October 2014 saw Professor Adam Ockelford give a thought-provoking lecture to the SMTT about autism and music. He discussed how people with autism may process music and language differently to the wider population, and provided practical examples drawing on his work with children and adults with autism.
Adam has had a lifelong fascination for music, as a composer, performer, teacher and researcher. While attending the Royal Academy of Music in London, Adam started working with children with special needs – a number of whom, he noticed, had special musical abilities too – and he became interested in how we all intuitively make sense of music, without the need for formal education. He has pursued this interest through his academic career. Recent publications include ‘In the Key of Genius: The Extraordinary Life of Derek Paravicini’ and ‘Music, Language and Autism: Exceptional Strategies for Exceptional Minds’.