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Excellent auditory memory? Unusual or normal?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
My daughter is going on 6 and entering Kindergarten. She's a bright, motivated person and is an excellent artist. She could draw better at 2 than most grade schoolers! It's one of those things that people will stop and watch her draw (she carries her clipboard with her everywhere).

Anyways, I always considered her gifted in her own way (art), and otherwise intelligent but perhaps not academically gifted. Within the past year, I've noticed more and more that she has amazing auditory recall. Today, my husband mentioned that it was not normal At all that she can recite passages from books that we've read aloud to her, or that she has an entire song memorize after the first or second listen.

I've read about visual memory, but not as much as auditory memory. Any thoughts? Naturally I think she's smart and cool and great, but is this something other than that?

post #2 of 12

I don't know much about this sort of kid, but I do know one, a 14-year-old close friend of my middle kids. She's bright and amazingly affable, but her superpower is that she has a steel trap mind for language-based auditory information. She has always enjoyed singing along with pop tunes, and has the lyrics to about 2000 songs completely and utterly memorized, often with only two or three listens. Some of the areas she has excelled at and taken great pleasure in thanks to her gifts, which you might consider offering to your dd:


Second (and third, and fourth) language learning.

Choral singing, especially in more "elite" choirs where lots of memorization is expected. She joined the local adult choir at 13, and has now moved up to a more challenging regional youth choir. Lots of "other-language" lyrics in this one, as it has a world music focus, and it's so easy for her that she often coaches others and leads sectional rehearsals. 

Theatre. Memorizing lines is very easy for kids like this. She does well with lead roles, and easily understudies others when not taking a lead.

Trivia learning: a box of Trivial Pursuit cards read aloud during long card rides were incredibly fun for this girl when she was younger. With one listen she could learn the information and answer correctly any time she encountered the same question again. While this might be considered just a parlor trick, it gave her a huge body of facts that helped serve as familiar landmarks as she encountered similar contextual information through other means as she got older.


Enjoy your amazing kiddo!



post #3 of 12
This is also my super power. I've always considered myself bright but not necessarily gifted. I breezed through classes where a lot of the material was oral. Made my jr high and high school teachers nuts when I would be whispering to my neighbor and the would ask me a question on the lecture and I could correctly answer it. There are college text books that I've never read because I figured out if I went to class I never needed to read them.

Trivial Pursuit came out in my youth and no one would ever play with me a second time.

But boy, do I wish I could draw!
post #4 of 12
This is my DD. I can't offer you any info or insights since she is only 3. But she memorizes books and songs after 1-3 exposures. She also easily picks up on idiosyncratic inflections and can reproduce them. We actually do have her signed up for a week of 'acting camp' this summer and I'm curious to see how it goes.
post #5 of 12



My kiddo is very much like this, as well, as I have always been.  Miranda gave some great ideas.  Even as a very shy child, I did a lot of school-based acting performances.


One thing I've seen from my Dd is that it really helps to boost vocabulary, if your kiddo can apply what she learns to different situations.  The trivial pursuit should also help her academically and it's a great brain exercise.  She also should have an easier time with spelling and probably different math concepts.  Though if your school system is like ours, they don't have kids memorize different math facts and concepts anymore, but if memorization is easy for your kiddo, I, personally, would work on memorizing these, anyway.


And just a thought--if she is artistically gifted, she also IS visually gifted, since it takes much concept of visual space, shapes, and proportion.  

post #6 of 12

I would concur on acting.  And in general I think it's a great gifted cocurricular that puts them in a multigenerational, high talent group project -- when they can get it.


My personal experience as a parent was that acting did not offer much as a cocurricular prior to about age 5 or 6 because there's not a lot out there, in either community theatre or professional stuff.  Also the industry does not like to see them formally trained before about age 7 lest they get an "acty" look to them. 


My son was able to start a selective children's choir a year early at age 5.5 and I'd say acting got active enough to be worth it around age 6.5.


Acting is an amazingly challenging activity involving skills in understanding literature, visualization, psychology ... the list goes on and on.  It's also expensive.

post #7 of 12
I was kinda like this as a child. Bright academically, advanced reader, but that's about it. However, I could memorize audiobooks, songs, poetry, book passages with amazing ease and I could sing on pitch as a toddler. I started doing community theater at age five and joined a college children's chorus at age eight. It was not very expensive at all. There are opportunities that don't involve too much money or pressure.
post #8 of 12

Well, I've seen definitely homeschool coop and rec center opportunities that don't involve much money and our children's choir is an affordable act of love by the choir master.  But in this competitive big city for the acting and training opportunities, sometimes it feels like Toddlers & Tiaras "Go glitz or go home," minus the little girls in heavy makeup, flippers and big hair.  

post #9 of 12
Fortunately our week of 'acting camp' is affordable and it sounds fun, play based, and developmentally appropriate for the 3-6 year old group who will be attending.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone! I really appreciate the thoughtful feedback and suggestions. Although I'm not very artistic with pen and paper, I'm one of those musical peoPle who can pick up any instrument and figure out how to play. Perhaps she has a bit of a twist on my own auditory abilities. I'll bet she's Going to be one of those "movie quoting" people. Heck- she already is! Hahah

She's going to be attending a "leadership magnet" school which focuses on public speaking and being a leader with your own talents and abilities. I hope it serves her well and I can supplement and help her grow outside of school with theater and singing activities. I'll definitely get a trivial pursuit- maybe they have one that's a bit more kid like? We have one (pop culture) and i think it would be somewhat meaningless to her. I'll look for one that's more history / art or science oriented and go from there.

I'll bet this will serve her well in school. She does have a good visual memory but I wouldn't say it's exceptional. She has a great attention span and a thirst for learning so it may come easier to her than the average 5 year old.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
We are really lucky to live in an urban/suburban area that is absolutely flooded with Summer camps and track-out camps and numerous weekly classes to pick from. I know of numerous acting things I could put her in.

Quick question about art - for those of you with kids who are gifted in art, do you try to channel it with classes and instruction or do you provide materials but hold back instruction? Up until this point she's not been in any type of class or camp because I've wanted her to explore her passion without "pruning". Thoughts?
post #12 of 12
Originally Posted by missnoodlesmom View Post

Quick question about art - for those of you with kids who are gifted in art, do you try to channel it with classes and instruction or do you provide materials but hold back instruction? Up until this point she's not been in any type of class or camp because I've wanted her to explore her passion without "pruning". Thoughts?


There was a time when I thought my youngest was gifted in art. Now I look back and see that it was mostly just passion, focus, and her general intellectual giftedness allowing her to master certain media and skills at a younger age, to develop an artistic aesthetic to fairly sophisticated levels as a very young kid. She spent a year at age 3.5-4.5 immersed in watercolour painting and turned out some really remarkable stuff. At 9, well, she draws and paints well, but the art obsession was replaced by others and I wouldn't say she's particularly gifted as an artist.


Anyway, the gifted adult artists I know have all talked about how important it is to steer clear of art classes of the "how to" variety. These tend to constrain children's artistic sensibilities, reduce their creativity, reduce their engagement with their artwork, and funnel them into very rigid thinking about what constitutes "good art." Kids this age have a tendency to very black and white thinking, are hard-wired for mimicry and are driven to want adult approval. All of which tends to lead them into cookie-cutter-style art if they're in instructional situations. My artist friends have told me that they spent a year or more at art college having to "unlearn" all that how-to-draw-or-paint-properly stuff they absorbed in middle childhood and adolescence to unmask the raw creativity they once had as young children.


There is a textile artist who lives near us and occasionally runs workshops for children 8-12. They are the ideal art class for kids if you ask me. The instruction is more along the lines of guidance and inspiration, and is very open-ended. She works a lot on awakening the kids' sensibilities on how to see. Noticing the character, the balance, the juxtaposition of shapes or colours, the stark contrast here, the way the eye is drawn first here and then along this line here... She introduces the kids to a variety of media and to appropriate ways to use the media, suggests techniques, but really REALLY encourages them to be their own people, to pour their own ideas into what they're creating. She does this by creating an atmosphere that's calm and incredibly respectful, a few suggestions to get balls rolling, and then using that same graciously observant eye to validate what the kids's efforts produce. She never measures things against some implied external standard of "good." Her comments honour what is true and interesting about each child and each child's work, and there's genuine respect and pleasure in her observations. "I know you said this was an accident, how thick this part was. But do you see how the green part over here pulls the eye and balances it out? I really like how that works. It's a very bold piece with a lot of strength."


These art classes have been wonderful for introducing my kids to media and techniques and ideas they might not have encountered otherwise, thus freeing them up for more exploration and experimentation. They have been a wonderful way to show them that art is important stuff that real grown-ups take seriously and do for a living. They've been a great way to feel a part of a creative community. 


But I think the wrong sort of art classes can be quite damaging to a child's artistic impulses. So I would be very careful to vet any prospective classes beforehand. Find out about the aims of the class, the philosophy of the instructor and the inter-personal atmosphere. 



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