We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"In the Key of Genius"

I just finished reading, "In the Key of Genius" written by Adam Ockelford. It is the amazing true story about a musical genius who happens to be blind and  an autistic savant.. Derek Paravicini was born prematurely (at 25 weeks) and had to be kept alive for three whole months in an incubator. He technically "died" three times before he was strong enough to go home. He was given oxygen therapy during his time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit which affected his developing brain, resulting in his severe learning disability. It helped save his life, but would later cause him to go permanantly blind before he was a year old. At the very young age of 3, he was diagnosed with autism as well, but Derek also had a talent like no other. As a young child, he taught himself to play the piano, he is a musical prodigy with "perfect pitch." He can memorize and play back ANY song which he hears only once. Not only that, but he also has the ability to compose very complex arrangements which he actually writes himself.

Enter Adam Ockelford. Adam Ockelford is Professor of Music at Roehamton University; Secretary of the Society for Education, Music & Psychology Research; Chair of 'Soundabout', an Oxford-based charity that supports children with complex needs; and the founder of AMBER Trust which provides bursaries for blind and partially blind children to have music lessons. Adam took Derek under his wing when he was only 2 years old and has been his teacher and his friend for over twenty years. Adam is perhaps the only person Derek is even remotely bonded to emotionally. With Adam's guidance, he gave his first concert at the age of 7.

Derek is also the nephew of Camilla Parker-Bowles, now the Duchess of Cornwall, and therefore was born into royalty - although all of this is completely lost on Derek as his music is his world and his only way of connecting with others. Unike many people with autism, Derek simply loves people - and they love him.

I first heard about Derek from a news clip on "60 Minutes" about a year ago. His story was so unforgettable that I actually ordered this book from the U.K. which took a month to get in the mail (the book only cost $19.95 in the U.K. whereas it would have cost $75.00 here in the States). No matter, it was well worth the wait!

Derek has been performing live concerts in front of thousands for several years now and even has his own CD titled, "Echoes of the Sounds to Be." In spite of the fact that he almost died after he was born, or perhaps even because of it, God chose to save him and the Goddess chose to bless the rest of us with the gift of Derek's naturally beautiful talent (you should hear this man play). A remarkably inspirational read!

3 comments:

  1. I remember this story, probably from 60 minutes. An amazing, unique and inspiring life. Thanks for the review, Kim.

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  2. I hadn't heard of this young man, so thanks for sharing! I'll be sure to check it out!

    Blessed Be,
    Tereza

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  3. Derek... absolutely amazing!

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