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 +

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Music that will never be heard again

As some of you will know, this year, my eldest son, Ainan, just turned 13, has taken to composing music. He does so, now, on a daily basis, after coming home from University. He sits at the piano tinkling away. 

Sometimes he plays pieces he has already composed – usually recent ones, sometimes searching for ways to expand them, sometimes just enjoying them. On other occasions, he invents new compositions, directly on the piano, tinkering with them, until satisfied. At other times, he plays the music of others: Bach, Beethoven, Liszt, or music from video games, Bioshock, Portal 2, or movies, such as the Matrix. It is, however, a very frequent sound in our household now: Ainan on the piano, at work at something or other.

A couple of evenings ago, I was drowsy after a long day and half asleep, I heard the most beautiful sound: music I had never heard before, coming from our piano. I was really quite taken by its slightly haunting sound.

I woke up, fully and made my way through the house to Ainan.

“That is beautiful. Really good.” I said, to him, startling him from his reverie.

He seemed to be not quite fully in my presence when he caught my gaze. I realized then, that I had interrupted him, perhaps unwisely.

“Carry on.” I urged him. “It was good.”

His hands tracked back to the piano, and tried a few notes. He didn’t seem to know what to do in that moment.

“Play it again.”, I said, feeling perhaps, that I had made a mistake.

“I can’t.”, he said, a little sadly. “It was impromptu.”

“Did you record it?”

“No. I can’t record everything I do. There is just too much.”

I understood then, that, if I had not interrupted him, he would have learnt the piece, by continuing to work on it. My admiration in the moment, had cost us all, his musical work.

What a pity.

So, a couple of evenings ago, I heard a piece of music beautiful enough to arouse me from half-sleep, to full wakefulness; a piece of music that haunted and caught the attention in equal measure. Yet, now it was lost, because I praised it.

I am coming to think it would be wise if we could establish a set up that records everything he creates, so that this could never happen again. I shall look at the options. I would rather not have the privilege of hearing music that is only ever heard once, in the world. There is something too sad about that – especially when it was my fault.

Posted by Valentine Cawley

(If you would like to support my continued writing of this blog and my ongoing campaign to raise awareness about giftedness and all issues pertaining to it, please donate, by clicking on the gold button to the left of the page.

To read about my fundraising campaign, please go to: and here:

If you would like to read any of our scientific research papers, there are links to some of them, here:

If you would like to see an online summary of my academic achievements to date, please go here: learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, 10, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, 7 and Tiarnan, 5, please go to:

I also write of gifted education, child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, savant, megasavant, HELP University College, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, Malaysia, IQ, intelligence and creativity.

There is a review of my blog, on the respected The Kindle Report here:

Please have a read, if you would like a critic's view of this blog. Thanks.

You can get my blog on your Kindle, for easy reading, wherever you are, by going to:

Please let all your fellow Kindlers know about my blog availability - and if you know my blog well enough, please be so kind as to write a thoughtful review of what you like about it. Thanks.

My Internet Movie Database listing is at:

Ainan's IMDB listing is at

Syahidah's IMDB listing is at

Our editing, proofreading and copywriting company, Genghis Can, is at blog is copyright Valentine Cawley. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited. Use only with permission. Thank you.) 

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Valentine Cawley @ 3:18 PM 


Blogger Adelaide Dupont said...

Valentine and Ainan, that so resonated with me.

I find it easier to record (sometimes) when it's not me doing it, or I'm not a part of it.

One note can create a dream. Dreams by their very nature are ephemeral.

"Music of the Human Heart" is so brilliant.

So often you do "kill something with faint or extravagant praise".

And I wish you a great thirteenth, Ainan.

6:10 AM  
Blogger Adelaide Dupont said...

Not so fast, Valentine!

Stephen Bayley wrote a great article about what "idiot" means in our fast-paced and predictable world.

My own Dictionary of Idiocy is multimediated: pictures, sound, clippings, textures.

Enjoy the link to Bayley's "Opinionated Idiocy".

Better an opinionated idiot than a repressed or repressive genius?

6:14 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

It is good to hear from you again, Adelaide.

The article on idiocy is very interesting...fascinating, even. How funny that a word can change so much in meaning, over time.

I would agree with Stephen Bayley on the value of opinions. I live in Asia where, so often, people seem unable or unwilling to hold opinions of their own, lest, perhaps they conflict with those of the majority. The tendency, whether they realize it or not, is to conform. I prefer, as chosen company, those willing to stand out, by means of their thoughts, deeds, or nature. They are far more interesting. The holding of diverse and even contrary opinions would come into the category of "standing out" in thought.

Thank you for the link.

Yes. It would be good if I or someone else, could assist Ainan in recording his work - but we can't be around at all times, and he works at any hour he pleases. I am thinking we need something much more automated than that.

Happy New Year to you, wherever you are!

10:28 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape