Subtitle: My answer would be magic…
For the past month and a half I have been preoccupied (obsessed) with watching and participating in the Sen. Bernie Sanders campaign for the US Democratic Party nomination.
That man inspired me and made me feel part of him along with wanting to do whatever I could do to help him win the nomination in order to help average souls in the US.
Today I took a break and did what I really enjoy in order to relax and generate emotions and feelings inside of me that make me feel good.
I decided to tune into various YouTube videos which comprise the various music contests internationally. On YouTube I have two favorites, ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ and ‘X Factor UK’. Today I focussed on watching the latest ‘Britain’s Got Talent’.
As I was watching several videos, some with phenomenal acts and others with individual singers, it struck me how important music is to me personally as an autistic person.
As a child and a young adult I had very few friends, so I would either take refuge in the local public library or immerse myself into listening to music that evoked emotions inside me.
Often I would focus on the lyrics of songs and relate to the poetry of the message, but more often the melody and the complexity of a music piece would be the therapy tool that would both give me goose pimples and affect my psyche in a very beneficial way.
I’ve contemplated that history of mine off and on over the years, thinking to myself how music might be one of the most successful tools to break through to those of us autistics that have great difficulty either relating to the non-autistic world or communicating with others how we feel.
When I was young I had a serious verbal communication problem which has been subsequently labeled Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia. It’s a convoluted label because it comprises various deficiencies but with me it could be described as speaking in gibberish, rearranging words in a sentence that made no sense, attempting to spit out that gibberish at warp speed, and in essence preventing most people from understanding what I had to say, how I felt, or most importantly understanding my view of the world.
Over the course of several years, my mother did what she could to find tools to enable me to function in life. One of those tools was singing lessons by a speech therapist at a theatrical school in Los Angeles where I grew up.
What I remember about that era taking those weekly singing lessons was first being able to look at the sheet music and lyrics twice and remembering every word. Secondly when I attempted to sing a song with the accompanying music I was able to get my brain to focus on articulating those words with the exact spot in the music score. There is a pattern to music and when one understands where each word belongs to a set of music notes, it gives the person a system to use to communicate.
Gradually I was able to associate words with the intended emotions of the song, and at least during the actual singing of any song, I was able to be understood by almost anyone.
That gave me great pleasure and a feeling of accomplishment for the few minutes of any song when I sang it that I was not different and finally others could understand me when I tried to communicate although it was not my personal thoughts whirling around in my mind.
Music Therapy is now recognized as one of the many tools to help autistic children come out of their shells and learn to use language among others in society.
But the greatest gift of music for me personally is the tapping into my soul and evoking emotions within me that are absolutely indescribable.
Below is an audition by a young woman that did that for me this evening and if you watch it, I hope you will understand a little about just how important music is no matter whether one is autistic or not.
To be continued…
Video: Kathleen Jenkins ‘Britain’s Got Talent 2016’