“Emmanuela reported feeling more confident about being part of the school band. She showed pride when she received her report card with a “B” in music. Emmanuela for the first time in her life felt part of a group. She complained about other situation when she was not accepted, even during lunch break when students still move when she comes to their table. Emmanuela feels like she belongs to the band, and even brags about being much better than other band members.”
“Teaching children and adolescents with ASD to play an instrument is a matter of inclusion more than performance. The ability to recognize emotion in music is preserved in their brain, and it would not be an issue.” – Grace Y. Kolman
On November 16, My wife, Grace, and I presented our findings regarding Autism and Music. This concluded a four month investigation of the effect if any clarinet lessons would have on my daughter Emmanuela, who has been diagnosed with highly functional autism, and me as her father, conductor and clarinet instructor. I kept a journal of each lesson and Emmanuel also kept a journal.
My wife presented a case for music and its regenerative powers of certain portions of the brain. “Mano” explained how difficult it was to play the clarinet but expressed her happiness of finally being accepted into a group, her school Band with a grade of a “B!” She is very proud of her accomplishments as we are.
It was difficult to hold back the tears when we talked further about Mano’s many challenges in middle school, socially (she is often a target of bullying) and scholastically with English intense subjects like history.
As a grand finale, Mano and I performed two duets from her Band book. Mano performed very well and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. This was a special experience for me as a parent and my ties with my daughter have never been stronger.
It was a family affair of collaborating with Grace, a counselor, and myself, a musician. This was Grace’s idea that was first suggested during the summer. It was a great journey that still has not ended.
The presenters explored the significant emotional benefits of teaching music to adolescents with Autism. One particular case was assessed with a live clarinet performance. The instructors and students then reported on how the experience changed their lives.