When I first started blogging here, I always wrote in the third person, because my vision for this web address is for it to be run by autistic self advocates themselves. So I feel I should preface now, for the record – this is CJ, and it will continue to be me blogging, until you read otherwise. Just one of many goals for Musical Autist Academy though, is that my students will grow into these roles of blogging, posting, website running etc.
I am so continually blown away at what has developed in the past year, for the The Musical Autist, which I lovingly refer to as “my brain child.” Doors opening every direction I turn. Clear paths, clear ideas. Right places at right times. I acknowledge and thank God for all this.
Like for example: (1) successfully continuing to pilot foundational concepts and constructs for “Sensory-Friendly Concerts”, over the past eight months… Gaining a Board of Directors (one of whom, has turned into my husband-to-be :^) …. working towards non-profit status…. Autism Society donating us 10 sets of noise-reduction headphones….
(2) being given a website by Aaron Hartland, (thank you Aaron a million times over, you rock!!) where musically autistic people can go to be inspired, and consider the meaning of self-advocacy…
(3) nearing the end of all coursework needed to get my MT-BC (Music Therapist-Board Certified)… being given the grace to commute 2.5 hrs each way, to the closest school where I can get this postgraduate education…
(4) being given the space at my home church (an office, a big room where my kids can bounce around, a nice piano, room for all my bazillion instruments…) for Musical Autist Academy, for my students to learn and grow….
(5) Giving the kids on the spectrum, in my local community, every opportunity to hear good, live music, (in an atmosphere they can tolerate and which gives them respect) from so many fantastic local jazz and classical musicians, and to experience the satisfaction of performing on stage for themselves… getting a grant from Rob Levit and his “brain child”, Creating Communities for the past four concerts….
All of these goals and pure gifts constantly interweave and compliment each other.
I am so thrilled about the Sensory-Friendly Holiday Concert last night! Eytan Nisinzweig is such a talented gentleman, and his family is an awesome inspiration to anyone who wants to see autistic people thrive in a neurotypical world, utilizing every gift they’ve been given.
The only reason I started this blog and SF Concerts in the first place, is because I searched and searched for things like it, for my students. For their musical brains to be fed! The only thing I could find is Music for Autism, and they are really great, (I’ve met their past president and several people on their Board) but they are also a really a big national production, and they only do concerts in a few major cities. I have a huge vision to see concerts like this just grow like grassroots. I’ve got very strong beliefs and values in local community (but more blogs on “thrivin’ it local” later).
The past 8 months of Sensory-Friendly Concerts have been rewarding, overwhelming, exhilarating, super-challenging, super-emotional (seeing my autistic students receiving applause for the first time in their lives, from 50+ people, trust me it’s a tear-jerker), motivating, inspiring….I could go on….
I already have so many ideas for next year’s Sensory-Friendly Concerts. We’re going to start again in March, by the way. Until then, I’m really looking forward to blogging about what I’ve learned in the past eight months. If you are a music therapist, or a person affected by autism, I would love your feedback.