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Child Composers in the Old ConservatoriesHow Orphans Became Elite Musicians$
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Robert O. Gjerdingen

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190653590

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190653590.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 June 2021

Child Labor

Child Labor

Little Angels and Prodigies

(p.49) 4 Child Labor
Child Composers in the Old Conservatories

Robert O. Gjerdingen

Oxford University Press

The early conservatories were boarding schools. As children acquired useful musical skills, they were rented out to perform in the city. At what point does practical education turn into child labour and exploitation? From the perspective of earlier centuries, most children were expected to work. Farm children worked in the fields, the children of craftsmen and merchants worked in their shops. Families often needed the free labour of their children to make ends meet, and through work the children developed knowledge of the family business. The balance between learning and working shifted in a bad way with the industrial revolution. One can see similar forms of exploitation in the marketing of child musical prodigies. The chapter discusses the lives of three prodigies, one of whom was Mozart.

Keywords:   Child labor, Prodigies, Cesarino Galeotti, Mozart, César Franck

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