America’s Got Talent Jackie Evancho wowed AGT audiences with her heavenly “Ave Maria”. The strong powerful voice emitting from the waif of a ten-year-old amazed American audiences and convinced us that a music prodigy was in our midst. Is Jackie Evancho comparable to another great music prodigy like Amadeus Mozart?
Music Prodigy Fact 1: Young Music Talent
Jackie Evancho joins a long line of other talented young musicians that have wowed the world stage. From Herbie Hancock who performing with the Chicago Symphony with his piano playing as a boy, to Shirley Temple’s dimpled smile on the big screen, to the talented brother-sister team of Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn, young musical talent has always wowed audiences.
Watching a tiny tot of three play a phenomenal violin concerto or watch a first grader pound out Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” even though she cannot reach the pedal amazes the listener. How can such a great sound come out of such a small person?
Music Prodigy Fact 2: Pushy Parents
Every music prodigy needs pushy parents to put their talented youngster in the spotlight. Whether you have a Leopold Mozart forcing the young Amadeus and Maria to practice each and every day or you have parents like Jackie Evancho’s training her to play Las Vegas with a perfectly practiced smile, a music prodigy needs to show in the limelight, and it takes at the least supportive (if not downright pushy) parents to get their child to the big stage. In fact, most of us wouldn’t even hear about these music prodigies if their parents insisted that they should go outside and play with the other kids and maybe stop practicing.
Music Prodigy Fact 3: Recognized Music Talent
Just like AGT Jackie Evancho, talented young musicians often win recognition through great performances with professional music ensembles or win large coveted prized to gain recognition for their talent. Jackie Evancho might have lost the AGT competition, but she won the hearts of millions of excited listeners who are bound to buy the young girl’s next music album.
Music Prodigy Fact 4: Musical Genius
While Jackie Evancho has honed her vocal talents to the point that she gives opera star Sarah Brightman a run for her money, considering the young girl a musical genius would take a stretch. Amadeus Mozart was composing impressive oratorios and sonatas before he hit his late teens. The school age Shirley Temple not only sang, but could act and even dance with some of the best dancers of her time. Composer Felix Mendelssohn had written life-changing works in his teens, and even the talented Duke Ellington had shown impressive musical genius well before he hit adulthood. This may be where the young Jackie Evancho lacks.
While her intense musical discipline has created a voice that is well beyond her years, the child star has yet to demonstrate true musical genius. This may be the fault of her parents who have trained her much as one trains a prize puppy or could just be the media focusing on the obvious vocal talents of the child without focusing on whether she truly is capable of deep musical insight.
Only time will tell if Jackie Evancho will burn out and destroy her vocal chords by the age of fifteen or will take the time to perfect her musical talent outside of the Hollywood spotlight and truly grow into a musical genius. I hope for the latter.