Saturday, 19 February 2011

Hothousing By Kate

You can't start too early when it comes to grooming your child to be a future genius. Playing Mozart to the developing foetus in utero is a good first step, apparently. Then you can dive into the Baby Einstein series and supposedly fire up their right-brain neurons with a carefully selected series of sounds and images. You can encourage your child to play with educational toys and do things like start reading to them from an early age, even if they can't quite understand why you keep preventing them from eating the book.

And if you're really serious, you can start their musical education virtually from the moment they can sit up unaided. Percussion comes naturally to most infants, but your obvious aim is to progress them onto the violin or some other classical instrument just as soon as humanly possible.

In her book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother Amy Chua details her approach to hothousing her daughters as musicians with harrowing tales of all-night enforced practice sessions while the reluctant child was virtually tied to the piano stool, crying in protest and and ready to tear up the musical score she was supposed to be learning. It's quite an eye-opener, with namby-pamby notions of the child's natural interests and personal choices having nothing to do with the often painful process towards virtuosity.

With this in mind, Theo and I have bought a glockenspiel for Rosie's first birthday and we continually set it in front of her and encourage her to do some practice. Simple scales and arpeggios to start with, but obviously two handed syncopated rhythms are firmly in our sights. Sometimes we even shut the door of the room while Rosie does her music practice to stop her getting distracted by unnecessary things like her Bunny Boing Boing or favourite floating duck.

As you can see below, our firm approach to Rosie's budding musical talent is already paying off. Next stop, the Paris Conservatoire.

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