The National, Monday March 3rd, 2014
IN history, there are records of child prodigies – people who show a mastery of skills at an early age.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is a child prodigy in music.
In Reader’s Digest’s Great Lives Great Deeds, Donald Cultross Peattie writes: “Born with perfect absolute pitch, infallibale rhythm and natural comprehension of harmony, Mozart had come into the world with an unexplicably complete gift.”
At four, the child begin to play the clavier (the forerunner of the modern piano) and at five he started on the violin and read music.
The child Mozart read and wrote musical notes before he could write letters.
Mozart’s father was the Austrian, Leopold Mozart, a second-rate Salzburg violinist and first-rate teacher.
George Friedrich Gauss was a child prodigy in maths.
At four, Gauss pointed out a mistake in his father’s calculation of his workmen’s pay.
When a teacher tasked his class to add the numbers from 1 to 100, the child Gauss was done within seconds.
While others were adding all 100 numbers, he knew that the sum of the first and the last, as the second and the 99th, and so on, would give 101.
He knew there were 50 of such pairs. Hence he multiplied 101 by 50 and got his answer of 5,050.