Clarinetist with Autism

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  • #36525
    nafmeadmin
    Keymaster

    I have an 8th Grade Clarinet player with Autism/Asperger’s. He is very enthusiastic about band and maintains a positive attitude, and he even chose to participate in marching band this past year. As far as the marching went, he was mostly sucessful; While there were times that he might be out of step, miss a horn pop, or would be out of the form, it was never very noticeable. Unfortunately, errors are magnified in Concert Band because he has great difficulty taking what he reads on the page and processing it to the correct notes and rhythms on his clarinet. He is able to identify notes on the staff, and even show me most of his fingerings when told a note name, but as soon as the music is happening he is rarely accurate, if ever. Compared to my other students, his rhythm reading is poor and he has trouble keeping a steady beat. So most of the time, there is this random noodling happening while the rest of the band is playing, which gets especially noticeable at cadences or in quieter passages. My fear is that it will only become more noticeable as he moves to HS and that he might soon notice it himself without knowing how to fix it. In an effort to help the student improve as a player and feel sucessful, I’ve kept in touch with his parents and Special Ed teachers, but they haven’t been much help in this particluar area. I’ve tried to develop an expectation with him to write in ALL note names for his concert music, and he was able to complete this task with some time. The thing that baffles me most is that he LOVES to read books, and has good comprehension and retention. He gets good grades as well. Does anyone have experience with a similar situation, and what things, if any, helped to bring about success for your student?? What other advice can anyone give me?

    #36662
    nafmeadmin
    Keymaster

    Autism kids are usually smarter and brighter than others, you need to find a connection point between the two of you, you seem to be dealing with him in a great way and he seems to connect with you.

    Have you tried playing the part with him? if you can get any private time lesson with him or let someone from the HS band so that…hearing the music with constant encouraging will help him to get more things right.

    Good luck

    #36765
    nafmeadmin
    Keymaster

    Hello Dan, my name is Jesse and I am with Hyson Music. I wanted to follow-up with you to see if you have had any progress with your student. As we all know, autism can be incredibly tricky & difficult to grasp. The advice above is very good and I was hoping your student has taken some steps in the right direction!

    Having said that, I work with and am constantly surrounded by other educators with varying levels of experience. Are you still looking for tips and/or advice? If so, I would be more than happy to get the word out and hopefully come up with some other options. Regardless, I wish you the best of luck with your student and your efforts are admirable 🙂

    PS – Just let me know and I would be happy to see if I can help out!

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