Autism and music

photo by Headancer

image: 29 may 2006 – eventful.org.uk – 0008 – (medium) by Headancer/Simon Green (copyright 2006) (link to Headancer homepage)

As you’ll probably have read on Paul’s blog, he’s still not back in school. This is having a massive knock-on effect on the rest of family and my in-laws, and is generally causing chaos at Mistrust Towers. Anything from a decent night’s sleep to watching tv is being affected as Paul’s life is almost completely unstructured and he’s having to find things to do all the time, something he finds quite difficult at the best of times. He’s getting tired at all the wrong times, just because he’s getting really anxious in the mornings from not knowing who may call round to see him (school inclusion people, mainly). If you haven’t been here before, he’s got Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not otherwise specified, which means Autism/Asperger’s type personality and behaviour, hence all the anxieties.

What’s this got to do with “mistrust music”? Well, for some reason, Paul has decided that he wants to learn to play the drums. That means he wants a drum kit. Not just a basic, cheap kit. A proper one, with all accessories included. Bear in mind that he has a very small bedroom and there’s nowhere else in the house that it could go. So that’s a non-starter. I’ve told him we’ll get a basic drum pad-type thing – one of those plastic things without about 4 pads on it, with a set of plastic sticks – so he can see how it goes. Judging by his recent attempt to learn to play the guitar, he’ll give up if he can’t work out how to play a particularly beat. With Paul, it will be as follows: Learn the bass drum, then the snare, etc. Then learn a rock beat, then a waltz, etc, and if he gets stuck on one, he’ll pack it in.

He also wants to learn keyboards….. He’s been fiddling with my old Casio MT31 (which still works after nearly 30 years!) but it’s got small keys and he’s having problems playing the notes. He’s gone onto “Learn to Play.com” or something which has basic riffs to play, and has been practicising the same thing over and over till he gets it completely right. The problem is that there’s no audio on the site, so he relies on me to say if it’s right. Once again, if he can’t play one of the tunes, he’ll pack it all in.

It’s good that he’s interested in making music the “traditional” way, instead of using loads of samples in Acid Pro, and he’s actually got potential in the technique side of things. He now wants to use my Evolution Midi keyboard, plugged into the computer, and use a keyboard training program.

All this means I’m getting less and less time to come up with some new tunes. I’ve got the playing bug again and I want to do some live work, but there’s very little time to do much at the moment because of all this domesticity. The tunes that went to Candycover music library should be live soon, and that could open up some new opportunities, and I’d like to be prepared for anything that comes along. Howeve, anything that will keep him focussed, occupied, and will develop his skills, is something we’ve got to keep up with.

You’ll probably have noticed the image at the top of this post. It’s a photo by Headancer, one of the Big Chill Forum folk. I asked on there last week if I could use some of the things that have been occasionally posted on the forum, or if anyone could point me to some others I could use to brighten up my blog. So, thanks to Simon Green (Headancer) for use of the image. If you want to see more of his photography, please go to Headancer on Mac.com and tell him I sent you. Please note: All the images used on this site are copyright and should not be used without the owners’ permission. The pic I’ve used is from eventful.org.uk. It reminds me of the fact that I’m off on holiday in about 5 weeks……

Advertisements

One thought on “Autism and music

  1. Playing guitar is a lot more intricate and nuanced than playing drums. I’m not saying that guitar playing requires more intelligence, just that it requires more attention to seemingly trivial detail. It can be very boring when you’re first starting.

    Drumming is more physically rewarding. I think Paul would love that. Most people who get into it enjoy it a lot.

    Drum sets can be expensive. Buy beginner or used set (shop around first) before you spend on a full one.

    Good luck.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s