The Pressures Of Prodigy

Catherine Tice chronicles her journey from virtuoso violinist to casual player:

By the time I arrived in New York, I had technical problems. My left hand had become inflexible – practically arthritic, atrophied, in fact. Consequently, I played very badly, so badly I couldn’t recognize myself in an audition for the college philharmonia. I began several pieces, including the Haydn concerto I’d played when twelve, couldn’t get through one, and was ashamed (and secretly relieved). I noted that the concertmistress of this outfit was studying with the very famous Ivan Galamian at Julliard, and was struck by how far I’d fallen behind. …

I became musically exceptional for a child, but I lacked an essential psychological immunity to the dark side of self-criticism. When essential support was withdrawn by degrees it became increasingly difficult for me to do and be what I initially had no intention whatsoever of doing and being. Moreover, it simply isn’t enough to be good.

There is still regret. I miss very much the feeling that I might express something beautifully in music, and I suppose when I listen to others play or sing, the experience is sometimes tinged with both envy and remorse.

Children of this generation have some extra tools, such as the one seen above:

Much like Guitar Hero, the Projected Instrument Augmentation system streams blocks of color down a screen to meet the correct key at the exact moment that it should be played, having you playing like a pro in no time.