Savant Grandchild? But doesn't want to play with the teacher

by Monica Millson
(Dallas, Tx)

I have an autistic grandchild that I believe is gifted. He can listen to a piece of music and immediately play it on the piano--not perfectly but you definitely know what the song is. He started very early. His first piece at about 2 yrs was "Phantom of the Opera". He now can play Vivaldi after listening to it. I would like him to have structured teaching on piano, but he is not accommodating as to time he wants to do this. We have hired a teacher to come in but he might not want to play at that time. So a big waste of money. Do you have any ideas that would help him learn to his greatest potential?


Hello, Monica,

It's really hard to MAKE kids do what they don't want to do. The wanting is definitely most of the battle. I cannot help you with that, except for suggesting that you attend recitals, music concerts, etc. with him, especially if kids are performing. My own eldest daughter never did much at the piano until she saw her cousin in a talent show perform her own compostition on the piano - suddenly she was ON FIRE!

You may be interested in reading about perfect pitch and what this writer calls "the gift." This is an interesting site about teaching autistic kids, especially non-verbal kids. It is to experts like Henny that you need to look for up-to-date information and resource ideas for special kids.

Is the teacher you have hired knowledgeable, or just kind and willing? Best to be all three! Do call around to your local schools to find out who has background and experience - they can answer your questions best. Keep searching the internet. Good luck, Dana

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ONLINE LESSONS might be a good option...
by: Betty

Maybe an online piano teacher, who has flexible times, would commit to helping this child when his emotions and awareness are at his highest. A skype lesson has goods and not so good points, but it could be an option. Betty

Perfect Pitch and Autism
by: Henny Kupferstein

Thank you for recommending my work. The Rancer Method is specifically for gifted students who have perfect pitch, and may also be autistic. It is published in the book titled Perfect Pitch in the Key of Autism.

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