Tag: music and the arts

Arts for Everyone!

a concert with musicians on stage and families in the audienceWhile some still think of theaters as a place for quiet adults, there are many shows open to everyone! People of all ages, young and old, and children and adults with a wide range of likes and dislikes are welcome at many shows, concerts and performances.

What are “Sensory Friendly” Performances?

Just a quick search on Google for “sensory friendly” leads to over 6.5 million hits! There are sensory performances at movie theaters, big stages in major cities, and small community and college shows. There many ways people with disabilities to enjoy the arts in the community.

What are “Sensory Friendly Concerts®?”

“Sensory Friendly Concerts®” are spreading around the country. CJ Shiloh, a Board Certified Music Therapist, and her non-profit “The Musical Autist” are making music concerts available to everyone.  Sensory Friendly Concerts® create a welcoming and accepting space for people who love music and with any type of disability or differences. These concerts are adapted to be friendly for children or adults with sensitive sensory systems. Noise level, lights and seating are comfortable for people with autism spectrum disorders. The artist may be a professional artist, a music therapist, or a musician who wants to share their love for music. Sometimes the performer has a disability. The concert includes the support of a music therapist to share the love of music with everyone in an accepting and inclusive space.

Where do they happen?

While Sensory Friendly Concerts® are an aspect of Community Music Therapy, there are other kinds of shows that are sensory friendly. Check your local listings for organizations that offer these kinds of shows. In Boston, you will find them at

  • Local colleges and universities in Boston
  • Broadway shows coming through town
  • Local movie theaters

How can I get involved?

There are many ways you can get involved.

  • Attend local sensory friendly shows!
  • Let the organizers know that your family wants to be involved in the arts scene!
  • Learn more about the Sensory Friendly Concert series by exploring The Musical Autist.
  • Talk with a Board Certified Music Therapist in your area to make your program more sensory friendly.

Whether enjoying Sensory Friendly Concerts® or going to a sensory friendly showing of a film at the movie theater, children who are sensitive to dark spaces and loud or startling sounds can enjoy the arts with their families. As opportunities like this increase, I look forward to seeing more arts experiences that are welcoming to all children, adults and families.  We need more family friendly open mics, accessible performance venues that welcome everyone and arts performances that invite the audience to participate, rather than be quiet.

To learn more visit The Musical Autist .

Six Great Opportunities for Music and Song

Here are six wonderful music opportunities for people with disabilities in Massachusetts.

Integrated Chorus Programs

1. Special Needs Arts Programs, Inc.(SNAP), Lexington
SNAP offers an array of music and arts programs including the “Sing Along Chorus” and “Sing Along Singers”, two integrated choruses for teens and adults with disabilities. Both choruses meet weekly throughout the year offering social activities and community outreach through performance.

All are welcome to attend SNAP’s Spring Sing-A- Long Concert on Sunday, April 3rd at 3:00 PM at First Parish Church, Lexington.

For additional information about the choruses, contact Marsha Martin, Director at (781) 862-8971 or marshamartin@yahoo.com.

2. Minute Man Arc Chorus, Concord
This adult chorus for people with developmental disabilities is also directed by Marsha Martin with weekly rehearsals from September thru June. Musical performances are presented in June and during the holiday season.

The 2011 June performance will feature the musical, “Peter Pan”.

For information about joining the chorus or volunteer opportunities, contact Darcie Heller, Recreation Director, at (978) 297- 7936 or dheller@minutemanarc.org

3. South Shore Conservatory Community Voices, Duxbury
This twelve week choral opportunity is offered to people with developmental delays, ages 16 years and older. Performances are scheduled in December and June.

Eve Montague, the choral director, can be reached at (781) 934-2831 x20 or e.montague@sscmusic.org.

Read about Eve Montague’s passion for music and directing in a recent article in the Patriot Ledger, Music Therapist Enriches the Lives of Special Needs Teens and Adults.

Music Workshop

4. Community Access to the Arts (CATA), Great Barrington
CATA offers a singing workshop which meets weekly from fall thru spring and is inclusive for all ages. Participants perform in a May program with the other CATA performing artists.

Contact Adrienne Brown, Program Coordinator, at (413) 528-5485 x105 for music workshop availability.

Music Education Programs

5. The Boston Conservatory Autism Project, Chestnut Hill

The Boston Conservatory Autism Project is the first music program in the nation for young musicians, ages 8 – 22 on the Autism Spectrum. The program develops the musical talents of students who may eventually have the skills to apply to a Conservatory or College Music Program at the age of 18. Weekly music lessons are offered in voice, violin, viola, cello, piano, guitar, music theory, and music composition.

To learn more about this exciting program, check out their five minute music program video.

6. Berkshire Hills Music Academy, South Hadley
Berkshire Hills Music Academy is a private, post-secondary school for young adults with musical aptitude who have learning, cognitive or developmental disabilities. The curriculum is designed to promote job readiness as well as to cultivate abilities in the performing arts.

For further information on the Academy call (413) 540-9720 x202

Be sure to share with us any additional music and choral opportunities in Massachusetts that you enjoy.