Talented or gifted?
We have all read about young performers who are described as “musically gifted.” What does this mean? And how do you discriminate between a young musician who is merely talented and someone who is musically gifted?
Generally, a child with musical talent demonstrates musicality, a combination of abilities that falls into four categories:
• A good ear for music: The ability to distinguish pitch and timbre of musical sounds;
• A sense of rhythm: The ability to recognize and distinguish different rhythmic patterns and accurately reproduce them;
• A musical imagination: The ability to conjure up a tone picture or image, inspired by music, poetry or life experience; and
• A musical memory: The ability to recognize and accurately reproduce musical material.
The musically talented child typically displays a high aptitude for one (or more) of these skills, and easily develops the remaining abilities with the help of music lessons. A gifted child, on the other hand, demonstrates a heightened level of all of these essential four musical abilities from the start, beginning with an excellent sense of rhythm, highly creative and imaginative thinking, and a brilliant music memory. In addition, gifted children almost always display perfect pitch. It must be added that musicality, as characteristic feature of gifted individuals, is not simply the ability to distinguish pitch, rhythmic patterns, or discern slightest changes of sound volume, but also the capacity to perceive, interpret and express music on an emotional level.
Musically gifted children usually show their predilection for music at a very early age.