Geniuses are made - not born

"There are no prodigies, only wonderful children who have practiced a lot" star pianist Prof. Jura Margulis told me, who is already the third generation to lead the international piano academy in Freiburg and gives master classes worldwide. And he wanted to set the record straight: "Practice makes perfect" is only half the truth, "The master practices" is the real truth.

We met in Freiburg for a conversation on the occasion of my visit by Rex Lewis-Clark, who spent a few weeks in Freiburg doing piano masterclasses at the invitation of Prof. Jura Margulis.

I first saw Rex when he performed in Jokohama at the age of 9. He had touched me so much that he became one of the Winspiration Day award winners. It was also Rex who first exclaimed, "Happy Winspiration Day!".
His performance in Baden-Baden in 2006 for Winspiration Day

has moved many people. And now 5 years later, the boy has become a young man who is maturing into a special pianist, according to German television:


Rex's mother, Cahtleen, has written a book about Rex, which is just titled Rex in English, but is titled "Mein Wunderkind" in German(

About this word Wunderkind the deepening conversation arose then
with Prof. Jura Margulis.
In his opinion Rex is not a Wunderkind. Even if it touches us that a blind autistic boy has to listen to a complicated piece of music only once in order to play it, this is not a miracle, but only the result of practice. And it is true, Rex has been practicing since he was 2 years old. Is it then a miracle if 14 years later he can hear music and simply play it back. Prof. Margulis says he knows several 16 year old children who can play along in the same way, based on practice alone. What particularly convinced him that it is not talent but training that leads to mastery was not so much the study of the 10,000 hours of practice done by the University of the Arts in Berlin, but rather the story of the Polgár sisters(

The Hungarian educator Làszló Polgár thought,
that geniuses are made, not born.
He wanted to prove it. He looked for a woman (he is even said to have placed an ad for it) who agreed with his idea. She bore him three daughters. From an early age, he trained the girls in chess. And the result? Susan became World Champion and her two younger sisters, Grandmaster Judit and International Master Sofia, also reached the highest ranks.

So, if we now have proof that practice makes perfect,
that talent does not play the decisive role.
What then does this mean for each and every one of us?

We just need to decide in which area we want to be ahead.
What do we want to invest the 10,000 hours in?
What do we want to make it to mastery in.
Do we have something that is worth it to us to make it to excellence.

Here again is Prof. Jura Margulis:

"Mastery is the pursuit of excellence in self-forgetfulness."


Wolfgang Sonnenburg

winning for life


Previous post
The world is changing - but I don't want to!!!
Next post
Can I be significantly better off than my parents?