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Special needs make a special music school!

Teaching Special Needs Kids

Each week we make lots of music with dozens of babies, toddlers, preschoolers and big kids, from newborns through adults.  To our delight, children with special needs are becoming much more prominant in our community! We enjoy kids who live with autism and blindness, and many various neurologic challenges.  Just today two young teen buddies, both with Downs Syndrome, came together to lessons. They mostly wanted to play Zac Brown. (John was funny trying to sing Chicken Fried!) Additionally, we are enhanced by economically at-risk children with scholarships through Lutheran Family Services. Now a long time friend, Lucas, who lives with Osteogenisis Imperfecta or brittle bone disease, has returned. Many of these  special needs kids are becoming some of our most brilliant musicians, especially as improvisers.

 As most of us know,  making music is a powerful catalyst in human development. This is largely because our entire brain is involved when we are being musical. Listening to music is great too, but it is active music making that fosters such growth.  This growth happens right before our eyes as music teachers and with special needs kids, it can feel like a miracle.  Here is one miracle too wonderful to keep to ourselves!

 First Drum Lesson

Lucas and music.4.life!

Thirty five pound Lucas has battled disease Osteogenesis Imperfecta for the 12 years of his life. Overcoming countless hospitalizations and painful setbacks, he is the perfect example of the OI Foundation’s motto: “an unbreakable spirit.” His personality is unlike anyone I’ve ever known with patience and commitment to a task well beyond his years. Lucas has a subtle humor that I love and an emotional intelligence  that draws others to him.

Lucas’ mom Paula brought him to us for Kindermusik at only a few months of age and parents in class were in awe of Lucas. The empathy in the group was palpable and  I think everyone felt more in touch with their own fragile humanity just being near his tiny stature.  The process of him learning to speak was complex, with so much delicate bone structure supporting the tiny muscles in and around his mouth. Now he speaks with perfect articulation and the wisdom of a sage! There was a special joy for me in introducing tiny Lucas to my own young kids. I knew this was a rare opportunity that would reveal compassion and wonder in them!
Fast forward 12 years, we are so thrilled that Lucas is taking up DRUMS with us! Without a doubt, his conviction and strength is unusual. John has found a friend at Ludwig drums that is planning to help customize a drum set that will fit him perfectly. I can’t wait to see his skills and stamina develop. Since Mom reports she’s heard him on his practice pad at 3:15 in the morning, I can guarantee he will be flying like the wind!

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