The Prodigy and the Non-Prodigy

Consider if you will two musicians. One has a natural prodigy talent, the other does not. The Prodigy can pick up the violin and play a new piece of music perfectly the first time. The Non-Prodigy practices for hours and hours on the one piece, hundreds of repetitions, until the piece is played correctly. Then the music Prodigy improvises the same piece of music and is praised for their musical expression and interpretation while the Non-Prodigy can only play it the way they practiced. Then it is time to learn another brand new musical composition. Again the Non-Prodigy must begin again learning through practice and hard work, while the Prodigy picks it up with ease and can improvise it on a whim.

Now imagine a symphony of musical prodigies and the one, solo Non-Prodigy. In the end after so much practice the Non-Prodigy is able to play with the symphony. But it is wearing and exhausting, and over time begins to make the player more and more tired. In the meantime the Conductor reproaches the Non-Prodigy for taking so long to learn when all the rest of the symphony can play it with ease. The other symphony members do not understand why the Non-Prodigy cannot do what they can, and wonder if the Non-Prodigy even counts as a Musician if they have to try so hard. “What’s wrong with them?” they wonder.

Now, we as a society would not think anything wrong with a musician who achieves through hard work rather than musical genius. More likely we would not think as much of the Prodigy who by random chance of birth was born with a gift that not all people have. But what society does not understand is that when it comes to social interactions, the world is full of Prodigies. If you are not autistic, you are a social Prodigy who picks up cues and unwritten rules naturally without have to think about it, and can improvise as needed. And society as a whole is looking down at the social Non-Prodigies like there is something horribly wrong with them because they do not have the same gift. In the Concert of Life, playing in the symphony is required. The Non-Socially-Gifted can not just opt out. So how about being patient with the Non-Prodigy instead of being demanding with those that are exhausting themselves practicing so that they, too, can make music.

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