What does it actually mean when a child is described as being ‘gifted and talented’ at music? Is it, for example, the ability to sing in tune, remember a melody, sight read, or attain a technical level of performance that is ahead of their years? Over the eons society has celebrated children who are able to perform adult-like feats on their instrument or in singing, but always the question is whether this ability is inborn or acquired through intensive teaching and practice.
A good background paper on this subject was written by music education researcher and policy advisor Helen Lancaster in 2003, entitled ‘Identifying the Gifted in Music’. In it she observes that “In the West, we are amazed by the virtuoso, capable of performing at levels unimagined by renowned experts in various fields”, but she says there can be no hard and fast ways of measuring musical giftedness because different cultural practices and understandings of music make this impossible. Full story.
Graham Strahle (Music Australia) / August 14, 2017