Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart began his musical training at the tender age of three. By age five, he had already composed his first piece of music. As a child, he mastered the piano, along with several other instruments including the violin, organ and harpsichord. By all accounts, he was a child prodigy. But he was far from the only composer to have a head start: Ludwig van Beethoven, Martha Argerich, Vincenzo Bellini, Claudio Arrau, and many of history’s greatest musicians all began their training in early childhood and went on to wow the world.
The success of these musicians raises the question: Do you need to start early to be great? Many of us assume that the younger we start, the better our chances of becoming the best. Certain research backs up this claim. Some psychologists have even suggested that there may be a key period in early childhood when we have a particularly powerful capacity to absorb musical aptitude. According to this view, if you wait until your teens or even early adulthood to begin your training, you will have missed a critical window.
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