A composer and music teacher who has long worked with children with special needs, Adam Ockelford is interested in the psychology of music.

Why you should listen

In the 1970s, Adam Ockelford began teaching music at the Linden Lodge School for the Blind in London. He was excited to find that many of his students showed tremendous talent for music. The experience drove a deep interest in how people intuitively understand music, and how this understanding is different for people with disabilities.

Ockelford is now a Professor of Music at the University of Roehampton, the Chair of Soundabout -- a charity which supports music education for children -- and founder of the AMBER Trust, which supports visually impaired children in their pursuit of music. He is also Secretary of the Society for Education, Music and Psychology Research (SEMPRE).

Ockelford has one student who he has taught since the 1980s—pianist Derek Paravicini, who gave his first concert at age 7. Now in his 30s, Paravicini stll regularly thrills audiences with his piano talents, with his mentor Ockelford at his side.

Adam Ockelford’s TED talks

Adam Ockelford on the TED Blog

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Further reading (and watching) on autism

August 9, 2013

Derek Paravicini is many things: an incredible piano player, a blind man, an excited talker, a musical savant, and a 30-something with severe autism. In today’s TED Talk, we get a fascinating peek into how he understands music. Paravicini — who was playing major concert halls at the age of 10 — not only has […]

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