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 +

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A reaction to Ainan’s musical compositions.

A couple of days ago, we had a visitor to our house. He was there for a very specific reason: to listen to Ainan’s musical compositions.

Now, I cannot reveal why our visitor was interested in hearing Ainan’s musical compositions, just yet, but I can say this: our visitor had spent five years of his life at a music school, though he was now in another creative profession.

He listened most attentively to Ainan’s pieces as I played him recordings. 

"This is the first piece he ever composed.", I noted. 

There seemed about him, a little surprise.

I played him the second piece.

“I like that one.”, he remarked, “Very suitable.”, for what he had in mind.

“That’s very interesting.”, he observed of another.

“A good piece...but not for this project.”, he said of a fourth. There were others, too.

Then Ainan took to playing him some pieces on the piano.

Our guest watched him most intently. “How long has he been learning the piano?”

“He taught himself, six months ago.”

He considered this for a moment. “It is amazing how fast he has picked it up.”

Ainan, 12, played on, piece after piece...all from memory. Some of the pieces were his own compositions, others, as is his wont, were pieces he had heard in the course of his life – the Matrix theme tune, a couple of the pieces from the game Portal 2 and Bioshock.

At the end of the display our guest had decided to work with Ainan on a forthcoming project. He was most pleased with Ainan’s compositions.

I will let you know, when I am free to do so, just what Ainan will be doing, musically. Personally, I was very happy to hear that our musical guest liked Ainan’s music. It is the first time we have allowed Ainan’s work to be heard by a musically informed outsider – so his appreciation means a lot to us. It is the first “nod” from the musical profession that Ainan really has something going for him, in this area. That, in itself, is a bit of a surprising development considering that he is primarily a scientist – but then, again, Einstein was a passable violinist and Leonardo da Vinci was a composer who could play any stringed instrument, though I believe the lute was his primary one. Thus, musicality has been found allied to scientific gift in the past, too.

One of my greatest pleasures, now, is listening to Ainan play his compositions, on the piano. His is my favourite music. Perhaps, one day, it will be other people’s favourite too. We shall see.

Posted by Valentine Cawley

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:09 PM 


Blogger Alex said...

Much like me. Although I am not sure I am gifted, I am above average in science-related subjects, and I can learn an instrument in a short period of time.

When you reflect on your past, I notice many similarities between you and Ainan. Do you, like Ainan, have any musical talents?

6:04 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes. You are right. There are many similarities between Ainan and myself. I think that whatever complex of genes gave me my particular intellect was passed on, perhaps even whole, to Ainan.

Again, a child I had a particular musical gift: I could whistle (and recall) any musical tune I had heard only once. Ainan however cannot yet whistle - but he says: "I can hear it in my head, after listening only once." So, that is basically the same gift as I had...only I could whistle it out, too.

It is very enlivening to have a child such as Ainan - but also, since there are similarities, I have a better idea of what to do, to help him.

It is good to hear that you are good in science and music. I hope you find a fulfilling path forward with them.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Mrs Boysis said...

No surprise that a scientist is a musician. My 4 kids all play 2 instruments at diploma level by 11, and all of them went to university by 14. They are also state representatives in their sports. Some people say this is omni-giftedness.

I guess part of that is genes, and part of that is their ability to pick up anything fast. I think Ainan is just very smart. Throw anything at him,(not just music) and be surprised! Have fun! Most of all, don't assume he'd just be a scientist. Next project: try sports.

12:50 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Well done on raising such widely talented children Mrs Boysis.

It is funny you should mention sports. Ainan has never been much interested in them, in particular - but the other day he went for a golf lesson. The teacher was rather taken by Ainan's use of the golf club and asked him: "Are you an experienced player?"

He said: "No."

In fact, he hadn't touched a golf club since he was about six or seven years old - and even then only a few times. So, perhaps you are right. Perhaps he could take to sport too. We shall see.

12:45 PM  

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