Music Education for Those on the Autism Spectrum
Music for All
In 2018, Autism Fun Bay Area launched two pilot programs to provide opportunities for music education to individuals with autism, of all functionalities.
In the Hearts in Harmony String Instrument Program, children and adults with autism learn violin, viola or cello together with their caregivers.
In the Drum Circle, families with and without autism and developmental disabilities come together to play and have fun.
Music has been a sacred way throughout the ages to connect to the self, community and beyond. Autistics often have difficulties accessing music education because of the dirth of music teachers that are trained or willing to accept students with developmental disabilities. AFBA seeks to bridge this gap, especially as there is research that studying music can be good therapy for autistics because it exercises multiple skills at the same time.
Music Lessons Can be Good for the Autistic Child!
The Neuroimaging Laboratory (Italy) performed MRI imaging that showed that integrative activities that incorporate movement, sight, touch, or sound are often more effective than training or therapy directed to one modality at a time.
That is to say, activities where the child can practice working with two or more of the things on this list, is more effective than just working on one of them at a time. So music lessons can be really good for kids with autism because they get to practice ALL of these - movement, sight, touch and sound -- at the same time!
Hearts in Harmony String Instrument Program
In April 2018, AFBA launched a new pilot program to teach children with autism and related disabilities (and their parents) to play the violin, viola or cello. The first session was a great success! The second session is six weeks, and will run from May 7 to June 11, 2018, 6:00 - 7:00pm
The classes are open to any child on the autism spectrum or related disability. All functionalities welcome! Parents learn the instrument along with the child. Teacher-studio ratio is about 2:1.
The classes are taught by Thalea String Quartet. Children and their parents meet once a week for group class, and can also take private lessons. Part of the cost of the classes and instrument rental is subsidized by AFBA to the extent possible.
NEW SESSION STARTS SEPTEMBER 10, 2018
September 10 to October 15 (six week session)
(may reschedule class on Columbus/Indigenous Peoples Day on 10/8)
Mondays from 6:00-7:00pm, May 7 to June 11, 2018
Pomeroy Center, 207 Skyline Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94132
Scholarships may be available
For more information,
contact Stephen Prutsman at email@example.com
MORE ON HEARTS IN HARMONY
WHAT: Inclusion Drum Circle, for families with and without autism and developmental disabilities
DATE: Saturday September 1, 2018
TIME: 1:00pm - 2:00pm
LOCATION: Pomeroy Center, 207 Skyline Boulevard, San Francisco, CA
Drumming has been a means throughout the ages for human beings to connect with each other and the sacred power of music, and to just plain have fun!
The new drum circle hosted by Autism Fun Bay Area and Pomeroy Center is an open community space for children and adults with developmental and other disabilities, as well as neurotypical families, friends, and friends-to-be. No experience necessary -- this is a fun activity accessible to everyone from any level of functionality and skill.
The drum circle will be facilitated by the wonderful Audrey deChadenedes who is a healer and experienced drum circle leader. Different types of drums, shakers, rattles, and other noisemakers will be available, or bring your own special favorites.
RSVP requested, though not required
Instrument Petting Zoo at AFBA Azure Concerts
AFBA works with fantastic musical partners to organize Azure events, sensory-friendly, family oriented concerts tailored to families with autism and related disabilities. Families can sing, dance, relax and have in these all-behaviors allowed events.
At the end of Azure music concerts, after the musical performances, we have an "Instrument Petting Zoo", where kids are allowed to interact with the musicians, touch the instruments, and sometimes even do a music jam! Families have reported this to be a joyous and enriching experience.
Many children on the autism spectrum are socially isolated because of sensory and behavioral challenges, but for some, they discover they are able to focus and connect to others through music.
I went to two concerts in Stanford's Music Hall. The first had string quartets. It had breaks where we could go on stage and play. I loved playing the drums. The second had jazz. It was fun. I danced to it. There were a lot of children with autism of all ages.
~ M, age 10, San Francisco Bay Area
I attended one of your concerts for the first time last week on Nov 16th with my 8.5 yr old non-verbal autistic son and his neurotypical almost 6 year old sister. I was nervous about it as even though I know that listening to recorded music -especially Mozart ;-) often calms him down when he is hyper, sad or frustrated, he has never been to a live concert and several attempts at taking him to regular children's shows have been difficult. At the concert last week he only got up 2-3 times and was pretty calm and quiet, I didn't need to take out food or iPads to keep him preoccupied- overall a big success - his little sister also fell in love with the viola at the concert!
~ Yael Naveh