Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) composed La finta semplice (The Pretended Simpleton), an opera buffa in three acts, when he was 12. Its form and sound shape come up to musical works composed at that time by adult and experienced composers.
The catalogue of Mozart’s works, arranged in chronological order by Ludwig von Köchel (published for the first time in 1862), shows that it was Mozart’s 51st composition. Although it is difficult to deny that Mozart was a genius, we do not know to what extent he used his innate abilities when composing the opera and to what extent he used his skills and experience acquired in the course of his very intense musical education.
Even though neurophysiology is developing very dynamically nowadays, we still do not know specific brain structures responsible for outstanding achievements, including specific musical achievements. It does not prevent us from suspecting that – in addition to work results – individuals who acquire abilities necessary to express their opinion in a given domain faster than others, who have more to say, solve problems more quickly and create new qualities are individuals who have an inborn gift.
We know however, that only about 4% of the world’s population suffer from congenital amusia – the inability of some individuals (which cannot be changed in the course of education) to learn how to recognize and hum melodies and rhythms, even though they have normal audiometry and their development of speech is not disturbed  (the percentage of population suffering from acquired amusia, which results from a brain damage or a brain disease, is even smaller). Interestingly enough, there are a lot more people who think they suffer from amusia, as they confuse the lack of musical skills and experience with the nervous system defect. Individuals whose performance in tests composed of appropriate musical tasks is in fact worse than others, are able, as the great majority of people, to read emotions conveyed by music. It probably results from the fact that the ways of conveying emotions through music are similar to the changes in speech intonation used to express our emotions .
The acquisition of musical skills is similar to speech acquisition: we learn our mother tongue earlier, easier and faster than a foreign language and learning a foreign language is easier when we stay with people for whom it is a mother tongue. Therefore, if we want our children to be musical, from the very beginning, we should sing them songs almost as often as we talk – to them and to others in their presence. We shouldn’t be discouraged if our child stops singing when they start speaking – if we continue to sing, the child will come back to singing. It is proven by the pedagogical practice focused on the musical development of children, described for example by Edwin E. Gordon – the author of an original theory about learning music .
We shouldn’t be discouraged if we don’t always sing in tune either: the sound pitch in music is categorized – slight deviations from the ideal pitch, resulting from mathematically equal proportions of sound frequencies, are heard as insignificant changes, children average them and adopt what we should sing to them as a model of in-tune singing (father, mother or grandmother, they all have different voices, but every child learns to speak in his or her own way, taking models from different people and processing them for his or her own purposes).
In-tune singing is a skill and not an innate ability. We learn to speak (it also being a skill) quickly because we connect speech sounds and words with specific meanings. When learning and teaching music, we should always try to express our thoughts and feelings: we should strike up a melody like a question or an answer, make it happy or sad. Even if it doesn’t lead to our child becoming a virtuoso, it will arouse child’s interest in music.
 Shuter-Dyson, Rosamund; Gabriel, Clive: Psychologia uzdolnienia muzycznego (translated by Ewa Głowacka and Kacper Miklaszewski from the English version entitled The psychology of musical ability). Warsaw 1986, WSiP
 Sloboda, John A.; Wise, Karen J.; Peretz Isabelle: Quantifying Tone Deafness in the General Population. Annals of New York Academy of Sciences 1060 (2005), 255-261 (the article available on the Internet).
 Gordon, Edwin E.: A music learning theory for newborn and young children. Rev. ed. Chicago 2003, GIA Publ.
Kacper Miklaszewski (born in 1949) – was awarded an MA in Piano at the Rimski-Korsakov Conservatory in Leningrad (Saint Petersburg) (1974), he also studied at the Music School, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 1984, he got a PhD in the theory of music at the Chopin Academy of Music (currently Fryderyk Chopin University of Music) in Warsaw. In 2000-2010 he lectured on the basics of the psychology of music and he conducted a seminar on music criticism at the Institute of Musicology of the University of Warsaw. He is a musical journalist working inter alia for a music journal “Ruch Muzyczny” and for Program II Polskiego Radia (Polish radio channel).