On Saturday 8/26/17, The Musical Autist hosted an intimate Empowerment Jam Session for a small group of children & adults on the spectrum and their families in Maryland. Sunny, TMA Co-Director and self-advocate, facilitated the direction of the jam session by creating musical opportunities for participants to share their own talents and preferences.
Sunny first led the group in some empowerment drumming. She played a steady beat and encouraged everyone to chant positive affirmations, like “Your choices are your own” and “Don’t let anything hold you down.” The group jammed on high quality percussion instruments and worked together to adjust the dynamics and tempo of the music. Later in the jam session, participants offered their own song suggestions for the group to play, which included “True Colors,” It’s a Small World,” “Revolution” and “Green Eggs & Ham.” There were many fabulous opportunities for leadership, bonding and self-expression within the group, which contained a diverse range of musical talent, interests and personalities.
When reflecting back on this recent Empowerment Jam Session, Sunny wants to remind interested families that “Jam sessions are for everybody; not just musicians, but for anybody who wants to attend.” Participants should expect opportunities to make new friends, work on their leadership skills and to be exposed to the disability rights community. “Our Jam Sessions are meaningful,” she said, “because they allow people with and without disabilities to feel empowered through music making.”