As a middle school band teacher, Julie Duty had a passion for creating an inclusive classroom where students of all abilities and disabilities learned together. She also experienced firsthand the lack of training, support, and resources available to teachers wanting to make this happen. She created a solution, United Sound, which utilizes peer mentors to create student led music clubs within schools. It has clearly filled a vital need – in its first seven years, over 8,000 students have participated in United Sound and they have logged over 213,000 relationship-building, music-making hours together.
Dawn White says, “Musical emotions aren’t understood the same way as regular emotions. They don’t require complex facial expressions or a ‘tone of voice,’ which are particularly difficult for children with autism to recognize. Musical emotions are easier for children with autism spectrum disorder to grasp because they are less socially complex.” Dawn unpacks music’s superpower in developing emotion recognition, management, and expression in those on the spectrum.