Event date: 12 September, 2019 · Performing Arts Centre

PIE Talk – The Extraordinary Abilities of Derek Paravicini

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For our first PIE at Lunchtime talk of the Autumn term, we were delighted to have a visit from Derek Paravicini and his mentor, Adam Ockelford, whose daughters were students at Putney a few years ago.

Derek has extreme autism and has been blind from birth. Adam taught Derek to play the piano when he was a small child and over many years of nurturing, he developed truly amazing piano skills.

Derek can hear a complicated tune once and play it back with elaborate harmonies and piano figuration.

Here is a 2 minute clip of Derek playing Flight of the Bumblebee in any key.


While he was with us, Derek put together the Putney High School Blues based around 4 randomly chosen notes on the piano.

“Anyone can achieve great things if they practise,” Mr Okelford explained. “And it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practising if you want to be really good at something”.

Derek is not just gifted, he has practised the piano for three hours a day, for over 10 years.

Inspiration to us all!

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