Adam Ockelford was born in Nottingham in 1959, grew up on the Isle of Wight, and, when he left school, studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London. It was at this time, in the late 1970s, that he first started working with blind children, including those with additional disabilities. He was fascinated by just how musical many of them seemed to be. Trying to understand how these young people could 'hear' and understand music so effectively led him to develop a theory of how music makes sense - not just to them, but to all of us - a theory for which he was awarded a PhD by London University in 1993, and that has since been published in a number of academic journals and books. But Adam believes that theories are of little value unless they're put into practice, and he continues to work with a number of the young people - now adults - whom he first started to teach over twenty years ago, including Derek.
Adam is Director of Rushton School and Children's Home run by the Royal National Institute of the Blind; a Research Fellow at Roehampton University and the Institute of Education, London; Secretary of the Society for Education, Music and Psychology Research; Chair of 'Soundabout', an Oxford-based charity that supports music provision children with complex needs; and founder of The AMBER Trust, which provides bursaries for blind and partially sighted children to have music lessons.