On Wednesday August 7, The Musical Autist hosted an Empowerment Jam Session at Maryland Hall Café. We had about 15 to 20 people in attendance. It was a fun, laid-back and relaxing event. We did an opening song, a 12 bar blues, an empowerment chant, and Musical Autist Troupe, one of our programs, performed songs, then we did our closing song. The staff at Maryland Hall Café provided snacks and coffee for everyone who participated. The staff enjoyed themselves as they listened to the jam session. Everybody had a great time making music and hanging out together.
As I continue to serve on the Empowerment Jam Session Committee, I realize that my vision for jam sessions is getting even stronger. Eventually, I would like to have jam sessions reproduced in communities across the country. Jam sessions allow individuals to come together and make music. I believe that it is important for jam sessions, and all music events, to be accessible for people with disabilities. I encourage people who participate in our Empowerment Jam Sessions to join us in improvising and playing music, because it encourages turn taking and opportunities for solos when we play music like the 12 bar blues.
The empowerment chant, mentioned earlier, also encourages all participants to speak truth over themselves. When people are diagnosed with autism, people often tell us things that we will never be able to do. Empowerment phrases allow us to affirm the things that we can achieve. I want participants to know that people are not always correct when they make negative assumptions about people on the spectrum. It is important that we discover our gifts and the things that we are able to do. That is the whole point of the empowerment chant.
In the future, I see empowerment jam sessions expanding beyond the community of Anne Arundel County, and eventually expanding into other states across the country. TMA would love to consult with interested communities to teach them how to produce jam sessions where they live. Jam sessions are a great musical event where people can come together and improvise, we also give opportunities for people to share song covers or their own original music. Stay tuned for our fall 2019 Empowerment Jam Session details; if you’re interested, please follow our website or social media pages for updates.