Prodigies are individuals who demonstrate exceptionally high levels of proficiency at their craft during their youth. In the case of musical prodigies, in addition to their deep love for playing and listening to music, most will exhibit some similar characteristics. Musical prodigies will often create their own melodies and will be able to store them in their memories with ease. They are interested in learning about many different instruments and are generally very focused while playing. Although these musicians do have a natural affinity for music and for their instruments, each of them has worked tirelessly to develop their craft.
In this article, we will briefly examine 5 famous prodigal musicians. These musicians span generations, cultures and instruments but each one is extremely accomplished and inspiring. If you've always wanted to learn an instrument or are interested in enrolling your child in music lessons in Toronto, we hope that these phenoms will show you what is possible and inspire you to get started.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was an exemplary child prodigy, beginning to play harpsichord songs at the age of four and composing rudimentary music at five. The Mozart family embarked on the first of several trips when he was seven years old, demonstrating the young marvels and his elder sister Maria Anna’s musical abilities. So there are plenty of anecdotes about the young Mozart’s incredible musical aptitude and memory and his ingenuity in composition.
Mozart’s memory feat was astonishing, according to musicologists. He is reported to have memorized and written down Gregorio Allegri’s (1582–1652) famous piece of late Renaissance choral music, Miserere. However, the Miserere is a repeated composition, and Mozart’s transcription most likely omitted improvisational ornamental parts that would have been included in the original performance. A modern performance lasts 12 to 15 minutes, and remembering it would necessitate learning music for two choirs, one with five parts and the other with four, which are brought together in a nine-part counterpoint at the finale.
Hailing from Tehran, Iran, Tara Ghahremani is a 14-year-old musician with incredible abilities. Ghahremani plays the Santoor, a stringed percussion instrument that produces sound when the player strikes the strings with extremely light mallets. Tara's mother, a student of the santoor herself, inspired Tara's musical journey which began at the age of 5. Initially she played the tonbak, a traditional Iranian drum, and at the age of 8, following in her mother's footsteps, she took up the santoor.
In recent years, Tara has become quite famous on the internet. A video of Tara performing the Indian national anthem on santoor for Republic Day of India went viral, earning her many adoring fans. She was honored with the Global Child Prodigy Award in January 2020 for her extraordinary musical abilities and she was acknowledged as one of the world’s top 100 child prodigies. She continues to play santoor and some of her fondest memories as a musician are of collaborating with musicians from other countries.
Justin Wilson II
At only 7 years old, Justin Wilson II, nicknamed "LJ", plays the drums with the ability and confidence of a seasoned pro. From a musical family, Wilson's father is a Grammy award recipient for his arrangement of the Spider Man theme and his mother is a talented vocalist. His parent are his number one supporters and continue to encourage him to be the best musician he can be.
On social media, this Californian young prodigy is popularly known as BabyBoyDrummer. He has over 200,000 subscribers on his YouTube account and nearly 500,000 on Instagram at such a young age. He also has a website that showcases most of his beautiful beats and releases newsletters on musical content. Thanks to his remarkable abilities, this adorable little child has captured the world’s attention. In the category of DJ, he won the Global Child Prodigy Award in 2020. Justin Wilson II was also acknowledged as one of the top 100 child prodigies globally. LJ has appeared alongside some of world's best musicians and his biggest influences and has appeared on major television shows like the Elen show.
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
Extraordinary abilities don’t often manifest themselves in the places you’d expect them. Juana Ramrez de Asbaje was born to unwed parents in the village of San Miguel Nepantla in the Viceroyalty of Mexico, formerly New Spain, in 1648 or 1651 (records dispute the year). She exhibited early signs of exceptional intelligence, learning to read at the age of three, but her gender and family’s financial constraints prohibited her from completing formal education. She was eventually transported to Mexico City to live with her maternal grandparents, where Cruz had access to a library. She devoured books and learned Latin in around 20 classes. When she was eight years old, she composed her first dramatic poetry.
When she was about 16, word of her pronounced knowledge spread, and she went to the Viceroy of New Spain’s court as a lady of the Viceroy’s wife. The Viceroy organized a public presentation to demonstrate Juana’s extraordinary erudition, in which a group of roughly 40 professors interrogated her on various fields of study. Onlookers were astounded by the depth and range of her knowledge.
Juana entered a convent in 1669, formally becoming Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz since she was uninterested in marriage and needed more books to read. She kept writing poetry, plays, and philosophical papers. She also accumulated one of the largest collections of books and scientific instruments in the Americas at the time.
Born in Chennai, in the Indian province of Tamil Nadu, Lydian Nadhaswaram is a 16-year-old Indian piano prodigy and multi-instrumentalist. Nadhaswaram's father, Varshan Satish, is a tamil musical director and encouraged his son's musical development. At the age of 2, Lydian began playing the drums and later on he began teaching himself to play the piano.
Extremely dedicated to his craft, Lydian studied for 4 years at the KM Music Conservatory where he worked diligently to develop his skills and knowledge. Lydian received the Global Child Prodigy Awards 2020 for his extraordinary talent. He is best recognized for appearing on The World's Best Contest in 2019, where he won the grand prize of $1 million and gained many adoring fans.
If you're feeling inspired by the incredible accomplishments of these prodigal musicians, consider music lessons in Toronto or online music lessons. Online music lessons are a unique and incredible way to learn how to play since they offer lots of convenience, flexibility and comfort. In-person piano lessons in Toronto are best for those for a face to face connection and typically work better for younger children than online music lessons. At Greater Toronto Music School, we offer classes online, in our studios and in students' homes. If you're interested in booking some lessons, contact us now and we would love to help.