The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The most portable piano in the world.

Ainan, my 13 year old son, owns the most portable piano in the world. It is in his head. I shall explain.
Ainan has the habit of playing an imaginary piano with his fingers, whilst he sits at the dinner table, or even stands up in mid conversation. His fingers tap out “tunes” in the air, not aimlessly, but with perfect, most careful choice of movement and depression of finger. He has been doing this for some time, now.

Today, I asked him: “Ainan: do you hear the music when you do that?”

“Yes.” He said and carried on playing on his invisible piano.

He had confirmed what I had come to intuit: Ainan actually hears the music he plays on his imaginary piano. For him, the music is as real as if he had played it on an actual piano. So, it is, in this way, that Ainan composes music, even when a piano is not near: he will simply tap out the music to himself, on his inner piano. For him, that is enough, to allow him to appreciate it. Most often, later, he will play it on a real piano and, of course, record it – but the first creation is often of him simply tapping the music out on the table or in the air.

For Ainan, musical composition has become very much an instinct and a reflex. Ainan is often seen to be tapping out music on his imaginary piano, whilst holding a conversation. He particularly likes to do this in the kitchen. Either his brothers, or his parents, will be talking to him – and he will be responding – but throughout the conversation, he will quite clearly be seen to be composing music, on his invisible piano. He is so used to composing, now, that not even the distraction of a conversation can stop him from doing just carries on in the background, bubbling up from within him.

It is quietly pleasing to see how much this creative activity has become a part of Ainan since the beginning of his 12th year, when he resumed composition, after a six year break (he had started to do so as a six year old, before being put off music for a long time). I do hope that he continues with this momentum and grows musically by the day, week, month, year. Already, of course, he is a very accomplished composer, producing new works all the time. I look forward to all the music, yet to be heard in this house, to come. I hope he plays more of it on the piano in the corner of the house, rather than on the one in the corner of his mind – for only he can hear that one!

Happy composing Ainan – piano or not.

Posted by Valentine Cawley

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