A Note from Quaver: On Genius and Concentration

by Abby @ Quaver on December 12, 2011

in At Quaver HQ,Quaver's Notes

This week’s Note from Quaver takes us deep into the mind of our fearless leader as he seeks to answer an important musical question!


So after our rather exhaustive look at the Quaver Theme Song, my thoughts naturally turn to being a genius.

I know what you’re thinking and No, I’m not talking about me!

Many of the great composers were classed as geniuses, and it makes me wonder:

What makes a genius?

Now of course with musicians, one would instantly say, “They were brilliant at music!” I would answer, “Of course they were!” But I think there’s more to genius than just the gift.

Child prodigies in whatever field – be it math, music, art, language, or anything at all have one thing in common . . . CONCENTRATION and bags of it!

The dictionary defines concentration as: exclusive mental attention to one subject.

I have three lovely kids, and I know that if I tried to make my four-year-old sit at a table to teach him calculus, perspective, French, or scales for more than 15 minutes, he may quite possibly go mad. I would also go mad trying to teach him!

However, if I could get him to REALLY concentrate for long periods of time on a given subject he would become brilliant at it – I am convinced of it. Children’s brains are like sponges! One of my other kids is starting to outdo me in the field of soccer statistics which is great for him but embarrassing for me! Their minds soak up stuff they are interested in, and sometimes stuff they are not.

Alongside the innate gifting of Mozart (which is undeniable) was an amazing ability to concentrate for long periods of time on a solo subject. In fact, I would say this is an equal part of the genius! Child prodigies in any subject spend hours and hours practicing, studying and learning – it’s a part of the genius. It makes me wonder:

Would Mozart have become a great artist if, on the way to sit at the piano for the first time, he had stumbled on a pencil and paper and applied his genius powers of concentration to art?

I have actually taught some EXTREMELY talented musicians who lacked any powers of concentration. Their gifting came SO easily that they didn’t want to concentrate on it, and so they never reached their full potential at the piano.

So next time you see your child or student really concentrating on something, find out what it is and encourage it. They just might be focusing in on their genius!

Quaver Out!

What do you think of this tie between talent, potential, and concentration?

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