Lesson 2 - L&S, Functions, Pronunciation - MIND AND BRAIN
TAPESCRIPT Q: If you look at all those musical talents that you talk about in your research, how would you explain the whole phenomenon of being gifted? A: Well, it’s difficult to say, really. Some children are endowed with such extraordinary talent that there seems to be no accounting for it. Most of them make their debut very early. Mozart is often cited as a case in point. However, he’s not the only one in the pantheon of musical prodigies. Paganini, Liszt, Beethoven come to mind and more recently Yehudi Menuhin and Yo-Yo Ma, not to mention Canadians, such as Andre Mathieu, Shauna Rolston, and Alexandre Da Costa, all of whom displayed exceptional musical gifts at a very young age. Some prodigies seem like well-trained circus animals, but what is absolutely amazing about them, is not their sheer talent or confidence, but their far greater ability to move the audience with their musical sensitivity.
Q: To what degree do prodigies owe their development to their talent, and to what degree are they what their parents and teachers have made them? A: Again, something that might be hard to ascertain, but there are studies that suggest the first is less vital than the latter, I mean, there’s a clear connection between the parents’ involvement and the child’s achievements. Parents can help or hinder the development of a child prodigy in a number of ways. Now, take Janos Starker, a famous cellist, and the story of his mother. Apparently, she used to make tiny sandwiches and leave them on his music stand so that he wouldn’t have to get up to look for a snack. She even bought a parrot and trained it to say one thing only: “Practice, Janos, practice!” And, as we can see, it did the trick. Much less amusing is the story of the pianist Ruth Slezynska, who made her debut in in 1929 at the age of 4. In her autobiography, she tells how her extremely strict father made her practise 9 hours every day. Evidently, that did it. At 15, she suffered a major breakdown that put an end to her career. Q: So, being a child prodigy is not a bed of roses, is it? A: No, whatever you may think, the dangers lying in wait for child prodigies are very real. Cellist Yuli Turovsky, conductor of the Montreal Orchestra, talked to us about these problems. Let me think… Ah, yes! He talked about the young prodigy…, what’s her name… Ah! Maria-Elisabeth Lott. He said…, and I fully agree with him, that it is difficult to resist exploiting the immense potential of such children. Strangely enough, talents may easily expire as they embark on a serious career. Q: How can we avoid that happening? A: The teacher’s role in developing a child prodigy is essential. He or she must act as an advisor and balance the young musician’s workload sensibly between technique, phrasing and interpretation. The teacher must also watch over the transformation of a strange machine into a well-balanced adult. Adolescence, frequently a period of painful upheaval, can often become a nightmare for musical superstars. Q: Coming to our final question; what’s the most typical problem that normal adolescents do not have while their outstanding peers do? A: Let me think… I’d say that musical prodigies tend to put so much strain on themselves in mastering the battlehorses of the repertoire that they miss out on cultural experiences like going to museums or the theatre or studying literature, not to mention everyday human interaction. They are eating themselves up and they are unable to renew themselves intellectually or emotionally.
Source: http://www.scena.org/lsm/sm6-2/poison-en.html 4.08.2006 (adapted and abridged)
Hesitation and fillers Look at the tapescript of the conversation and find expressions that are used when you are thinking what to say next. Here’s a ready-made list that you may check upon: Well… it’s difficult to say…. I mean Let me think… what’s her name Perhaps… Now …, and I fully agree with him… I’d say that…