As it turns out, the science behind what could make you a musical genius is more than just practice. Sure, it's true Mozart did put in plenty of work over a full decade to produce his life's masterpieces, but his already above-average intelligence—thought to lie between 125 and 155—probably also contributed to his musical talents. In fact, a recent study suggests a high intelligence coupled with dedicated practice and "domain-specific skills" (a knack for music to begin with) are all ingredients for musical genius, dispelling the notion that just anyone could be a potential savant. Yet conflicting studies show that significant head injuries can tap into the phenomena of an "acquired savant." In the case of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), a degenerative brain disease, patients demonstrated higher levels of creativity and artistic expression as their conditions declined. Other cases tell of individuals who suffered different types of everyday trauma to the head, only to emerge as prodigal pianists and the like.
So what really led to Mozart's magic? Was he innately talented, an intellectual genius, an intense rehearser or all of the above? Check out this playlist and explore the different theories surrounding the amazing gift of musical genius.