What makes a musical prodigy?

I was sitting around revising Synaesthesiac today, and my fiancee Jenn showed me this amazing video of a 4 year old drummer. We watched a bunch of them and they’re amazing and hilarious at the same time. It got me thinking about what makes a kid this young able to do things like this? What makes a prodigy? Is it something in the brain? Is it some kind of divine gift?

We both agreed that it has to be a combination of an ultra supportive parent and the kid having whatever it is that makes someone naturally gifted at something (see Mozart). I used to teach very young kids classical guitar at a school in Austin, Texas. These kids ranged from 3-16 – but most were in the 6-9 year range. The lessons were taught in classroom style – usually 3-4 kids per class. A few times, I did have one kid in the class rocket ahead of the others. I always wondered what it was inside him or her that allowed them to just “get it”, while the other kids struggled.

Anyway – an interesting question I’m not even going to try to answer. Here are a few of the videos of the 4 year old drummer. The first is him playing Chop Suey by System of a Down, the second playing with a live band – he’s 4!!!!!!!!

(edit – they have embedding disabled – BOOO – I’ll post the links)

4 Year Old Drummer plays Chop Suey

4 Year Old Drummer plays live

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