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Some clips of some Korean early teenager's play


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I'm very glad that someone noticed the Carmen Fantasy as well. That kid really stands out - even regardless of her being the youngest of all. I must have watched that clip for at least 20 times - no kidding. I have Heifetz and Vengerov's recordings of the piece, but the little girl hardly pales compared to the high wizards. I've also been forwarding the clip to friends; a friend of mine called it a horror movie. Every time I rewatched the clip I seemed to find something new. Her perfect hand positions and relaxed posture are just mesmerizing, and the ending is just totally nuts. For those of you who still haven't watched it - go download it as if it's a rare Heifetz video!

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Hi Staylor, I think balance is necessary more than anything. I do think children benefit from discipline, but I also think they benefit from being able to go their own way at times. A lot depends upon the parent's motivation, and from what I have seen and read it is usually the case with prodigies and stage children that the parents are acting in their own interests rather than in the interests of their children. That is what I think is really unhealthy and reprehensible, as well as the children being treated like freaks by teachers, audiences, etc. For me all of this really points to a deeper issue in terms of valuing a child according to their 'accomplishment' and contribution (to parents, family, school, etc.), rather than valuing them as a human being (of inhernent worth and potential). This issue has an interesting parallel with parents who push their children to incredible limits in order to make them excel at sports. And to what purpose? At the end of the day most of the 4th graders whose parents made them run 15 miles a day never make it to the olympics, and most of the ones who do make it didn't work hard at it as children. So who does all that work and sacrifice serve? This is an age old problem, but the degree of public acceptance and adulation accorded to parents who force their children to follow the path of the prodigy, is something that I find disturbing in this day and age. We should know better than that by now. Personally, I find it rather difficult to tolerate the presence of these kinds of parents when I happen to come into contact with them, although I am a mild mannered person in general.

--Alistair

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Obviously, yes, I agree!

But is it really true that these children don't usually continue in their success later?

The Polgar sisters (at chess) seem to be about as good as they were when in their teens.

Though interestingly, it has been said that Sophia Polgar (the least chess prodigy of the three) showed the greatest ability of the three at one or two occasions.

Still, they didn't get further than they were during their mid teens, but still, that was quite enough. Suzan Polgar remains the greatest female chess player ever.

Paganiniest!

You say this is international standards. Speaking e.g. of the Lalo and the Waxman variations, do you mean it is intl. standards for that age, or for ANY age?

I would have thought it was about the top for about any age. Even the Lalo I think is better than most known great violinists (musically).

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I confess I didn't see the video(couldn't seem to download it). An issue I have is a failure to recognize good playing(or bad)based on the reputation of the performer, not my ears. I feel many of us do an enormous disservice to live music by looking to recordings or stories as the standard of playing when there are so many variables-who's playing what,conductor,orchestra,weather,nerves,fatigue,is this the 2nd or1002nd time they have played it? In most weeks (3-4 concerts),I hear one remarkable performance, and at least one average performance. I'm sure that this was true of all the late greats as well(train wrecks and memory slips even at a Heifetz concert?!) I hope that wasn't the only time some people heard him.

Maxim Vengerov, who has been easily dismissed on these boards before, played the Beethoven Concerto with my orchestra last year. We had two rehearsals(luxury). The second rehearsal haunts me as the most beautiful violin playing I have ever heard. During the performances, I was not as thrilled. This gave me pause that nobody who bought a ticket got to hear the level of playing that I did. I feel that with todays high playing standards ,perhaps the greatest performances of great works are done by people we havent heard of. I feel blessed to live in a time when there are dozens of people at the highest level of playing, some recognized, some not.

This should have been a new thread. Please excuse my rambling on.

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I, for one, am grateful for your thoughtful response. But this prodigy issue continues to bother the daylights out of me. Phenomenal technique aside, what is the source of such seemingly convincing musical sensitivity? Can a child actually make that kind of connection with the music from within? Or is it that effortless technique simply sets an ageless spirit free?

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IMHO, the source of such seemengly convincing musical sensitivity has to do with two things, pitch and timing. They have those two aspects.

Can a child make a musical connection from within? Absolutely!! Levels vary here.

My own thinking here: Are they like Heifetz, Milstein, Menuhin when they were children? My answer is, they are better. Life will teach them the rest ... to be profound, purposely and prophetic.

My take,

Pag

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Hi Carlo - I believe most people use windows media player. If you can't open the file - that probably means you are not using windows? If you do a search in a place like download.com, I'm sure you can find a lot of players that support the .asf format. Hope this helps.

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For some endeavors, of course, high level proficiency during childhood is a near prerequisite for success. I think most of the world's best top female gymnasts peak in their early or mid teens, and the quest for that childhood gymnastics success has really screwed up the lives of a few gymnasts that I have known. For the violin, high level technique requires that an enormous amount of work become totally intuited, so having that childhood exposure is practically a necessity (for virtuosi). This does not mean prodigy, however. Oistrakh was as great a violinist as any who ever lived, and I believe he was no prodigy, but he did study the violin as a child. For people who do not have that childhood exposure, it is very difficult to reach that level where technique becomes intuitive and automatic.

I think what Paganiniest said is really accurate, which is that timing and intonation are two aspects of technique, in it's robotic sense, which can go a long way towards making music sound good. Even a computer can be taught to give passable interpretations if you feed it the music. I did finally download and listen to the Waxman fantasy, and I must say that I don't see what is so impressive once you get beyond the freakshow aspect of seeing a little girl play a hard violin piece. Which is not to say that the girl is not very talented, or might not become a great violinist, but why don't we wait and see instead of turning her into a freakshow? Watching a little child stand on stage looking bored and unhappy and playing pre-cooked mechanical renditions of violin music is not my idea of a nice night of music, I think what it more closely resembles is child abuse.

--Alistair

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Paganiniest!

You say this is international standards. Speaking e.g. of the Lalo and the Waxman variations, do you mean it is intl. standards for that age, or for ANY age? <-- I see. What I meant is that when I combine the difficulty of the piece, age of the performer, and quality of execution, all of these have become the new standards. But more so, to me is impressive that these standards are so much more wide spread accross the world. In other words we see many more young violinists playing at this level than we did say 100 years ago. Is crazy!!

To me is a combination of young age, execution/delivery, and numbers. Mind boggling!

My opinion only though,

Pag

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So what IS the difference technically between them and the older top virtuosi?

Maybe the older ones are just a bit more "cool" and haughty?

And that without them realising it, actually takes away from their depth of music?!

That would be because they sytemize every bit of feeling in their mind, and it is no longer spontaneous.

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When you get older, Staylor, you will understand this.

Ther is a HUGE difference between a kid and an adult in their playing. You dont need the video the realise that this are children that are playing.

And jepp, adults (top solists) play better then these children but these children plays better then most other children.

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Staylor,

I will answer your questions to the best of my abilities. This is what I say. As you know, most of my students are Asiatic, for whatever reason, that is the way it is. I say to them, do not try to copy Heifetz, Milstein, Oistrakh, etc, nobody, be you!!

I explain to them that there is a stigma around the world that states that Oriental musicians are technically perfectionists, cold, etc. I tell them, do not be afraid or ashamed of your abilities, USE THEM!!

Is the same advice Nadia Boulanger gave to many musicians that came to study with her in Paris years ago. American musicians like Bernstein, Copland, Gershwin, etc, were more or less ashamed of their background and wanted to imitate Bach, Mozart, Strauss, etc. My good friend Astor Piazzola was a good example of this; he was ashamed to play a TANGO for he thought that was Argentinean music not worthy of listening to. She was adamant about this, and told Astor to write what was in his heart, tangos, South-American music. The same advice was given to Copland and such, to not to be ashamed of Jazz and American styles.

I say the same to my Asian students. Do not try to imitate. The world used to think that to play the violin you had to be Jewish. History has proven that not to be true, for we are full of stigmas.

You mention spontaneity. I say they are spontaneous, in their own way, and is for us, neophites, to discover the beauty behind all of it.

Respectfully,

Pag

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you heard what I hear....

I beg to differ strongly with you on this point, Walter. I hear children, very talented children mind you, but children none the less.

Heifetz, Milstein...they were in a league of their own. One needs to listen very carefully, with all their heart, to understand this, or to hear it the way some do. I need only point out that the kids sound in their interpretation quite a bit alike. In fact, even on this thread, the gal playing the Waxman was mistaken for Sarah Chang! Coincidence? I think not. They thought it was by looks...I say it is by sound! :-)

Sometimes the pressure and over zealous treatment can make an unintentional negative effect.

My opinion.

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Well thank you!!! Is what this forum is all about, exchanging opinions and what not. BUT, you say, Milstein and Heifetz were in a league on their own, this is true. But Heifetz and Milstein were whildren too, right? and they did not sound any better than these children, right? This is what I refer to. I fight for the future rather than the past!!! is me.

You are kool and thanks for responding so quickly!

Respectfully,

Walter

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"My own thinking here: Are they like Heifetz, Milstein, Menuhin when they were children? My answer is, they are better. Life will teach them the rest ... to be profound, purposely and prophetic. " from previous post :-)

Walter, it is the comparison issue that I bring to light in the above post. Music is not a sport -- and I hope the Olympics are never recreated.

Naturally, life's experiences allow us, as musicians, to continually grow and mirror life in the music we recreate. Let's hope that the life the children are growing into is a positive one!

Be

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