The purpose of this study was to examine the early learning experiences of a select group of highly gifted and prodigious young musicians to determine how play and imagination may help to motivate a musically highly gifted or prodigious child to develop an intense interest to devote whatever it takes to master their musical domain, sometimes referred to in the research literature as "the rage to master." It was hypothesized that the early musical training of young children is affected by home environment as well as by music teachers and school environment. Therefore this study takes into consideration these influences within its parameters as contexts for learning.
The subjects in this study were six children from the ages of 7 to 13 who were identified as musically highly gifted or prodigious and who attend a school in a large metropolitan city in the United States dedicated to the academic and musical education in kindergarten through eighth grades. This school program was patterned after the "special music schools" in Russia. Children apply for admittance in kindergarten and are tested for musical giftedness according to criteria established in a research-based study made by the School. Admission is highly competitive. Only fifteen students are admitted annually for the kindergarten year and most stay to complete eighth grade. Along with regular academic subjects, children receive two private instrumental lessons, two theory classes and a chorus class per week.
It was determined through this study that highly musically gifted and prodigious students may profit from this type of program in developing musical skills. Because music making as fun was not a focus of the School's curriculum, parents of the children in this study were largely responsible to enhance music making as an enjoyable experience. Based upon observations made of the experiences of the children in this study, family environment is crucial in promoting a child's enjoyment of music study that results in a child's desire to be intensely engaged in music making.
|School:||Teachers College, Columbia University|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-A 72/01, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Gifted Education, Music education|
|Keywords:||Gifted children, Musical prodigies|
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