How many savants have you come across who can really play the piano? Current records state that there aren’t more than 50 such savants alive as of today. Interestingly, the amount decreases when we bring sudden geniuses into the account. There are currently less than a dozen accidental savants.
For the uninformed, an accidental savant is the result of blunt trauma to the head. Although there are occasions when the head trauma can lead to something fatal, sometimes they wake up and find themselves being prodigy. We know- the price for such talent is quite high. But one must also realize that no one does it intentionally. There is always an element of shock involved.
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Accidental Mozart- The Man Who Became A Piano Prodigy
This is the story of one Derek Amato, who found himself to be a piano prodigy after experiencing an accident. The man had gone through a major concussion in 2006. News reports state that this was the result of him diving into the shallow end of a pool. Initially, the blunt force trauma was excruciatingly painful to this man. Amato explained that the first-week post the accident was quite surreal.
When he woke up, he suddenly realized that he had been asleep for five days. Also, his hands had become fidgety suddenly. His vision was swimming in and out, and he couldn’t understand the squares that he kept seeing.
Soon, the piano prodigy realized that the squares that were floating in his vision had turned permanent. This is the result of synesthesia. For the uninitiated, this is a condition where the production of a sense impression relating to one sense becomes another part of the body.
To put it simply, Amato was capable of seeing sound now. Remember, he wasn’t seeing sound waves, he was seeing sound notes. And interestingly, this wasn’t the end of his ‘gifts’. He also realized that he had been gifted with the ability to play the piano. Only, he wasn’t an amateur- he played like a prodigy.
This ‘Piano Man’ Sees Notes Quite Differently Than Others
Explaining this to someone who doesn’t see sound the same way can be difficult. Yet, the piano prodigy tried explaining it to the best of his abilities. He stated that this could be equated to being filled with millions of notes. For 24 hours a day, he was submerged in little musical marks. And the black and white squares that he sees, allow him to dictate it with his fingers. His fingers, allegedly, start playing whatever he is capable of seeing. Here is a short interview where he explains it himself:
Before Derek Amato had his accident, he wasn’t a musician by any stretch of the word. He had no musical training and no innate ability. He wasn’t a savant- to put it straight. But now, he played the piano with the proficiency of someone who has been doing this all their life. Say what you will, such a development can never be normal.
Interestingly, his proficiency in seeing musical notes doesn’t always translate to him being the next Mozart. Due to him not being a musician, he can only capture just a small percentage of what he keeps composing with his fingers. Also, his dexterity isn’t at a level with those who have been playing the piano all their life. While he may be adept at reading and composing music, the practical part of it can still be a problem for this accidental maestro.