At the age of 9, during the 1950s, the only music I knew about was “Country Boy Eddie” on the radio and Southern gospel like we’d sing on Sunday mornings. From this perspective, perhaps you can imagine the “Wow Factor” I felt after seeing on a Facebook post that a 9-year-old in my circle of spiritual friends actually wrote a sonata recently. Okay, confession time: I didn’t know what a Sonata was until I looked it up. Now I know it is a composition for one or two instruments, typically in three or four movements in contrasted forms and keys. It was so intriguing to me that I requested an interview with Kavi Amrhein and his mother, Elise. When interview time came, an added bonus was the presence of Jyoti, who generously shared her 13-year-old sisterly perspective.
Kavi seems to enjoy talking about his passions and interests. He has, to date, taken 2 and 1/2 years of piano lessons-not all with the same teacher. His musical inclinations also include a strong interest in learning to play Steel Drums. And as he speaks, he shows how he would enjoy the drums with both hands moving rhythmically in midair. However, since drums are expensive, and he is still mastering the piano, they are on a list of possible future options. He says his favorite piece of piano music is The Wild Rider because it is fast and energetic. Personally, I think he really likes to challenge himself with difficult to play pieces and a plethora of other topics of creative interest.
Responding to further questions concerning where one gets musical creativity, especially the inspiration to compose a sonata, and then how to title it, Kavi simply said, “It just came into my head”. So, I asked, Where do you think musical creativity comes from? Kavi wasn’t sure so Jyoti chimed in, “from God”, she stated sweetly, clearly, and with conviction. She also pointed out that Kavi, like his Dad, sits in meditation nearly every day. Hmmm…that would seem to indicate an intention to connect with God. I am now more acutely aware that I am talking with very interesting children- uh, make that one child and a teenager, who must have phenomenal parents.
By this time in the interview process, I am quite curious about parental philosophy and parenting strategies, so I returned my attention to Elise. She and her husband, Anthony, are deeply spiritually inclined as well as practical minded. This is evidenced by the way they successfully run their own business. Perhaps another influence comes from being ordained Peace Ministers in The Beloved Community. They reportedly made the decision as parents early on to support the interests of their children and to let them“just be kids”. Additionally, they chose to home school both children, which may enhance the high level of educational curiosity I have observed on many occasions. Both brother and sister have computer savvy and seem to have developed extraordinarily well-rounded activities and interests for their respective young ages. Jyoti worked for 3 years cleaning stables and grooming horses in order to buy her own horse, which now helps with the mowing of their big backyard.
Turning attention back to Kavi’s interests (as if there were any other way, since he is a blatant extrovert who enjoys performing center stage and is seemingly in perpetual motion), one can almost visibly see creativity simmering in his thoughts. He revealed that he decided to hurriedly add an ending to the short sonata displayed below so he could show it to me in person. He then affirmed that he plans to rewrite the ending later, as inspiration strikes again. As for the title, his fluttering fingers gestured the notes that, to him, sounded like tinkling falling snow-thus it became Winter Sonata. Then I got an unexpected and delightful treat. Not having a piano handy, he just began using a lilting voice, as he expressed the sonata rhythm for a few fleeting seconds. How sweet it sounds!
Upon continuing, I couldn’t help but notice that Kavi was wearing a Leonardo Da Vinci t-shirt. The letters LEONARDO are barely visible as they peek over the top of the sonata page. Naturally then, I began to wonder if a bit of genius lurks inside this never-still young human. My musings inspired me to inquire about other current interests and activities. Nearly unbelievably, Kavi declared himself an inventor. Mom says he invents a wide variety of things including the robot pictured below, in progress and complete. He proudly shared that he keeps a notebook of ideas and envisions in the near future making a floating hover bike and an LED light display. The lengthy list of things that tweak his interests also includes cooking from scratch. Especially he enjoys making berry pies, crust and all. I asked what he enjoys most about cooking. Without hesitation, these words tumbled out, “because I like to eat!” Unlike most American 9-year olds, he fluently speaks Chinese which he easily learned in communicating with Mom (raised in Taiwan) and Sis. And recently, he won his first ever chess tournament with kids both younger and older than he. The marvels continue!
Before we conclude, it would seem remiss not to add a comment about his crystal collection which currently includes 33 unique pieces. And an added current interest in photography. Most of his pictures are taken on his mom’s cell phone. Is there no end to passions and interests?!
Now seems an appropriate stopping point, though Kavi’s interest list remains incomplete. After an hour of intense questioning, I sit in amazement at this boy wonder. Now I have great curiosity about how many other children from what is currently being called Generation Z may fit a similar profile. Some common traits collected from online resources and subject to change with more study include qualities such as Helpful, Loyal, Thoughtful, Compassionate, Open Minded, Responsible, Determined, Better Educated and More Well Rounded. When asked to rate Kavi in each attribute both Mom and Sis agreed that he already displays most of them. Kavi additionally describes himself as “sensitive”. I certainly agree. I now challenge each reader to begin noticing how you might categorize this era of young humans born from the mid 1990s and into the 2000s. For sure, I can see that they represent an upgrade in our evolutionary scale.
– Wanda Gail Campbell
Wanda has served thirty plus years as a healthcare professional. Currently, she serves as a Minister of Peace ordained by The Beloved Community. In July, 2007 she completed her PhD in Philosophy focused on Intercultural Peacemaking. For her own spiritual nourishment, she enjoys reading both contemporary and ancient spiritual writings.
For basic Gen Z info see Wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_Z