Seth Gordon (sethg_prime) wrote in little_details,
Seth Gordon

recognizing a musical prodigy in middle school

Setting: Boston (USA) suburb, contemporary with certain SFnal elements

I have a character who is musically gifted, but is not recognized as such until he is eleven. At home a lot of the family life revolves around an older sister who is otherwise-gifted and has a strong personality, and at school his classmates are kind of rowdy (not necessarily malicious, just “hyper”), so even though the school does have a good music program, in class he is too distracted to play at his best and his teacher is too distracted to notice his potential.

Then one day at school, when he isn’t surrounded by other kids, our hero picks up a violin and plays [A], and his music teacher, overhearing it, realizes because of [B] how much talent he has. The teacher arranges for private lessons, building on the [C] that the child already knows, in which he does a lot of [D] and after a few months is able to [E].

I’m looking for reasonable ways to fill in [A] through [E] above. Also, I am wondering how well he could sight-read music before going down the private-lesson path.

I did some Googling for music curricula, but that didn’t make it clear to me what specific skills would be considered typical for someone at various age levels and what would be considered exceptional. I’m also reading Andrew Solomon’s book Far From the Tree, which has a chapter on musical prodigies, but the kids he describes there were conspicuously talented as far back as kindergarten, and my character isn’t that good.

Tags: usa: education (misc), ~music
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