Sunday, May 15, 2011

Teen music prodigy learns in hours despite not being able to read music...

Teen music prodigy can learn pieces in hours despite being unable to read a note

A teenage music prodigy has astounded tutors with his ability to expertly play the most complex piano pieces in a few hours despite being unable to read music.

Teen music prodigy can learn pieces in hours despite being unable to read a note
Samuel Osmond, left, with his music lecturer Cecil DuValle Photo: APEX
Samuel Osmond, 19, has never had a piano lesson but can pick up pieces by composers such as Chopin and Beethoven in minutes because of his note perfect memory.
The teenager from St Austell, Cornwall, who is studying Law at AS Level along with Sociology and Music Subsidiary Diploma Level 3, had intended to pursue a career as a barrister.
However, his teachers have urged him to make his future in the field of music instead.
Osmond learns a piece of music by listening to it in sections and then working out the notes.
He started playing two years ago and the first piece he played was Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven.
He is currently learning a piece by Chopin, Ballarde No1 in G Minor, which is filled with rapid scales, large chords and difficult fingerings.
It is a piece so difficult that his music lecturer Cecil Du Valle, who has two masters in music, cannot play it.
Osmond said: “I grew up with music. My mum played and I played guitar for six years.
"About two years ago I suddenly decided to start playing the piano, without being able to read music and without having any lessons.
"It comes easily to me - I hear the notes and can memorise them - each individual note.
"Recently I did a performance of a Chopin piece in public.
"It's ten minutes long and must have over a thousand notes in it but I had committed it to memory.”
He added: “I was looking at training to be a barrister but my tutors have advised me to apply to a music college like Chethams or Wells.”
Mr Du Valle, who teaches at Cornwall College in St Austell, said his pupil was a unique find over a 40 year career.
He said: “He's extraordinary - I have never ever known anybody with an ability like this - it's extremely rare.
"He's just appeared out of the mist. He didn't even realise what he was doing was special. He was training for a career in law.
"He memorised a nine minute long Chopin piece and was note perfect - without being able to read music -or without any piano lessons.
"It's incredible."
Mr Du Valle believes Osmond may have mild autistic tendencies which is now being looked in to with his pupil’s agreement.
Osmond added: “When I was very young I'm told I used to be able memorise the words of a book that had been read to me and then say them back to make it look like I was reading it - this was before I could read or write.
“It's all about the ability to memorise - I guess I have the ability to do that.”

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