Amari, 13, has been taught by Music of Life drum teacher, Luca, for four years. In September, we have funded Luca to accompany Amari to the weekly rehearsals of a local band. Amari’s autism would make it impossible for him to join the group without one-to-one support.
Amari has made a major step this year. Since we joined the local soul band, his musical and social skills have improved greatly. To the point where, when asked at the last minute to play along with the brass and woodwind section in the Christmas concert, he did so outstandingly.
This was a real achievement as Amari doesn’t associate the song title to the song or understand the difference between the different sections of a song. So, if the Musical Director asks him to play from the second verse Amari gets confused and frustrated. At this point my role is key in supporting him. He is also easily distracted.
My main role is to help keep him focused, not to overplay, to follow dynamics and keep time. Sometimes I also do an extra lesson to run through all the songs.
It’s lovely to see that his relationship with the rest of the group has improved too. If someone is off sick, Amari will ask about them. If he is eating a snack will offer some to the other musicians. Amari is gentle and polite and has a good relationship with the MD.
– Luca, Music of Life drum teacher
*Name has been changed to protect identity.