[Smt-talk] Opportunities for autistic musician?

A.Ockelford at roehampton.ac.uk A.Ockelford at roehampton.ac.uk
Sun Jan 10 00:58:24 PST 2010

Hi there

The boy in question on CBS is Rex Lewis-Clack - a musical 'savant' (ie, someone who has exceptional abilities in the context of disabilities). His mother has written a book about him (simply called 'Rex'). I teach the savant pianist here in the UK who also appeared in the programme - Derek Paravicini - another 60 Minutes segment is about to appear on him. His biography is also available, entitled 'In the Key of Genius'), and his website is www.derekparavicini.net

The issue with Rex and Derek is that, in addition to being autistic, they both have learning disabilities - severe learning disabilities in Derek's case - and in many respects they function quite differently from people with Asperger's. Very interesting musically, nonetheless - and a challenge for teachers!

Adam Ockelford PhD ARAM
Professor of Music
Rm 110 Queens Building
Southlands College
Roehampton University
Roehampton Lane
London SW15 5SL

07818-456 472

a.ockelford at roehampton.ac.uk

From: smt-talk-bounces at societymusictheory.org [smt-talk-bounces at societymusictheory.org] On Behalf Of Fieldman, Hali [FieldmanH at umkc.edu]
Sent: Friday, January 08, 2010 8:24 PM
To: djwolf at snafu.de; smt-talk at societymusictheory.org
Subject: Re: [Smt-talk] Opportunities for autistic musician?

CBS's news program 60 Minutes has also followed an autistic child (he is now a young man, I believe) over quite a few years; if I recall, he may also be blind.  He is incredibly gifted on the piano, however.  Whether or not there are useful parallels between him and the student Karen asked about is something probably only she and any informed helpers can decide.

Hali Fieldman, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Music Theory
Conservatory of Music and Dance
University of Missouri -- Kansas City

-----Original Message-----
From: smt-talk-bounces at societymusictheory.org on behalf of Daniel Wolf
Sent: Fri 08-Jan-10 12:37 PM
To: smt-talk at societymusictheory.org
Subject: Re: [Smt-talk] Opportunities for autistic musician?

Marco Melanson, a self-taught composer from New Brunswick, with an autism
spectrum disorder, has his own web page here:


The midi files may require some patience to listen to, but they do show,
chronologically, a gradual deepening of Mr Melanson's musical range with
his steady assimilation of more repertoire.  While the initial efforts are
largely borrowed in bits and pieces from the music he heard (mostly
Viennese classical music, Quebecois girl-singer pop, and later, Boy
Bands), with very rudimentary technique and only modest development, I
believe that one can hear a gradual emergence of a distinct compositional
voice.  I am certain that Mr Melanson, who is rather isolated in New
Brunswick, would enjoy corresponding with anyone interested in his work or
the topic of this thread.

Daniel Wolf

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