Monday, January 10, 2011

The joy of recognizing and encouraging your child to develop his or her gifts . . .

We've been astonished at our 2 1/2-year-old granddaughter's obvious artistic bent. Her sense of color (she has demanded to pick her own clothes--very creatively, yet with astonishing sense of color coordination--for over a year) and her musical ability (turn on some music and she is in a reverie almost immediately) have jumped out at us from very early. But she has some astounding facility with language as well.

So her parents and we, her grandparents, try to encourage the development of these traits as much as possible. Her mom intends to take her to her first ballet class tomorrow morning if the weather will permit. (It's been snowing rather heavily here!)

Anyway. With Natalia's unique giftedness in mind, I was astonished to see the following video of a budding musical conductor . . . at three years of age!

Think of how well he has to know the piece in order to anticipate the changes in tempo and dynamic range. As someone commented: he is not merely reacting to the music; he is anticipating the changes. He really knows this piece.

I first saw the video here at the American Choral Directors Society website. Allen Simon, who posted the video to the ChoralNet blog, noted, Jonathan, the conductor in the video, "could give us all lessons in enthusiasm." --There is a page full of admiring and thoughtful comments about his conducting style and understanding of the music. Lots of accolades to his parents, too!

One guy wrote:
I believe a major symphony orchestra could easily follow his direction (except for the finish [Where he falls off his "podium" and lies on the floor giggling from the pure joy of conducting such a fine piece of music--JAH]) and audiences would love his style.

I also think that this video would serve an excellent training tool for conducting students--it teaches music expression using the whole body (including conducting with your feet), unbridled enthusiasm, and how to deal with emergencies without dropping a beat (or a baton).

In the comments section to another video, one of his parents comments,
Since before Jonathan was walking he was trying to conduct and at 19 months he had picked his instrument. He fell in love with the violin. His passion is for classical music. We found him a wonderful violin instructor whom he adores. He has been playing now for a year.
You can find that video (also of him conducting) here.

And then there's the very recent (he's now 4 years old) Jonathan performs "Humoresque" by Antonín Dvořák.
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