Thursday, February 25, 2010

Good News on holiday at home with the autistic musicians

It is a holiday period in France, but the school stays open to help harassed parents and carers.

My students are aged between 18 and 22 and some of them have gone home. Those who are still here work to a more relaxed timetable. They get up and breakfast when they fancy it. I wandered to the kitchen to get a cup of tea and see who was around. Noone…

I went to the music room and set up my instruments.

Imagine my delight when the red headed boy stepped right out of a taxi into my music room. He was back to his old self; at last they have got his medication right! He had just returned from hospital.

We sang the good morning song, made up his story and he shouted RAP joyfully at regular intervals while we sang the RAP blues, the RAP folksong and RAP pop. He was with the boy who is eager to please, who is non verbal and relatively passive, but sensitive to music, often filtering the volume with his fingers in his ears. There was an outbreak of dancing and then we had to stop for the next group.

Group two were perhaps infected by my enthusiasm at seeing the return of the prodigal red head. The story I made up to sing for the girl who leaks music had me walking in St Brieuc market with her and her singing, and the director of the theatre coming out to ask her to sing in the opera there. It was necessary during this song for me to demonstrate operatic trills and runs. She laughed and trilled like a canary. I turned to the boy who just says oui. He does not usually have any speech, but is capable of squeaking oui sometimes. I said that the opera also needed a tenor and lowered my voice to make a series of ahs in a fog horny sort of voice in lower range. I can’t tell you how surprised I was when he sang the ahs back to me. The boy who makes a noise like a chainsaw did just that. We know how to have fun, and we do.

Happy holiday to everyone.

12 comments:

Dingo said...

Yay! Red headed boy returns!

Everything in this post makes me smile.

Rosie said...

good news is rare dingo so I feel obliged to pass on the happiness!

Lia said...

That's great to hear that the red haired boy is back.

Yay, for singing and dancing and passing on happiness.

Much love
Lia
xx

20th Century Woman said...

Happy happy story. And I also love the sounds and looks of your musical garden. I wish Jerry wanted to do stuff like that.

Zhoen said...

Singing helps everything.

Rosie said...

lia happiness should always be shared
20 c w it gets a little Wagnerian when the wind gets up too much...
Z I have just read the article which is fascinating. English is a very melodic language, I can see how it might work as a reinforcer. I am not sure whether the same results could be attained in French which is so monotonal. I shall ask the director if he knows of any studies done with francophones

amy said...

Happy to read of fun, relaxed times with your gang.
Interesting w/singing in French - so much relies on the rhythm of the consonants. It seems to be the vowel sounds on notes and harmonies that help open up and release emotions while singing. That's how it feels to me anyway - never been able to figure out how or why...

Rosie said...

Amy you are right. You have to sing on a vowel sound. Consonants are simply punctuation to the emotional juice of a vowel. There is a theory that autistic people have trouble deciphering words because they dont hear the spaces between...like continuous streaming. When I sing to them in French I am pretty sure even the non verbal ones can follow the meaning. Reason? They laugh when I sing somlething funny!

Mouse said...

ah, the benefits of music therapy have been much-discussed on the BBC recently, it makes such sense to one who listens to Mozart as she works...

How lovely that you spend your time helping these kids

Rosie said...

thanks mouse I shall go see if I can find it on the i player.
Quite entertaining that Zhoen should point out a useful link on the Daily Telegraph. Serves me "right" for being prejudiced about right wing newspapers and not expecting to find anything useful there..it took an american to enlighten me!

Dan said...

Wow and I thought this was going to be a bitch about Britney, but then thought hang...

Lucy said...

Gosh it's a long time since I was here! You didn't tell me the RHB was back...