Month: October 2009

Baby Einstein: The Real Story

Big news: Disney is offering parents refunds on Baby Einstein DVDs because… they don’t work worth a darn. As this article explains, the corporation settled with the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, tacitly admitting that watching shapes and colors doesn’t make kids smarter. In fact, it does precisely the opposite, reducing vocabulary gains.
Brains, exactly like …

The Slow, Wondrous Writing of Junot Diaz

Slow is Beautiful

One question that pops up often: why does super-slow practice work so well?  After all, we see it over and over in the talent hotbeds, where it’s used to learn everything from algebra to tennis to writing. And yet slow practice grates against our instincts. Speed is good, right? Shouldn’t we always push ourselves to …

Superheroes of Rock

It’s the oldest cliche: the orphan superhero; the Harry Potter/Bruce Wayne/Clark Kent dwelling in quiet exile amid the unsuspecting citizenry, secret possessor of magical talents.
It also turns out to be sort of true — well, at least with rock guitarists. While it’s possible to conjure up all kinds of bellyaching about the rankings of Rolling …

Dudamel and Little Dudes

Fact #1: my fourth-grade daughter just started playing in her elementary-school band.
Fact #2: last night, 28-year-old  Gustavo Dudamel — a.k.a. The Dude, a.k.a. classical music’s newest rock star — conducted his first piece with the Los Angeles Philharmonic last night.
These two events seem unrelated — and tell the truth, they probably are. But let’s give …

The Next Mozart

I love Emily Bear. She’s an eight-year-old kid from Rockford, IL, who plays piano incredibly well.  I also love how her story embodies some of the patterns about developing talent. Let’s set aside some of the slightly breathless storytelling of this news clip and examine the facts:

Emily was born into an extremely musical family (check …

Igniting Passion: The “Side-Door” Method

The Beatles, Before They Were The Beatles