New here. Musically gifted count?

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Registered: 03-26-2003
New here. Musically gifted count?
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Tue, 09-25-2012 - 3:01pm

Hi! I have a 5 year old daughter who is musically gifted. Do some of the characteristics and behaviors of the intellectually gifted overlap with one who is musically gifted?

Daughter plays piano, and self-taught by ear mostly. Started lessons a couple of weeks ago and teacher says her ear is incredible -- something many musicians who study all their lives won't have. She can transpose the songs she knows into different keys, and seems to do so first to F sharp. I hardly know what this means, but I know that there is something unique going on here. She can accurately name instruments when she hears them, and has a deep interest in learning cello and violin, too. She cries when she hears certain music, and plays her piano according to whatever emotion she is feeling at the time. She watched Magic School Bus the other day and figured out the theme song on piano right afterward, but not while listening to it. Teacher says she is musically gifted, and I assume so, as well.

ANyway, she definitely has some of the trickier characteristics that seem to go along with intellectual giftedness. She doesn't gel as well with other kindergarten girls, and daydreams a lot, for example. Just wondering if anyone knows whether different types of gifted come with the same type of difficulties. Thanks!

 

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-06-2010
Wed, 09-26-2012 - 3:36pm
It took some adjusting. We had a very specific problem, though, and that was that DD was already playing pieces that were three or four minutes long although she was unable time read notes. At that stage on a strings instrument, you've just got to be able to read notes. The frustration at having to unlearn mistakes made by spontaneously learning, for example, Bach Double by ear without a teacher was outweighed the joys of free playing.
Her teacher has been wonderful in switching activities at the drop of a hat to suit DD's energy and concentration level. Now, at ten years old, DD is expected to be able to concentrate and structure her work and she does.
Right now she is preparing for an entry exam for a state-run strings program for profoundly gifted children. She will probably be admitted next spring and will join another twenty violin students between the ages of twelve and eighteen. She'll be the youngest in the group. If I see any sign that she's not ready in terms of maturity, I'll postpone the exam. The program will be perfect for her, as they also offer piano and singing lessons. She has two violin lessons a week - we started this routine once the teacher realized she was learning new pieces alone between lessons, then having to undo the mistakes she had learned at the next lesson. She practices on average fifteen minutes a day. This does not include time spent "playing" with her music.
I think a huge part of helping your child stay enthusiastic is encouraging practice as play. By "encouraging" I don't mean coaxing, but offering an environment where it is possible for your child to have fun with her music. Exposing her to concerts and different kinds of music is another way to have fun without pressure.
Avatar for tswalnut
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 09-26-2012 - 3:04pm

at 9, was she fine with her new teacher's way of teaching and administering practice? At this young age I just want to be sure she is still as enthusiastic as ever. Thanks for replying. It's great to hear from others with similar kids. What is she up to now? 

 

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Registered: 12-06-2010
Wed, 09-26-2012 - 2:19pm
 "Elise will teach herself new songs daily, too, and so the teacher doesn't use a book with her. She just wants her to come in and work on whatever it is Elise has been doing that day."

This is a good method for young kids, imo. We did the same with dd until she was nearly nine years old. I think of it as musical unschooling. Having no experience with musical instruments, it just seemed natural to let my child play with her music. I'll never forget the reaction of dd's new teacher when she asked me how "we" practice and I said, "uh, she just plays whatever she feels like, whenever she wants." She said, "You're joking, right? Wait...you mean you're not joking?"
The singing out loud thing is really hard to control. We're still working on that. Her teacher has told her to concentrate on "putting the songs on a drawer" in her head where they can play on, but in a place where DD can't hear them while she concentrates on other tasks. Up to now this method has not been very successful, but perhaps it needs time.
Avatar for tswalnut
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 09-25-2012 - 4:52pm
Thanks! Your daughter sounds a lot like mine in the music room. Elise will teach herself new songs daily, too, and so the teacher doesn't use a book with her. She just wants her to come in and work on whatever it is Elise has been doing that day. She sings or hums ALL the time, and has been getting in trouble at school for it. In fact, one of my FB posts one day said something like, "Zippity Do Da ALL day long! Driving me batty!" Lol. Anyway, I am glad to hear that her idiosyncracies may be part of this. It's all new to me. Like you, the teacher alerted me, though I suspected there was more going on than I knew. Thanks for your reply!

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-06-2010
Tue, 09-25-2012 - 4:21pm
Yep, musically gifted sure counts! I wish I could answer all of your questions, but I'm still in the process of discovering answers myself. I have two daughters, ages ten and fourteen. Both are musically talented, but younger DD is profoundly gifted. She's a bright student too, but not all-round gifted like some other kids seem to be here.

A lot of the characteristics you describe would apply to a musically gifted child. Having perfect pitch (which is apparently incredibly rare) or near-perfect pitch, singing or making rhythmic noise all the time, stopping to listen to music any chance she gets, playing tunes she has just heard by ear, being emotionally moved by music to an unusual extent are all signs of musical giftedness. Theoretically lots of kids show a positive interest and emotional response to music; musically gifted children are unceasing in their need to find and make music, however and seem not be to quick learners but time already know what they are being taught.

I wasn't aware that my daughter was gifted until alerted by a violin teacher. My child was spontaneously learning songs every day and writing her own very early on. She would walk into class and unexpectedly play the teacher's part of a duet, asking the teacher, "can you play the second voice today?" She has taught herself guitar as well and plays some piano already. She also sings and has a really fine, strong voice. At the moment she's being guided by a professor who runs a program for profoundly gifted strings students.

As for characteristics and behaviors of musically gifted kids, I can only speak for mine. DD does have a lot of friends, but as the younger child that might just be her birth order making things easier. Her general development has always been asynchronous to an extreme - she was jumping rope before the age of two, but didn't speak until well past three, for example. Now, at ten, she's a great reader and speller but has a poor vocabulary. She is highly sensitive to other people's moods, empathetic and often anxious. She also has a colossal temper, which we're working on. She stopped playing with toys around a year and a half ago. When she plays she either listens to music, plays, sings or shuts herself up in the study and composes songs. She doesn't even stop when she's brushing her teeth or eating dinner, much to the dismay of the rest of us!

Your daughter does sound like she has a lot of the characteristics of a musically gifted child. If she's having fun and likes her lessons, she's probably in a good place. As she gets older, it would be good to give her the chance to play with others like her if at all possible. There are other parents here who have musical kids and who play and teach music themselves, so they can probably give you better advice than me, but welcome aboard!
Avatar for tswalnut
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 09-25-2012 - 3:05pm

PS -- she is highly, highly, creative, too -- not just musically. Not very good fine motor skills, and still sounds great on piano, so I can't wait until her dexterity improves! Poor handwriting and drawing skills.

 

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