What makes a child prodigy or Wunderkind ? Are they born or made? And why is the term sensitive? Shamistha de Soysa talks with some former ‘prodigies’, pedagogues and artistic directors about how to teach and nurture musically gifted children.

Noa Wildschut. Photo © Marco Borggreve

Scroll through any social media platform and inevitably there is a swathe of videos featuring precociously gifted children performing exceptional musical feats. Pianist and composer William Zhang is shown making his Carnegie Hall debut in 2019 at the age of six, playing Mozart. Jonah Ho, aged five, plays Chopin’s Fantaisie-Impromptu in C-sharp minor from memory, perched on the edge of the piano stool, his feet barely reaching the pedals and his tiny hands stretching to span the rippling arpeggios. Dutch violinist