Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fast / Not so Fast; Talented / Not as Talented

It is tempting to get into the real problems underlying our education system, but I will avoid that lure and focus instead on the familial dynamics of talent.  In a way it offers a glimpse into the greater societal issues.

Take a family with two children.  Imagine that the older of the two is a completely normal (whatever that is) child, while the younger has severe developmental challenges. Imagine that music is the only thing that makes interpersonal sense to the younger child and that, therefore, she is given music lessons.  What does this do to the older sibling?  It makes them want that.  What is that?  The music, perhaps; the attention; the specialness; the power.

It makes them work harder than hard to get it, whatever it is.

Dealing with music's intensity is a family enterprise, much too important to be relegated to the conventional achievement associated with facility.  This often proves ultimately to be superficial, especially compared to the deep yearning in the less facile sibling. 

In my own family music manifests itself completely differently in both my adult children, and differently from me.  Music is unquestionably life and health and joy.