few can overcome (Beethoven and Mozart, for example). I'd be interested in learning more about this phenomenon.
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#1479849 - 07/23/10 12:16 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Elissa Milne]
jdhampton924 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
The discussion about Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber demonstrates a lack of understanding about how the pop music world works. If anyone could do it then everyone would do it, and they don't. The 'talent' might not be as uncomplicated as being able to play the piano.

Prodigies are made. If prodigies don't put in the work they don't become any good at what they do. No one gets born skilled.

Although my three year old is freakish with a soccer ball, and has been since he took his first steps. Hmm!



When I was originally posting the remark about lady gaga, I just ment it seemed absurd to call her a prodigy, because she was not a little kid, and did not show all that much musical talent. Some disagree, I know a few people who will fight to the death to say she is the greatest thing out there.

I think your assesment is a bit wrong, not everyone wants to be a pop star. I look at pop music in a different light. Pop music, comes from the same traditions as western classical. The same scales and notation is used for the most part. Pop music overall is very watered down compared to classical, but instantly accessible.

There have always been boy bands, even as far back as the fifties and the sixties, bands that were made because the members looked good. There are articles from session musicians staing that sometimes in the sixties they would hire session musicians to come in and play the album to records for these bands. Now we have computers to do this for us.

All that being said , my only point was not start is lady gaga talented arguement, that would never end, but to say, doubtful she is a prodigy.

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#1479948 - 07/23/10 02:58 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: jdhampton924]
Gyro Offline
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You're the person who wants to go to Juilliard, aren't you? And
this question presumably is related to that goal.

My impression of Juilliard is that they are looking for star
quality over and above everything else. They get their pick
every yr. from thousands of highly proficient pianists, but
I believe that they will go with the person with star quality
over another who is better technically. For example, if you
look like Richard Gere and your playing is state university
level, I believe that not only will you get in over hundreds
of better players, you'll get in on a full ride, and they'll
put you with the best teacher, who will whip you into something
resembling a concert pianist.

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#1479964 - 07/23/10 03:28 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Gyro]
BruceD Offline
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Originally Posted By: Gyro
[...] For example, if you
look like Richard Gere and your playing is state university
level, I believe that not only will you get in over hundreds
of better players, you'll get in on a full ride, and they'll
put you with the best teacher, who will whip you into something
resembling a concert pianist.


... and that "belief" is supported by what facts or by what evidence?
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#1479981 - 07/23/10 03:50 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: BruceD]
Piano*Dad Offline
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nothing to see here, move along .....
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#1480000 - 07/23/10 04:20 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Piano*Dad]
moscheles001 Offline
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Why is it that every time I read a post by Gyro, I have "In the Hall of the Mountain King" playing in my head?

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#1480018 - 07/23/10 04:42 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: moscheles001]
bitWrangler Offline
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Actually in his (?) own unique way, gyro brings up an insightful point. Places like Juilliard get a bazillion audition "tapes" a year. I'm assuming (and this may be a bad assumption) that for the 5% that they end up choosing, that while a few might be "obvious" purely from a performance standpoint, that there are many that don't necessarily stand head and shoulders above the others. Given that, what types of other criteria are they likely to utilize when trying to decide between two applicants that are roughly equal in performance abilities? This actually applies to getting into many top tier colleges when you have more students that meet the objective criteria than there are spaces for. So for the Juilliard's and Curtis' of the world, what "other" things should one attempt to beef up to increase their chances of admittance?

- competition results
- prestigious or notable performances
- specialization (e.g. harpsichord expert, baroque expert, etc)
- plastic surgery to look like Richard Gere
- attendance at the Juilliard summer program
- hob nobbing with faculty and general brown nosing
- "outreach"/community musical involvement
- getting the Old Spice Horse Guy to intro your pre-screen dvd
- ????

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#1480102 - 07/23/10 06:49 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: bitWrangler]
ChopinAddict Offline
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I think for all talents there is a sort of bell curve like for IQ. And also a sort of ceiling beyond which one cannot go.
At any rate, I think a good teacher can probably make a good musician of even an average person, but not a prodigy...
Children are often reluctant to be called prodigies (and even a bit embarrassed), it is usually parents who push I think.
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#1480110 - 07/23/10 07:00 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: moscheles001]
Afterthought Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/20/10
Posts: 35
Originally Posted By: moscheles001
Why is it that every time I read a post by Gyro, I have "In the Hall of the Mountain King" playing in my head?


I didn't even get the joke, and I laughed.

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#1480112 - 07/23/10 07:02 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Afterthought]
ChopinAddict Offline
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This is a very talented young man I think...
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#1480157 - 07/23/10 08:25 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: jdhampton924]
Elissa Milne Offline
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Originally Posted By: jdhampton924
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
The discussion about Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber demonstrates a lack of understanding about how the pop music world works. If anyone could do it then everyone would do it, and they don't. The 'talent' might not be as uncomplicated as being able to play the piano.

Prodigies are made. If prodigies don't put in the work they don't become any good at what they do. No one gets born skilled.

Although my three year old is freakish with a soccer ball, and has been since he took his first steps. Hmm!



When I was originally posting the remark about lady gaga, I just ment it seemed absurd to call her a prodigy, because she was not a little kid, and did not show all that much musical talent. Some disagree, I know a few people who will fight to the death to say she is the greatest thing out there.

I think your assesment is a bit wrong, not everyone wants to be a pop star. I look at pop music in a different light. Pop music, comes from the same traditions as western classical. The same scales and notation is used for the most part. Pop music overall is very watered down compared to classical, but instantly accessible.

There have always been boy bands, even as far back as the fifties and the sixties, bands that were made because the members looked good. There are articles from session musicians staing that sometimes in the sixties they would hire session musicians to come in and play the album to records for these bands. Now we have computers to do this for us.

All that being said , my only point was not start is lady gaga talented arguement, that would never end, but to say, doubtful she is a prodigy.

If my assessment was that everyone wanted to be a pop star I would be a deluded assessor of human dreams and goals indeed.

Of course not everyone wants to be a pop star (or a fireman, or an astronaut, or a missionary....) but of those who do want to be a pop star most will not succeed. Simply to achieve one's goals requires admirable qualities. I would think that having a talent for achieving your goals is still a talent.
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#1480159 - 07/23/10 08:31 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Morodiene]
Elissa Milne Offline
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Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Originally Posted By: Morodiene


I see your point. I'm not up on what experts define "prodigy" as, but it seems from this thread that there are different uses for the same word. Here's merriam-webster's definition:
"an extraordinary, marvelous, or unusual accomplishment, deed, or event b : a highly talented child or youth." So in the a. version it can refer to anything that is extraordinary, and in the b. version, it refers only to a young person who is highly talented.

So it seems that "prodigy" can refer to an adult as well.
Actually, definition a. does not refer to people, but to the accomplishment, deed or event itself.

So 'prodigy' cannot refer to an adult, even with the enhanced definition.
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#1480163 - 07/23/10 08:45 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Elissa Milne]
bitWrangler Offline
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Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1785
Loc: Central TX
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
Actually, definition a. does not refer to people, but to the accomplishment, deed or event itself.

So 'prodigy' cannot refer to an adult, even with the enhanced definition.


dictionary.com:

"1. a person, esp. a child or young person, having extraordinary talent or ability"

Cambridge Dictionary:

"someone with a very great ability which usually shows itself when that person is a young child"

So there doesn't seem to be consensus on whether only a "child/young person" can be a "prodigy", at least not according to the various dictionaries.

Is a 50 yo who first starts piano and is able to advance at the same rate as a child who is considered a prodigy not a prodigy? If not, is there another term for someone showing similar great ability but at an older age?

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#1480165 - 07/23/10 08:51 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Elissa Milne]
Little_Blue_Engine Offline
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Registered: 03/30/09
Posts: 1233
Loc: Ohio, US
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
Originally Posted By: Morodiene


I see your point. I'm not up on what experts define "prodigy" as, but it seems from this thread that there are different uses for the same word. Here's merriam-webster's definition:
"an extraordinary, marvelous, or unusual accomplishment, deed, or event b : a highly talented child or youth." So in the a. version it can refer to anything that is extraordinary, and in the b. version, it refers only to a young person who is highly talented.

So it seems that "prodigy" can refer to an adult as well.
Actually, definition a. does not refer to people, but to the accomplishment, deed or event itself.

So 'prodigy' cannot refer to an adult, even with the enhanced definition.

The dictionary I have sitting around (American Heritage)reads "A person, esp. a child, with exceptional talent" By this definition I would say the word can refer to an adult, but normally isn't used that way.
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Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.


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#1480168 - 07/23/10 08:57 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Little_Blue_Engine]
ChopinAddict Offline
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Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6095
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
Oxford English Dictionary:
c.3.c A person endowed with some quality which excites wonder; esp. a child of precocious genius.
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#1480173 - 07/23/10 09:13 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: ChopinAddict]
Elissa Milne Offline
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Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
OK, I'll get pedantic here, I merely said that the enhanced definition in the preceding post did not allow for the interpretation that an adult could be called a prodigy. I literally meant what I said, and did not mean that adults could not be called prodigies is people wanted to call them prodigies. Honestly, called them pepperonis for all I care!
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#1480177 - 07/23/10 09:25 PM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: Elissa Milne]
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1785
Loc: Central TX
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
Honestly, called them pepperonis for all I care!


Pepperonis has no meaning, I prefer to call them anchovies myself (adult or fry).

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#1480310 - 07/24/10 01:36 AM Re: Can a prodigy be "made"? [Re: bitWrangler]
hippymusicman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/10/09
Posts: 150
Originally Posted By: bitWrangler
"1. a person, esp. a child or young person, having extraordinary talent or ability"

"someone with a very great ability which usually shows itself when that person is a young child"


Whew.. we got that. Now all we have to do is all agree on what 'extraordinary talent' or 'great ability' means.

Then we can all agree on what prodigy means! And we can all throw a big party and stand around being 'correct'!!

And we will develop a ranking system for musicians, so that we can differentiate prodigies from non prodigies... because.... that's what we want.

We're close guys I can feel it...


Edited by hippymusicman (07/24/10 01:41 AM)
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