Friday, April 16, 2010

Gifted Children and The Visual and Performing Arts

You might think that this blog, the 5th and final in our series on Areas of Giftedness, should be lumped in with the first blog on creative giftedness. But in the same way that we drew a distinction between general intellectual capacity and a specific academic ability, we’re drawing a distinction here between creative thinking and this area of giftedness for specific capabilities in the visual and performing arts. In the first blog we discussed creative thinking in general, i.e. independent thinking, a sense of humor, standing out from the crowd. When it comes to giftedness in the visual and performing arts, we’re talking about a specific ability to express themselves through the arts.

Just as with specific academic ability, gifted children with characteristics in the visual and performing arts have an uncanny ability to learn advanced modes of expression, whether in art, music, drama, dance, writing, or any other artistic expression. It simply comes natural to them. Both of our children, for example, are prolific writers and have not only tried their hand at creative writing, but have completed complex works and crave time to spend working on more. They also excelled in band (even though they didn’t relish practicing, which in hindsight indicates they had this gifted characteristic but perhaps didn’t have the personal interest that they do in writing).

Children gifted in the arts have great spatial skills and good—although not necessarily athletic—motor coordination. They easily connect the abstract emotional expression with the medium they’re working in (moral lessons in writing, for example, or themes and stories in music). They are observant and study those who have mastered the mediums: if their interest is writing, they enjoy critical literary analysis, or if their interest is dance, they crave watching and attending performances.

But perhaps most importantly, gifted children in this area will want to emulate the masters for their own expression, and you should definitely foster their expression. If their interest is writing, buy them a journal. If their interest is music, find an instrument that interests them, or let them compose their own work (there is plenty of great music composing software out there, like Noteworthy Composer, one of our personal favorite software packages).

We hope you've found this series of blogs useful. If you have any questions about this series, our blog in general, or just want to talk to us about your gifted child, we want to hear from you! Email us at

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