This article examines talent development in piano prodigies through a case study of the life of Australian pianist David Helfgott as depicted in the film Shine. Utilizing theory from positive psychology, especially Csikszentmihalyi’s flow theory of motivation and optimal experience, and his sociocultural systems model of creativity, Helfgott’s development as a musical prodigy, his subsequent psychological challenges, and his ultimate psychological resilience are detailed. This case of Helfgott serves as a cinematic lens through which to explore optimal talent development more broadly. Thus, this article also makes refer- ence to other cinematic depictions of prodigies, as well as to autobiographical and biographical source materials from other talented musicians. Implications for the optimal development of talented musicians are discussed.
Cite this paper
Rich, G. (2012). A Cinematic Lens on Talent Development in Piano Prodigies: Considerations for Positive Psychology. Psychology, 3,
1161-1165. doi: 10.4236/psych.2012.312A171
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