Monday, April 27, 2009

Music Helps Tame Autistic Symptoms in Teen

In his early years, teen jazz phenomenon Matt Savage was tormented by the avalanche of everyday sounds —- the swish of a windshield wiper, the hum of a refrigerator, the plunk of a piano key.
“He would scream, throw a tantrum and kick,” said his dad, Larry Savage of New Hampshire. “He was inconsolable.”
Even the silly songs of childhood sent him into a tizzy.
Matt, who will perform in his Atlanta debut at a benefit Saturday, was diagnosed with autism at age 2. But with therapies, the boy who couldn’t bear the sound of music began to compose music. When Matt switched to jazz piano, he was soon hailed by some as being a genius, an autistic savant. Now, at 16, he already has written 100 songs, recorded eight albums, performed at the Kennedy Center, jammed with jazz legends and shared the stage with Grammy-winning diva Chaka Khan.

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