Prodigies of music composition: cognitive abilities and developmental antecedents

Lena Quinto, Paolo Ammirante, Michael H. Connors, William Forde Thompson

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    Prodigies of music composition exhibit a range of cognitive skills that differentiate them from other prodigies. However, there is little understanding of the nature of these skills, how they are acquired, and how they might develop. In addition to extensive musical knowledge and technical skills that also characterize other musical prodigies, the developmental transitions that occur from infant to prodigy to successful adult composer likely involve the acquisition of several personal, social, and cognitive skills. We review these skills, as well as the antecedents necessary to develop them, such as high levels of practice and social support. Finally, we propose a cognitive framework for investigating such skills and their development. We illustrate our conclusions with examples of prodigies of music composition.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationMusical prodigies
    Subtitle of host publicationinterpretations from psychology, education, musicology, and ethnomusicology
    EditorsGary E McPherson
    Place of PublicationOxford
    PublisherOxford University Press
    Number of pages41
    ISBN (Print)9780199685851
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • composition
    • creativity
    • expertise
    • music composition
    • prodigy
    • musical prodigy


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