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M is for Musical Minds

Musical Minds

Math Abilities – Some individuals on the spectrum can be ‘savants’ who exhibit extraordinary abilities in areas such as math. Often times this is manifested by and ability to memorize figures or calculate numbers at amazing speeds.

Musical Abilities – Some individuals on the spectrum can show exceptional gifts in the musical arena. ‘Musical  savants’ often exhibit perfect pitch or the ability to memorize and play back a piece after only one hearing.
Music Therapy -  Music Therapy can be of help to some people who are on the autistic spectrum. Music can be so healing. For people on the spectrum, it can help with socializing, emotions, communication, motor skills, and sensory integration.

Mercer Island Music

Music Therapy can help some who are on the autistic spectrum, music can be so healing: As owner/ teacher of Musical Mind Piano Studio and Director of MI Music Technology camps on Mercer Island, I have worked with children and adults for over 30 years teaching piano, composition, improvisation and music therapy.  I have worked with children and adults with ADD, bi-polar disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, Down syndrome, and many children in the Autism Spectrum, from profoundly autistic and non-verbal, to high functioning Asperger’s Syndrome.  On addition, I have worked with blind and partially deaf children…

… In addition to my Steinway piano, I have found I have been teaching on and developing more programs for my YAMAHA Clavinova, digital piano over the past 10 years.  As a result of my research and development, unfounded MI Music Technology Camps in 2005, which are currently held in the summer at Island Park Elementary School.  We have found that children of all learning abilities are able to benefit from time and instruction using the digital piano.

As we found in our camps, children with Autism, Downs syndrome, and Tourette’s syndrome were successfully able to attend and integrate into our camps… As they spend time creating music while wearing headphones, they could create a private space and hear quality instruments and songs of all styles on the Clavinova.  As there are two headphone jacks and a microphone jack, the teacher could also wear headphones and enter their private space and assist with creating music, record the child’s music, and add more layers and sounds to create a piece that met the child’s musical personality.  This piano has a guided light feature that allows the music to wait for the child to find the correct note and play along with the recorded music.  The simplest song can sound powerful as the child is playing with an orchestra, or rock band.  I have consistently noted that all campers were able to spend 20-30 minutes focused on making music. This is a big achievement, especially for ADD and Autistic children. To increase the ability to sit and be engaged in a task for longer periods of time is always a goal of professionals working with children with ADD and autism. ( for examples, listen to any of our Camp CDs).

Sincerely, Connie Wible.

“M” is also for Math Phobia.  Many people on the spectrum have difficulty with math, or specifically, certain fields in math.  In a recent speech on the well-known “TED” talks, Temple Grandin speaks of how she never learned algebra, and was therefore not allowed to move on to geometry and trigonometry, which was extremely unfortunate for her.