Performing Arts Medicine, 3rd ed.Medical Problems of Performing Artists

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Psychological Aspects of the Development of Exceptional Young Performers and Prodigies

Kyle D. Pruett
From: Performing Arts Medicine, 3rd ed.: Chapter 18 © 2010; page: 343

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Abstract: Precocious specialness of any kind has marked children for elevation, exploitation, and scrutiny for centuries. But while such talent may dazzle early on, there is no guarantee it will not flicker, sputter, change course, or simply lapse over time. The problem inherent in the study of exceptional talent, whether or not it is prodigious, lies in the inconvenient truth that such talent is but one piece of a whole life moving swiftly through the twin currents of maturation and development. Reluctance to intervene is slowly yielding to other more helpful, less worshipful impulses to assist children, families, and educators to support, instead of control, the healthy evolution of remarkable talent so that it remains in concert with a whole life. This chapter examines suppositions and data regarding psychological development and what psychological vulnerabilities and risks there may be in the expression of exceptional performing arts ability in young children and prodigies. Strategies are presented for prevention and intervention to avoid problems.

Last Updated: 4 / 2010

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