Recently two forwards of young children doing extraordinary things landed in my inbox. One was of a little boy waving his arms in tempo to a recording of a Beethoven Symphony, and for all those who are not entirely sure what a conductor really does (i.e. everyone) it might seem as if this little boy propped up on a podium in front of a symphony orchestra might actually make them all play together and in tempo.
The other was of Umi Garrett, an eight-year-old going about the business of playing seriously difficult virtuoso piano pieces by Liszt and Chopin in the same way a builder goes about constructing a piece of furniture or a house - objectively, unaffectedly and unselfconsciously; simply doing the job at hand with as little self-concern as possible.
Read the rest of First blog post for 2011: What’s so good about Umi?