March 12, 2016



One of my colleagues, C.J. Shiloh, is openly discussing something music therapists everywhere have all known for a while now: some concert venues are inaccessible to those who are unable to sit still and be quiet.

Sure, those of us who have purchased tickets to hear great musicians take the stage and perform their art want to be completely enveloped in the performance. We may not want to be distracted by other noises or people moving about the concert hall or venue. We have the right to enjoy the performance, free of any possible distractions.

But what about the rights of people with autism? Don’t they, too, have the right to enjoy the performance even if they are unable to be quiet or sit still for long periods of time?

“…It can cost a lot of money to go hear a performance in a jazz club or concert hall. I’ve happily paid over $75 for one ticket in DC to go see John Scofield at Blues Alley, or the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center.

“Experiencing great live music is a gift that is worth that high price for a ticket. As a musician and Board Certified Music Therapist, I can think of certain concerts I’ve been to that have literally changed. My. Life. Forever. I’m not exaggerating.

“But maybe I’m just lucky to have had these experiences, simply because I possess the “social skills” and sensory mechanisms that enable me to sit perfectly still, anywhere from one to three hours. What if I didn’t have this ability to sit very still and very quiet? I wouldn’t have those experiences that have shaped me to be the musician I am today.

“Here is where we find a problem. Typical public concert venues are inaccessible to those who are unable to sit still and be quiet. Experiencing live music in the fine arts is totally elusive to the growing number of people in our society on the autism spectrum. This is not okay.”

Read the rest here. 

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