The Musical Genius (Autism Documentary) | Real Stories

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The Musical Genius (Autism Documentary) | Real Stories 5
There is a young blind man who can play the piano like Mozart but cannot count to five or do up his own shoelaces. Can anyone explain the mystery of savant musician Derek Paraviccini?

Derek, aged 25 at the time of this documentary, is autistic and totally blind with an IQ of a 4 year old, he sucks his thumb and lives in a home for the blind. But when he sits at a piano he is transformed into a musician that few could equal. His memory contains many thousands of tunes which he can play faultlessly and in any key, a skill which defies even the finest professional musicians. Nothing is beyond Derek's musical range. Chopin, Beethoven, Bach, obscure Russian composers, modern Jazz, Pop and the Blues --- they all seem to come naturally to Derek. Uncannily he can play something as he hears it for the very first time ---with only a split second delay, so it appears he is playing along with a tune he knows well. Derek Paravicini was one of twins born at 25 weeks, in 1979. Back then, there was little that could be done for such early premature babies. The oxygen treatment given to Derek in the incubator unit was life-saving, but there was a major side-effect of the treatment – blindness. Derek’s blindness, called rentrolental fibroplasia, was caused when oxygen pushed on the blood vessels and caused them to grow too quickly and resulted in brain damage. So could Derek’s extraordinary musical talent be the result of brain damage caused during his resuscitation at birth or has he inherited his genius. This film explores his musical ability and that of other savant musicians to try and discover where their musical genius comes from.

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Produced by Focus Productions

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💬 Comments on the video

"I can count numbers Kevin"
"Oh which numbers can you count?"

Author — Ralph


im 55 years old, ive played piano since i was 10 and i cant even begin to play like this amazing young man. his gift is so special.

Author — Tired Old man


"Who are these 91 people who disliked my video Kim?"

Author — dante dt


I know Rex is younger but I think he is pushed more by his mother, where Derek seems to feel more natural and ease with his music playing.

Author — Marsbar1212


19:00 The fact that he doesn't know how to be 'angry' with his music tells a lot about him, and his (positive) upbringing.

Author — comfortouch


Without any doubt this is the most fascinating documentary I have ever seen. I remember when it was first shown on the BBC many years ago. I’m musical and play several instruments and am also very interested in autism. I often wonder if any of the great musical composers from history possessed autistic characteristics. Would be fascinating to get expert opinions from both the musical and medical side.

Author — ☀️ Sunny Days ☀️


He kind of looks like John Mayer’s more talented younger brother. :)

Author — rbol1965x


Derek is a wonder, as is his lovely teacher and mentor.

Author — Madeleine


I met him; he is the kindest and it was over whelming to be so close to a brain as such

Author — Amy Patrick


Absolutely amazing the talent they have I couldn’t stop watching!

Author — John Leggatt


So beautiful and I love how he loves Kim so much

Author — alexlovesyoubabes


I'm struggling to see any benefit to either Derek or Rex in their Vegas performance. I understand the charitable aspect, but still feel uneasy about it all... Obviously, a TV documentary is only a highly edited "snapshot" of events. I taught for 2 years at the school for Visually Impaired in South West London which Derek attended and remember him well. I'm very glad his special talents are bringing happiness to him and others.

Author — Paul Oliver


Derek can arpeggiate like a madman, with speed and emotion, and make it look effortless at the same time.

Author — RIP Mango Juul Pods


this is beautiful. he is truly amazing.

Author — firelordakarie jpg


Holy shit...I'm beyond impressed with Derek's talent! Wow, it's super interesting to think that he's clinically and medically incapacitated/slow and has the IQ of a 4-5 year old child, yet he's been given such an amazing gift. I couldn't imagine having to live my life everyday blind. Not being able to see at all would be heartbreaking. And just to think, that's Derek's normal. He's never known anything other than living his life everyday without his sight. So being blind is completely normal for him. It's awesome to see how happy of a person he is, and the amount of talent that young man has is incredible. Being able to play the piano that flawlessly without being able to see, and being able to play any song in the world after he's heard it at least once on the piano is such a cool thing to be able to do. That man is not "mentally retarded." Explain the musical talent then if he's retarded? He's amazing!

Author — Alyssa Murphy


What Rex lacks in social skills, Kathleen makes up for in lips

Author — TheDavidIsaac


It would be interesting to see how he would handle a large pipe organ

Author — William Jeffrey


27:38 "I can count numbers Adam, really".
"Can you? Which numbers can you count?".
" Yeah, excellent".

He has a great sense of humour aswell.

Author — olo


I absolutely love this video ♡ my sister has autism and she sings so good, of course she doesn't see it herself but everyone thinks she's awesome. there's something different about people with autism not that they learn definitely but many of them are smarter in their own ways.

Author — AngelicKiwi


just fell hopelessly in love with this man. truely amazing

Author — Theresa Coss