- Hardcover: 279 pages
- Publisher: Hutchinson; 1st ed edition (September 25, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0091796121
- ISBN-13: 978-0091796129
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.1 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 24 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,557,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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In the Key of Genius: The Extraordinary Life of Derek Paravicini Hardcover – International Edition, September 25, 2007
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From the Back Cover
Derek Paravicini is blind, cant tell his right hand from his left and needs round-the-clock care. But he has an extremely rare gift he is a musical prodigy with perfect pitch whose piano-playing has thrilled audiences at venues from Ronnie Scott's to Las Vegas, the Barbican to Buckingham Palace.
Born prematurely, Derek remained in hospital for three months and technically 'died' several times before he was finally strong enough to go home. It was not long before his blindness became apparent and later it became clear that he had severe learning difficulties and autism.
Desperately trying to find something to engage and stimulate baby Derek, his nanny discovered a toy organ and put it down in front of him. Miraculously, Derek taught himself to play. Music proved to be an outlet for expressing himself and communicating with others his way of dealing with a strange and confusing world.
Nobody can really "know'' Paravicini since he is locked in his own world What Ockelford demonstrates is that it is possible to make such an insular world fulfilling, and the contemplation of this can touch the rest of us. That, in itself, is a considerable achievement. Daily Telegraph
Ockelford tells his story well. No one else could have explained Derek in quite the same way.Daily Mail --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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I've seen Adam Ockelford with Derek in a number of these documentaries, and he comes off as a warm and modest teacher, willing to let Derek have the stage. I was pleasantly surprised at what a good writer he is and his story of Derek's struggles and triumphs are direct and very insightful. What is most eye-opening about Derek and Adam's story is how much work it really took to turn Derek into the virtuoso he is today. Much of the teaching that Adam did required improvisation; no one had really faced the difficulties that he faced in instructing Derek. There are several good anecdotes about the lengths that Adam went to in order to change Derek's unwieldy, self-taught technique into a technique that would allow him to express his musical thoughts with the clarity that they needed to be understood. The story of Derek's family and his Nanny are woven into the narrative with lots of finesse and a fine talent for describing the various personalities around Derek as he came to maturity.
The most important point that I came away with was that even though Derek did indeed have unique and prodigious musical abilities, channeling those raw abilities into the formation of a mature artist was a very, very difficult task that required not just Derek and Adam's very hard work, but that of an entire cast of dedicated individuals.
This Child of Adam is amazing. I also ordered his recording. Such a genius.
The other great story here is the role of Derek's teacher. He is a leader and an inspiration on how to develop children--with handicaps or not.