Disclaimer: This is transcribed using AI. Expect (funny) errors.
Mindy Peterson: [00:00:00] I’m Mindy Peterson and this is Enhance Life with Music, where we explore the ways music makes our lives better. My guest today is Dr. Erin Parkes, founder and executive director of Lotus Centre for Special Music Education, a charitable organization committed to providing access to music education for people with exceptionalities. Erin is also an adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa teaching courses and mentoring students in special music education. She presents at conferences and guest lectures internationally and teaching music to students with exceptionalities and other issues in music education. Welcome to Enhance Life with Music, Erin.
Erin Parkes: [00:00:44] Thanks, Mindy. I’m really happy to be here.
Mindy Peterson: [00:00:46] Erin, you founded Lotus Centre for Special Music Education in 2012. Tell us about the Lotus Centre, what it is, what demographic you serve and what inspired you to start it over ten years ago now?
Erin Parkes: [00:01:00] Mhm. So the inspiration was a combination of a number of students with exceptionalities that I’d had over the years. I mean I’ve been teaching for 30 years now and I had had a number of students that were autistic or with Downs syndrome that, you know, that were neurodivergent in different ways. And I really enjoyed working with those students. But it it wasn’t on my radar that adaptive music education or special music education was really a thing. Like I was just, you know, teaching them and doing my best and trying to figure it out as I went. But in 2010, I was going to start working on my PhD, still not really, you know, planning to specialize in adaptive music education. But just as I was starting my PhD, my oldest son was diagnosed with autism. And so, of course, as a parent, you know, researching autism became my whole life. And I really saw as both as I was researching autism, the the affinity for music that a lot of autistic people have and how it how they respond to music. But also as a parent, I was trying to find activities for my son, you know, martial arts or swimming lessons or soccer or, you know, whatever.
Erin Parkes: [00:02:19] And it was just impossible to to find recreational or educational activities that worked for him. And, you know, those those two things and my own experience in teaching with students with Exceptionalities all kind of converged to, you know, lead me to thinking there’s a need for specialized like, like a center, a school that parents can go to with specialized music education where they know that the teachers know what they’re doing with students with Exceptionalities and are passionate about working with these students, and that the parents don’t have to worry about that, but also that there’s real value to in offering music lessons for this population, not music therapy, which is different and very valuable in its own right. But that’s that’s therapy, right? That’s using music to work on non-musical goals, but just to be able to have a recreational or educational activity that is meeting all of their needs. And so that’s where Lotus Centre came from.
Mindy Peterson: [00:03:22] Okay. And just to clarify, your teaching background leading up to your son’s diagnosis, was that music education or was it general education?
Erin Parkes: [00:03:32] Music education? I’m a pianist, so most of my work was was teaching piano, but also teaching kind of group general, you know, early childhood classes.
Mindy Peterson: [00:03:41] Okay. Got it. Tell us about some of the programs that Lotus Centre provides. I know it’s a nonprofit music school in Ontario, Canada. You provide music instruction specifically to students with special needs. Tell us a little bit more about the demographic and what kind of lessons and programs you have.
Erin Parkes: [00:04:00] Yeah, I mean, it’s essentially a music school, right? So we have private lessons in a variety of instruments piano, drums, guitar, ukulele, you know, everything you would expect to see. We have an adaptive choir and all of our students have exceptionalities. We also have an after school program that, you know, the same students come every day after school, during the school year. We also have summer camps. So right now we’re right in the middle of our nine weeks of of summer camp and March break camp and all of that. And we really work with with students of all ages. So we have students as young as two or even, you know, sometimes even younger than two right up through adulthood. And we’re a little bit different than some specialized services that tend to often be geared towards a very specific part of the disability community, like the autistic community or, you know, we really work with a broad. Spectrum of students with exceptionalities. So really, anybody that feels that they would benefit from an adaptive approach to education is welcome to come. So we also we don’t require a diagnosis. Everybody that comes, you know, has exceptionalities. But, you know, a lot of people are pre-diagnosis or haven’t been able to get a diagnosis. And we don’t want that to be a barrier that because they, they, they need adaptive services, but they don’t have a diagnosis yet. They can’t get any services anywhere. So we have a lot of students with fairly high needs, you know, that have severe or profound or multiple disabilities. But we also have fairly high functioning students that might have mild learning disabilities or ADHD, but still need some differentiation in their in their approach to learning. Okay.
Mindy Peterson: [00:05:51] And these lessons and programs, how much of those offerings are available online for listeners who may not be near you geographically?
Erin Parkes: [00:06:01] Well, it’s shifting a little bit now as we emerge from the pandemic. Right? So there was nothing available online before 2020. And then in the couple of years after that, you know, everything was online. Our choir was online. We had online camps. So now we’re trying to find the middle ground that you know, exactly as you say for those that aren’t close to us geographically but don’t have anything close to them geographically, that they can still access the services. But we don’t need everything online. So right now what we’re offering virtually is really just the private music lessons. Okay? So any of the private music lessons in any instrument that we have is offered virtually as well as in person at our schools in Ottawa.
Mindy Peterson: [00:06:45] Got it. One thing that really excited me about Lotus Centre is you also have the Institute for Professional Development, and as a piano teacher, I’m also a piano teacher in terms of my background. So I was kind of fun hearing you say that. But I know with within our music teacher community and the local music teacher groups that I’m a part of, this topic has been something that’s come up many times, like we want some training on how to work more effectively with students who have autism, or students who have Down syndrome or students who have other disabilities or exceptionalities that make them a little bit different to work with than the average student who comes through our studio doors. So I was really thrilled to see that you have this Institute for Professional Development. Tell us about that. When did you launch it? I think that was more recent and also what your impetus was for starting that, what programs you offer, all of that.
Erin Parkes: [00:07:43] Yeah. So it was more recent only because I mean, it was always a real passion of mine. And my doctoral research was actually on how to train studio teachers to work with students with autism.
Mindy Peterson: [00:07:55] I saw that. I saw that. I was like, Oh, this is really interesting. We should like bring you in virtually to speak to one of our music teacher groups, because I know this has been a topic that’s come up many times, and it’s kind of like, who do we have to speak on it? And there’s been a little bit of a floundering of everybody wants this information, but we’re not sure who to bring in to speak to it. So that was definitely something that caught my eye. But I interrupted you. Keep going.
Erin Parkes: [00:08:21] Oh, no, that’s okay. Well, and I’d love to anytime, but I mean, that’s exactly it, right? I mean, we’re all going to have students with different exceptionalities and especially autism. Given the prevalence and their affinity with music. We’re all going to have these students come through our doors, Right? And, you know, most of us as teachers, we want to reach these students and provide a great educational experience for them. And the only thing holding us back sometimes is not knowing how to do it right. And so, you know, I started Lotus Centre in 2012 and just focused for the first number of years on developing the school and the programming and, you know, building the community there, which was a big you know, undertaking. But the importance of professional development and teacher training was always very present for me. And we did do workshops in the community, but we finally launched the Virtual Professional Development Institute in 2020, again, recognizing that, you know, we could reach the community that was in Ottawa. But a lot there are teachers everywhere that don’t have access to this training, and especially those of us who are studio teachers, right? Because often we don’t have any real pedagogical training. We have intense training on our instrument, but may not have ever really done, you know, music education courses or things like that that that school teachers would have done. But even those who go on to be, you know, teachers in school and do general education have often very little special education.
Mindy Peterson: [00:09:53] I’m just going to say that as you were talking, like even those who do have the formal education, background and pedigree. Often. I don’t have much training in this area. Right.
Erin Parkes: [00:10:03] And and there’s so much to learn, right? I mean, I’ve spent, you know, much of my career just learning this and I still learning every day. Right. There’s a lot there. So, you know, for me, too, with with Lotus Centre, I mean, we can only reach so many students within our four walls, right? And so the way to really build this up and build capacity and be able to provide this to more students is to train more teachers that can do it. I mean, for every one teacher we train, it could be dozens and dozens of students that are reached, right? So, yeah, so for.
Mindy Peterson: [00:10:37] Me, that’s, that’s it. Yeah. So reaching students both directly through the lessons, but also indirectly through teaching their teachers.
Erin Parkes: [00:10:48] Well, exactly. Like, I mean, our mission is to provide access to music education for the disability community, right? And there are many different ways of providing that access. There’s us providing lessons, but there are a lot more layers to that. And professional development, I think is a really important piece. Yeah.
Mindy Peterson: [00:11:06] So tell me some more about the professional development opportunities that you provide. I think you have both free options, paid options, you have some certification courses and I believe all of these are available online. Some of them are asynchronous, where you can view the sessions at your leisure and some of them are set at specific times. But yeah, tell us some more about those.
Erin Parkes: [00:11:29] Yeah, it was really important to me to make this as accessible as possible. So, you know, having it all be virtual is one important part of that. But to have all these different levels or, you know, different ways to engage with it, like not everybody wants to do, you know, a ten week certification course and might just want a webinar on one particular topic like, you know, how to use color coding for students with dyslexia or something like that if they have a dyslexic student and that’s what they want. And so all of the courses in the institute are designed to hopefully meet the needs of different, you know, educators out there. So we do have a lot of webinars now that we always deliver synchronously. And so, you know, if you join our mailing list or follow us on social media, we always post when that’s going to be and we like to do it synchronously because it provides an opportunity for questions and engagement and discussion, which I always really enjoy. Yeah, that.
Mindy Peterson: [00:12:26] Probably builds more community, I imagine.
Erin Parkes: [00:12:28] Oh, for sure. And I mean for again, for studio music teachers especially, we often don’t have much of a network, right? So to have the opportunity to just bounce ideas off each other is great. But we then post the recording, so that’s there all the time. Those are free. Anybody can access them. And then we have paid mini courses. We only have three right now. We have one on positive behavior support, another on teaching students with ADHD and another on sensory challenges. And those are about three hours time commitment. And then we have the certification, which is really like if you want to go out all out and you want to specialize in this or you really, really want to dig deep, that’s how you do it. So each level of certification there are three levels is about equivalent to a university course. There are ten weeks, there’s a couple hours every week of recorded lectures that you can watch, you know, at your at your leisure. And then we have a one hour discussion group every week as well, where we talk through the ideas and often that’s where we do a lot of the applied learning because most of the students in the courses are practicing teachers, so they’re working with these ideas in real time so we can talk through them.
Erin Parkes: [00:13:49] And so at the end of all three levels, you know, you’ll really have a very deep knowledge of of how to proceed with students with any exceptionality. I mean, you know, in 30 weeks of pretty intensive work, we’re able to cover quite a lot. And then one thing that we’re working on that we don’t have up and running just yet is a resource hub because we hear from a lot of educators that, you know, they they’re hungry for resources and where they can find resources like printables and, you know, different activities that they can use. So we have started the process of compiling all that because, you know, in all the years that load center, we have a lot of resources and, you know, a lot of activities that we do, but it’s just getting it out there. So that will be coming very soon as well, and that that will be free for teachers to use.
Mindy Peterson: [00:14:38] Okay, great. And we’ll definitely include a link in the show notes of to a list of your resources that you currently have. And then whenever you have that online resource library ready to go, just let me know and we’ll definitely update those show notes so people have a quick link to to access that.
Erin Parkes: [00:14:56] Okay, great.
Mindy Peterson: [00:14:57] I love one of your taglines. Which is helping students with Exceptionalities reach their full potential through music and community. And my next question, you already answered a little bit when you’re talking about your son. But my next question is why music? How is music particularly effective in supporting students with special needs? I know you mentioned that with your son. You noticed that he and other people with his diagnosis had a real affinity for music, and then also music was accessible for him, whereas some of the other extracurricular activities were not so accessible. But what are some other ways that you see music being particularly effective in supporting these students?
Erin Parkes: [00:15:42] Well, I think there’s sort of two main points around that. One is there are real benefits, therapeutic benefits, but also just to well-being of participating in music making. And those are well documented in the research at both for, you know, students with Exceptionalities, but also just for anybody. And then, of course, people with Exceptionalities should have access to that as well. But, you know, impacts on mood, impacts on reduced anxiety. We see with a lot of our students at Lotus Centre that parents will tell us that their motor skills improve more through playing instruments than they ever did through doing occupational therapy. And it’s fun. And they’re gaining a skill, right? So which makes the.
Mindy Peterson: [00:16:27] Idea of going to occupational therapy sounds less desirable and less fun to a kid, I would think, than going and playing the piano or playing some other instrument.
Erin Parkes: [00:16:37] Well, exactly right. Like, I mean, there’s so much benefit. And I mean, it makes sense, of course, if you’re playing piano or playing guitar, there’s so much dexterity involved. I mean, we know that, right, as music teachers. So for students that.
Mindy Peterson: [00:16:48] Struggle, I just have to jump in real quick. This is really interesting timing. I was just at a neighborhood party last night and was chatting with a neighbor who just moved in a couple doors down from me. He has cerebral palsy and just started. He knew that I was involved in music and started telling me about how when he was young, his doctor had recommended to his parents that he play the piano just to increase the dexterity and strength and flexibility in his hands and his fingers. And so they got him a piano and he just started playing. He said he would play six hours a day, which blows my mind. But he just absolutely loves it. I mean, now, obviously, he’s an adult. He has a PhD. His day job is not related to music, but he still just loves playing the piano. And a couple of years ago sort of treated himself and bought a Steinway piano. And so he wanted to take me inside and show me. So it was super fun to see his piano and just hear about his experience with it. But that just I was like, Oh, this is interesting timing because tomorrow morning I have this interview with Erin. And so it was really cool to hear his story, But go ahead and continue.
Erin Parkes: [00:17:59] Yeah, well, that’s a really great example. Right. And I’m so glad is his doctor was so forward thinking in that because it’s still something we’re working on convincing the medical community that there’s, you know, this is something they should recommend and we’re making progress. But it is you know, of course, it makes total sense, right? We don’t need to not everything needs to be therapy where we’re, you know, really rigorously focusing on that because kids can get therapy out, right? Like if that’s their whole life. So it’s great to have a recreational activity where you are gaining all those skills and things like executive function, focus, attention like those all improve through music study. But there’s also just the piece of like when we’re asking why music? Well, because people enjoy music and everybody should have access to it. I mean, music like not everybody that I’ve talked to enjoyed their music lessons, that’s for sure. But everybody I’ve yet to meet a person that says I just don’t like music. And usually when it’s somebody that didn’t enjoy their music lessons, it’s because they didn’t jive with their music teacher or the approach wasn’t right for them or, you know, whatever it may be.
Erin Parkes: [00:19:11] So at Lotus Centre and in my own personal teaching, not that I don’t have high standards for the students. I like when I say that we want them to meet their full potential. I mean it. What is their full potential? We want to bring them there. We don’t want to make it simplistic when they can do more, but we also want to recognize that the music making is the most important part, not any sort of arbitrary achievements that we might set out, like they need to reach this level or they need to do exams or they need to, you know, play concerts or whatever. It’s just music making. And if we just focus on that and just make it an enjoyable activity that these students can have in their lives, that now they can make music and they can go to that that’s so valuable and adds such quality of life that that’s that’s. Really my focus in any teaching that I do. Yeah.
Mindy Peterson: [00:20:03] Well, and just listening to you answer that question, too, I’m just reminded of the fact that music does exercise and engage the entire brain. And you mentioned so many benefits of music that were not just physical but also mental, emotional, social needs, cognitive abilities and academic performance, reducing anxiety and stress. I mean, these aren’t just related to one aspect of improving our lives, enhancing our lives, bringing students to realizing their full potential. But it really encompasses or can encompass all areas of life, which is pretty cool.
Erin Parkes: [00:20:40] For sure.
Mindy Peterson: [00:20:41] Do you have a favorite story, some example that where you saw music play a significant role in helping a student overcome a particular obstacle or difficulty?
Erin Parkes: [00:20:51] Well, I think one student that’s always really stuck out to me and she’s been with Lotus Centre almost since the beginning, but her her family is just so lovely. And when they came to us, they were really, really kind of at the end of their rope because this child used to be a really joyful child and just seemed to lose her spark or joy for anything. They couldn’t find anything that engaged her. And and she has level three autism and was in a state of pretty high distress almost all the time, like would tear her clothes multiple times a day and a really just a lot of would, you know, hurt herself and really a lot of distress. But but just the sweetest child. And they started taking music lessons because they saw that it was something that interested her. And they said right away it was just like the spark came back, you know, And they couldn’t believe that anything could bring the spark back. You know, they they’d lost so much hope. And like I said, they’re just the sweetest. Like, it’s bringing tears to my eyes now to think about them because they, like, they’re so lovely and they they wanted so much for her to be happy, you know, but had just become so kind of dejected by the experiences and for her having her piano lessons and practicing her piano every day became that thing, you know? And it’s been about ten years now that she’s been with us and still takes her lessons. And she has emotional ups and downs, but music is a constant for her, you know, And and so for me, that’s that’s really what it’s all about.
Mindy Peterson: [00:22:38] Yeah. That’s got to be incredibly gratifying to experience something like that. And especially as parents, you know, any of us who are parents can feel that pit in our stomach. Just hearing about a situation where the light has kind of gone out and and then feel that uplifting when you hear the story about the parents having hope again and hearing that light come back, that’s it’s got to be incredibly meaningful and fulfilling and gratifying to actually experience it firsthand.
Erin Parkes: [00:23:10] Oh, absolutely. I mean, I just yeah, I I’m not their teacher anymore just because of timing, but I still talk to the mom regularly and I talk to the daughter on the phone. And I mean, it’s just a really it’s really special to have those those relationships.
Mindy Peterson: [00:23:26] I know you’ve worked with several arts organizations to implement music performance and improvisation for people with Exceptionalities. Can you tell us about a couple of the collaborations that you’ve done?
Erin Parkes: [00:23:39] Yeah, this is one of my favorite things to do, and it’s another piece of just providing access, right? And again, kind of moving beyond our four walls at Lotus Centre and getting out in the community more. So we work with a few arts organizations in Ottawa very closely and have for a number of years to help them develop adaptive concert series. So we work with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, which is our national orchestra in Canada, and they actually have really committed to this initiative. They didn’t have any sort of adaptive or disability programming in their music before we came along, but it already recognized it as a gap that it was really something they needed to address. And so they reached out to us, yeah, about 11 years ago now. And so every year we put on well, there was a little pause during Covid, but other than that, every year we put on 10 to 12 series of workshops and concerts that are, you know, adaptive for the special needs community. And we’ve also put together a guidebook and a series of instructional videos for other arts organizations that want to implement the Music Circle program as well.
Mindy Peterson: [00:24:55] Okay. So those events, are they. Utilize, like having some of your students perform in the events, or is it more of a sensory sensitive performance for people who are in the audience?
Erin Parkes: [00:25:10] It’s for the audience. So it’s orchestra members that are performing. But I’ve done quite a lot of work on adaptive concerts also in my research at the University of Ottawa, and we’re starting to go a little bit beyond sensory friendly concerts and recognizing that there’s a lot more about a concert that can be adapted than the the sensory experience, though that is a big piece of it and does need to be adapted. But for example, with the National Arts Center, in addition to the sensory adaptations, we also do a series of 2 or 3 workshops leading up to the concert so that the participants can touch and play the instruments, and so they have different engagement with it. We show them little videos of the of the musicians that they’re going to see perform or they get to meet them in the workshops. We give PDFs with links to other videos they can watch to learn about the composers because a lot of it is newness, right? Anything that is new can be challenging. So also having things like a storybook before the performance of this is what the hall looks like. This is where the washrooms are. This is, you know, here’s the etiquette. All of those pieces are important. So we do that with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and we also do it with Ottawa Chamberfest And then in addition to those two major collaborations where we’re actually producing concerts, we also do professional development for arts organizations that want to do this. So we’ve trained the musicians at the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and we also work with Xenia Concerts, which is a fantastic Toronto based organization that does adaptive concerts. And we developed a series of training videos that they show to all their artists. So the artists know how to adapt and what to expect in these concerts.
Mindy Peterson: [00:27:06] Wow, that’s fascinating. So that other I know you mentioned the sensory aspect, but then that other adaptive concert, almost like an exposure technique that you provide for the the audience and the participants leading up to the event. That’s really interesting. I’ve never heard about that before.
Erin Parkes: [00:27:23] Yeah, I don’t know that it happens anywhere else, to be honest. It just it seemed like a good idea. So we started doing it and it’s, I mean, we’ve been doing it for ten plus years and it seems to be working quite well.
Mindy Peterson: [00:27:35] Oh, wonderful. Are there any misconceptions or myths about music education for students with Exceptionalities that you’d like to address?
Erin Parkes: [00:27:45] Yeah, I think that there are myths on kind of both ends of the spectrum. So one myth that I see, and unfortunately I see it perpetuated sometimes by teachers or those that work with students with Exceptionalities is this idea of the savant, right? Or even that all autistic students have special abilities or, you know, all autistic students have perfect pitch or, you know, it’s I think it sets a lot of teachers up for a lot of frustration if they’re expecting all of their students with Exceptionalities to have special abilities. We do know for sure that, for example, with autistic students, um, you know, in the general population, about 1 in 10,000 people has perfect pitch or absolute pitch without any training. For people with autism, it’s more like 1 in 20. Oh, wow. Which is incredible, right? That’s a huge, huge difference. And, you know, so and I think, you know, at Lotus Centre, I think it’s much higher than that. It’s probably more like 1 in 3 and 1 or 1 and four, because the parents see that their child has special abilities. They’re they’re the ones more likely to seek out music lessons. Right. But it’s certainly not 100% or anywhere close to that. And so that needs to be understood. I think too often I see that or there’s there are whole, um, you know, pedagogical approaches that are based on the assumption that your student will have perfect pitch. And then on the other side is students with maybe severe or profound disabilities, especially intellectual disabilities, or very profound physical disabilities, and the feeling that they just can’t do music lessons, they can only do music therapy or something like that.
Erin Parkes: [00:29:29] And I think that I think that comes from our view of what is what is a music lesson? What is music education, right? If we’re thinking of it as a student sitting at a piano or playing an instrument for 30 minutes, then yeah, that’s probably not going to happen. But that doesn’t need to be what it is, right? I think that that’s where the training comes in, though. It’s, you know, a lot of teachers just don’t know what to do with a student that is not going to be able to engage in a traditional. All music lesson, but it’s not an unwillingness to try something different. They’ve just never seen anything other than a traditional music lesson with maybe some, you know, very basic adaptations. But literally anybody can learn music. I mean, there’s we have never had a student come to Lotus Centre that we’ve said, you know what? Nope, not this one. They can’t learn. Everybody can. And again, it’s about what is their full potential. It doesn’t have to be compared to anybody else. What is it for them? It might be that, you know, they’re just playing a few notes on an instrument and most of the time they’re singing or they’re doing percussion or we’re using flash cards and, you know, they’re pointing to them to identify that they understand there’s all different ways of engaging with music, learning, and really anybody can do it. So I think that I see that a lot in teacher groups and things like that online that that people say, well, that that student just they need music therapy. They can’t do music lessons. And that’s just not the case.
Mindy Peterson: [00:30:58] Both those really great points. Thanks for that. If a teacher is listening to this and they already have a student who has autism or some other learning challenge, are there any basic simple tips that you recommend that they can just start using right away to improve the learning experience? Like if that teacher is listening and there’s just one thing they could take away to practically apply to this lesson this afternoon with that student, what would you recommend?
Erin Parkes: [00:31:26] Well, I mean, a really broad tip is to let go of your idea of what a traditional music lesson should look like and just make music. Just make music. Don’t even worry at first about I need to teach this student what I know or I need to teach this student what I think they need to know. Start with just making music and it can be really simple. Playing percussion instruments, doing a call and response kind of game. Improvising free improv is amazing because anybody can do it, right? I mean, you don’t need to have any musical skill whatsoever to do free improv and just start there and see what your student responds to and, you know, build off of that. But I know that that’s that’s kind of a leap for some teachers, right? And and I think that, you know, especially the improv thing, I know for me that freaked me out when I started doing it because I’m very classically trained. So I get that with you. Yeah, but trust me, like if you can let go of that and and allow yourself to just play a little bit like play with music, then you can really reach anybody. And it’s also a huge part of rapport building, which is so important with students, with Exceptionalities who maybe don’t have the greatest history of experience in activities like this, right? Yeah. So to have somebody who’s just going to meet them where they are and have fun with them and enjoy being with them, just making music, you can have such an impact just doing that and let the learning happen. And again, I’m not I don’t want to ever say let go of pedagogical goals or don’t worry about learning. I mean it. There needs to be that. But at first kind of let the learning happen organically and then you can start to set goals as you see what your student is capable of. But don’t start out with set goals and then feel frustrated that they’re not meeting them. Just play.
Mindy Peterson: [00:33:28] I love that. Well, like I said, we’ll definitely have links in the show notes to some of the resources that we already talked about. I know there’s a blog on your website that I’ll link to also. Are there any other resources that you want listeners to know about that we haven’t already discussed? Whether it’s for educators or parents or students.
Erin Parkes: [00:33:47] The blog is another one that is a really important resource. But I would also say that, you know, we have low to center resources, obviously, but music education, there are a lot of great music education resources out there that are already sort of adaptive in nature. And so, you know, one thing that I really love using is body percussion, YouTube videos. And there’s one that’s Mrs. Morgan is the YouTube, you know, YouTuber. And they’re fantastic because they have visuals like for Stomp, there’s a picture of a foot or for clap, there’s a picture of hands. And that visual content is really important for a lot of students. With Exceptionalities, there’s also Prodigy’s music that uses color coding and everything that they do. And again, neither of those, as far as I know, are developed as adaptive music education, but they’re exactly what we would do in an adaptive setting. So don’t feel like it needs to be specialized. Just look, you know, there’s a lot out there that really is wonderful already as a kind of like a, you know, pseudo adaptive approach. But those are two really great ones. That I think are definitely worth checking out.
Mindy Peterson: [00:35:01] It sounds like it, Yeah. I’m already intrigued to check them out myself. Thank you. I ask all my guests to close out our conversation with a musical, ending a coda by sharing a song or story about a moment that music enhanced your life. Is there a song or story you can share with us today? In closing?
Erin Parkes: [00:35:19] Yeah, one story that I keep going back to is actually it was in connection with the Music Circle program that we do at the National Arts Centre Orchestra. So I have a student named Aidan. He’s oh my gosh, he’s 19 or 20 now. But but this was a number of years ago. He was he was younger. And I know I said that not all students have perfect pitch or, you know, special abilities, but he does he’s he’s a he’s a very, very gifted student. And, you know, the kind of student that can just sit down and transcribe a symphony kind of thing like amazing student. But we were at one of the Music Circle workshops and we had a cellist there from the National Arts Centre Orchestra demonstrating the cello and teaching about the cello. And so the piece that he was going to play to kind of demonstrate the cello was The Swan from Carnival of the Animals and Aidan, who was maybe maybe 10 or 11 years old at the time, she said, well, if you if you’re going to play the cello, you need the piano part. And just got up and started playing it and I mean, played it flawlessly.
Erin Parkes: [00:36:27] And his mom’s jaw just dropped because she said, this is not I’ve never heard this piece before. Like, it’s not a piece that we’ve listened to, you know, at home or anything like that. Obviously, he had heard it somewhere and it just stuck in his mind. But what was I mean, I already knew that he he can kind of do that. Not that it’s ever not amazing. It’s always amazing. But, you know, but what was really so special about that particular moment was how he engaged with the cellist. I had never seen him do it with another other musician before to just see him get up there and so naturally fit in with this cellist and play like they had been a duo for years. And and he, yeah, just played so beautifully. And the cellist was beautiful and everybody’s jaws just dropped. And since then they’ve gone on to perform this piece a number of times in concerts and at conventions and all kinds of things. So yeah, it was it was a pretty special moment.
Transcribed by Sonix.ai