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In the Key of Genius: The Extraordinary Life of Derek Paravicini Hardcover – 3 May 2007
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"A moving account of an incredibly gifted pianist" (Mail on Sunday)
"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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Autistic and unable to care for himself, Derek Paravicini is also a musical genius. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
This book is a description of just how that was done for Derek Paravicini - a sensitive and awe-inspiring account which doesn't gloss over the difficulties, but ends on a truly uplifting note.
Despite his unfortunate start in life, Derek was lucky in some respects - that his family, wanting the best for him, called on his devoted nanny who came out of retirement to look after the disabled child she called her "blessing", and that a little later Fate should decree that he cross paths with Adam Ockelford, the professor of music specialised in working with blind children, who wrote this book. I don't think there could have been a better person to be Derek's mentor - with the musical knowledge to understand his talent, yet with the patience and experience to deal with his disability. Derek's verbal communication is limited, but Prof. Ockelford can "talk" to him through music, one of the most remarkable instances in the book being when he gently cajoles Derek out of a teenage tantrum, purely through communicating with him on the piano. Astounding!
You can actually hear Derek play by looking him up on "You Tube" , and see him in some everyday situations, which as Prof. Ockelford mentions in the book, demonstrate some of his difficulties without demeaning him. The severely disabled child now appears to be a charming (and rather handsome!) young man, with quite a personality and even a sense of humour - although I'm not sure if the latter was intentional! His prodigious but sometimes eccentric ability has been carefully channelled into a form which is fulfilling for both him and us and is a credit to all those who have devoted their lives to helping him.
The only reason for giving 4 stars instead of 5 was that at times I found the almost self-righteousness of the author rather irritating; at times I felt the book was written, not only to describe the amazing life of Derek, but also to proclaim his own virtues as a teacher. Indeed, Adam Ockelford certainly is a wonderful teacher and mentor, but I should have been happier had he not seen fit to decry other teachers who, like all of us, were no doubt doing their best at the time.
This aside, the book is certainly a fascinating read. I have recommended it to many people.
In some ways, I would have welcomed more detail on Detek's family life, school life and non musical time so as to give an idea of him when he wasn't playing the piano or with Adam.
There are some beautiful passages and the author is honest about his dilemmas.
In the end, the book was supposed to be about Derek's musical development so I guess maybe Adam felt the family side was too intrusive, but it did nag me throughout wondering where his parents were and how much decisions were made by them, how much they understood him or participated. As it stands, it looks a bit like Derek was exclusively in the care of Adam and Nanny with occasional visits from mum at concerts and almost no relationships with siblings after moving to Linden Lodge.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A remarkable book by a remarkable teacher, Adam Ockleford,who not only releases the extrordinay ability of Derek Paravicini but was also able to pas shim on to anoter gifted... Read morePublished 9 months ago by John Baz
A fantastic book, full of wit and charm that delivers a touching story about a truly remarkable boy and his, perhaps, even more remarkable teacher.Published 15 months ago by H. Wilson
Beautifully written, in particular the description of the connection, communication and empathy experienced through music at the most wretched time in Derek's life. Read morePublished 18 months ago by antigone
A truly humbling experience that will touch your soul and change your outlook forever
Absulutely riveting experience
The incredible story of Derek Paravacini, and Adam Ockelford who recognised the talent in the tortured child and helped him overcome his problems. It is a wonderful story. Read morePublished on 13 May 2015 by Margaret
A fascinating portrayal of dedication and that wonderful genius unfolding.Published on 14 Sept. 2014 by Mrs Alexandra M Daffarn
this is a lovely account of a young gifted boy growing into a world famous man and not changing the way he is. Read morePublished on 12 Feb. 2014 by donna