'As always, it was sheer pleasure to observe Robin Hill's remarkable fluent technique: everything looks easy when he plays it.' Colin Cooper- Classical Guitar Magazine ----- 'Wonderful for their (Hill & Wiltschinsky) precision, touch and clarity of sound... refined virtuosity, the achievement of a long interpretive process.' Il Giornale D'Italia (Rome) ----- 'I loved your CD and thought your technique and performance were fabulous...' Rick Wakeman

Friday, June 15, 2007

Musicality and the Nature/Nurture Debate

It's the old nature/nurture debate.
Is musicality inherited or environmental?
Well, before we go any further, I haven't got all the answers...
However, in our not so random sample of 2 small children, there have already been some discoveries.
When son number one was a mere 8 years old, Robin was playing chords on the piano, and explaining major and minor to him.
In a moment of madness, Robin then said that if he could identify 10 chords correctly, in a row, then he would buy him a playstation game.
Robin felt sure his money was safe.

Not the case.
The tension mounted to unbelievable levels as son number one rattled through the answers, getting them all correct.
By the time we were on number 9, son number one could barely remain seated, and was almost passing out with excitement.
He got the 10th one right, and Robin's pocket, was considerably poorer.
But it wasn't all about the game.
Both son and parents were shocked at the speed that he had picked up the concept, and, to this day, continues to identify major and minor accurately.

But, is this just a skill that he learnt, albeit very quickly, or have some musical genes been passed down through Robin?
I suspect there's an element of both at play here.
The exposure our children have to all forms of music is probably much higher than most.
Even before birth they both got very excited at the sound of the piano. Whether the sound waves of the piano transverse the uterus more happily than those of the guitar, I wouldn't know.
But it's interesting.

Both boys have an excellent sense of rhythm and a substantial knowledge about music and composers.
The reason I have been thinking about this today, is that son number one came running out of school yesterday, brandishing a piece of paper and beaming from ear to ear.
The project in his music class had been to find out, and write up, all about a composer.
He chose Robin Hill, his dad....
I must say he did an excellent job, and visited this site three times, gathering information!
He was also very proud when all his school friends decided to 'Google' 'Robin Hill Guitar' and found that there are in fact many references to him.

Whether he, or son number two, will go on to be involved in music, remains to be seen.
It can be hard being the son of a musician, so much more is expected of you at the school concert, than the other children.
We, therefore, haven't forced the issue in any way.
We do however have some excellent footage of him conducting at a very young age, maybe 3 years old, and his timing is impeccable.
So, watch this space.....

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