Justin Davidson of New York Magazine wrote a very interesting piece on child prodigy, using pianist/violinist/composer Conrad Tao as an example. When he was only 18 months old, Tao “toddled to the piano and started picking out ‘Mary Had a little Lamb.’” (And he looked totally adorable on the piano!) Now, 15 years later, as a 17-year-old Juilliard student, he played Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata No. 7 at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall and has a commission from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
The story touches on a topic that’s on the mind of every parent and teacher of child prodigies: How to encourage that talent without making the child lose sight of the reality. Too little encouragement, that talent may never develop; Too much encouragement, the child may become an egomaniac, stress out, or worse. It looks like that Tao and his parents have found the right balance.