Do you think that child prodigies are missing out on a normal, fun childhood


#1

been having an ongoing, solid debate with my friend on the back of this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-wglNPGzrQ

obviously, the kid is mega talented and what have you, but I’m not sure that he’s done anything other than sat in front of a piano for hours and hours a day to get to this level at the age of 11.

with this in mind, I’d say he’s probably missed out on a lot of the fun things kids should do - being amazed by tadpoles, climbing trees, booting footballs and other healthy pursuits.

my friend disagrees. so we’ve reached an impasse.

what do you think?


#2

They probably are yeah but it’s probably compensated by their giftedness in some way, the notion of a normal, fun childhood usually just means similar to what the person saying it had after all.


#3

does he still have to go to school?


#4

They might really enjoy piano


#5

We had a child prodigy pianist at my school - always felt sorry for him. He wasn’t allowed to play any sport in case he damaged his fingers.

Used to get off certain lessons to go and practice in the hall though.


#6

starting fires can’t help either


#7

I don’t get this. I’d like to get this


#8

yeah, fair do’s. but there is a difference between casually enjoying things as a pup and being pushed by your (no doubt) wealthy parents into basically a life of mundane repretition and hard slog.

or something


#9

No sport is a bonus


#10

I think I still had a normal, fun childhood.


#11

You could probably get by if the only thing was that you were a prodigy at something. But normally in these situations you find that the reason they’re a “prodigy” is because they have an incredibly needy, psychopathic parent, and that’s not so good.


#12

y’know, staring fires. Like with flint.


#13

http://media.gettyimages.com/photos/girl-staring-in-fire-picture-id71085267?s=170667a


#14

Cause Billy Joel is a pianist


#15

Remember reading this ages ago because I sort of know one of the former prodigies: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/may/15/child-geniuses-prodigies Quite an interesting read.


#16

Yeah interesting. Quite a few of them mathematicians and music often popular too. Not quite sure how to define prodigy there. You can go a very long way to becoming a good musician just through lots of practice, I would suggest. Perhaps it would be interesting to see how many become musicians recognised as great or innovative as they enter adulthood.

As for maths, I think the key there is that the academic curriculum is intentionally geared to be really really slow, because it’s fairly important that everyone gets the basics, and not so important that many people go much further. Pretty much anyone with the natural aptitude, the right support and the right motivation could belt through the school maths curriculum at the speed those kids did. It doesn’t require much (any) maturity and virtually no language skills, so you can get your four-year old cracking and take it from there.


#17

That’s Jazz…man!


#18

Just remembered there was a girl in my year at school who was a bit of a maths prodigy - had 2 A*s in Maths and Further Maths GCSEs by the end of year 7, a Maths A-level in year 9, etc. But when she went to do maths at Cambridge, she got into the uni lifestyle more than doing the actual work, so only left with a Third. Letting loose after an overly-studious childhood and all that.


#19

Well I did maths at Cambridge too, although I was only a year younger than standard (was a year ahead from early primary). Looking back I was very immature throughout my uni years, and certainly I embraced the uni culture (ie I got drunk a lot).

That said, if you’re capable (and she must have been) then you have to do basically zero work to get a third. The third year has one-off courses like Mathematical Economics which an A-Level student could do, and courses like Solitons and Nonlinear Waves which you can learn by rote. Cover both of those in the last month of your third year and you’d get a second.