Every once in a while you come across a young talent and you wonder, how on earth did they develop such skill at such an early age? How did they become such a child prodigy?
Sure, practice matters. Practice builds proficiency and proficiency makes the difficult appear effortless.
It appears though, that there is more at play than simply practice.
Joanne Ruthsatz did a study on child prodigy. Here is the abstract from that study:
Child prodigies are unusual for their early and exceptional adoption of what are traditionally thought of as adult abilities. As part of an effort to better understand the underpinnings of these extraordinary individuals’ talent, the researcher examined the cognitive and developmental profiles of eight child prodigies by taking their developmental histories and administering the Stanford-Binet 5th ed. full scale intelligence test and the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ). The collected data reveals a startling picture. While each of the prodigies demonstrated an at least moderately elevated level of intelligence, the prodigies’ full scale IQ scores were not consistently on the extreme end of the spectrum. What was consistently extraordinary, however, was the child prodigies’ working memory scores””a category in which every prodigy tested in the 99th percentile. Additional results suggest a previously unknown connection between child prodigies and autism. The prodigies’ family histories yielded an unlikely number of autistic relatives. And the child prodigies received elevated AQ scores with respect to attention to detail, a trait associated with autism. The prodigies did not, however, display many of the other traits typically associated with autism. This result raises the possibility of a moderated autism that actually enables the prodigies’ extraordinary talent.
Regardless of how it happens, there is no question that Joey Alexander, now at only 11 years of age, is a remarkable player.