For Derek Amato, it all began in October, 2006.
Although he had dabbled in music when younger, he never took lessons and went on to have a business career. Although he had always dreamed of being on stage, his musical career only began at the age of 40 following an accident. After jumping into his mother's pool to catch a football, he sustained a concussion when he struck his head on the bottom of the pool.
The concussion affected his hearing but there appeared to be no other cognitive problems as a result. It was only while sitting at a friend's piano that he discovered that he had he could play music by ear. As he would report later, "I just sat down at the piano and, by chance, started playing," he remembered. "Obviously, I could never play piano so it was kind of surprise." Amato discovered that he could play kind of music. He has since left his business job and started a career as a recording artist.
While cases of savant syndrome involving unusual cognitive abilities have been recorded in the neurological literature, they are usually linked to autism spectrum disorders or other developmental disabilities. Examples of acquired savant syndrome developing later in life are considerably rarer. Development of savant-like skills have even been observed in cases of frontotemporal dementia. Derek Amato's case suggests a preexisting musical aptitude that was forcibly stimulated by the concussion, available neurological information remains limited.
As for Derek Amato,his music career is definitely underway. He views his music as "a reminder that gifts can come out of the most of the painful of circumstances".