Sunday, November 18, 2012


Andrew Solomon, author of the piece on prodigies about which I recently commented, studies children who are not like their parents by virtue of physical or psychological factors that challenge preconceived notions of normal family life.  In an interview with Terry Gross on NPR he reveals that his interest is far more than academic.

That is what makes it compelling.

I once articulated that everything I know about music is based on disability which makes clear that the biggest flaw in our educational approach to music is that we generalize about the workings of singular minds. In making no distinction between the difficulty of raising children with physical challenges and those with prodigious gifts Solomon puts his finger on the critical factor: singularity.

As I no longer teach within the music school environment I am free to focus on building a community in which singularity is assumed, respected, fostered, enjoyed.  The community includes a blind, autistic child (now young man) and children who are prodigiously talented, though not necessarily in what the world calls "piano."   Without exception children treated this way are drawn to singularly meaningful music, sometimes to Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven; more frequently to Bartok's profoundly lyrical folk song settings.