[Smt-talk] Opportunities for autistic musician?

matralab matralab at gmail.com
Thu Jan 7 20:25:57 PST 2010

Hello Karen

your call reminds me of the story of Hikari Oe (*1963), the eldest son of
nobel prize winning Japanese author Kenzaburo Oe.
He is an autistic composer and his father has written extensively about his
musical awakening and education.

While each instance of autism,of course, has its unique constellation of
circumstances, there still might be something to be found in Hikari's story
with music that can help your man's caregivers and educators some insight
into how to approach and nurture his talent.
I believe Hikari's career is tolerably well documented on the internet.

Starting points:


Sandeep Bhagwati
Canada Research Chair in Inter-X Arts
Concordia University Montréal

2010/1/7 Karen De Mol <Kdemol at dordt.edu>

>  Dear SMT readers:
> I would appreciate suggestions to help me guide an autistic student.
> Here's our situation:
> We have among us a young man who could be called a high-functioning
> autistic person.  He graduated from high school last spring, with much
> special education;  he and his parents are interested in some sort of
> college work, and this past semester he was allowed to audit Music Theory I,
> to sing in a choir, and to take piano and voice lessons.  He has a marvelous
> baritone voice, and does well in the choir and in voice lessons.  In music
> theory, he did well through rudiments;  his mind could easily handle factual
> material such as writing scales, identifying intervals, constructing triads,
> etc.  However, he could not handle material that involves judgement calls,
> such as writing two-voice counterpoint or choosing simple chord
> progressions.  Instead, he wrote song arrangements which he was hearing in
> his head;  because he has perfect pitch, he could write them
> accurately.  Some are lovely pieces;  in fact, our choir sang one in its
> Christmas concert.  However, what he hears and writes is how the piece
> stays;  he could not handle making any compositional changes suggested by a
> teacher.
> He is a personable young man.  We would all so like to help him to use his
> musical gifts, and to develop them if possible.  However, we can see that
> continuing music theory in a class setting won't work for him, and certainly
> general education college courses such as history and philosophy are beyond
> him.  An actual college degree won't be an option for him.
> Can any of you suggest music opportunities for such a person, or means of
> learning, which we could suggest to help him use and develop his music in a
> happy and productive adulthood?
> with thanks,
> Karen A. DeMol
> Dordt  College
> _______________________________________________
> Smt-talk mailing list
> Smt-talk at societymusictheory.org
> http://lists.societymusictheory.org/listinfo.cgi/smt-talk-societymusictheory.org
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.societymusictheory.org/pipermail/smt-talk-societymusictheory.org/attachments/20100107/170f40b2/attachment-0003.htm>

More information about the Smt-talk mailing list