Continuing to fill the gaps in local music education, Infinite Music is now bringing music, art and movement classes to disabled and underserved young adults, ages 18–22, in Paso Robles Joint Unified School District’s (PRJUSD) Independent Skills Program (ISP).
PRJUSD’s program focus is on job readiness and retention skills, functional academics, vocational exploration, independent living skills, and recreation and leisure activities. Music and arts funding for these special needs students has been non-existent for many years. But thanks to Infinite Music and a generous grant from The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County, these special needs students are now receiving weekly music engagement for the 2019–20 academic year.
Students in the ISP program are multiply disabled, with physical, mental, emotional, and/or motor dysfunction. The level of disability varies widely in the group, with some youth likely to integrate eventually into a working environment and others likely to need substantial assistance for the duration of their lives. Some of them are in foster care, while others are autistic or non-verbal.
Yet all of these students are at a critical point in their lives, where important coping skills can be learned to make their transition into adulthood more successful. Many well supported studies show the value of music and the arts for aiding the well-being and performance of special needs youth, and Infinite Music’s program is no exception.
Under the direction of teacher Jessamyn Pattison, the “Special Need for Arts Program”, or SNAP!, gives students a weekly program organized around the concept of the World Atlas that integrates music, art, dance, rhythm, and movement for an enriching experience that helps these students grow as adults, gain trust in their teachers and fellow students, and engage and collaborate with others. For many of these students, it is their first experience in a bonafide music class.
“Music fosters so much for these students’ mental and physical well-being, giving them a way to express themselves.”
Through Infinite Music, students are learning to play the ukulele, dance to global music, count beats and invent their own rhythms with drums and percussion instruments, practice singing songs and rehearse together as a group as they employ their musical skills for upcoming performances, and much more.
Music is a critical way for them to express themselves and connect with other people. Music provides a sense of accomplishment, community, and joy. What better way to teach social skills like collaboration, attention-building, and discipline than through the fun of making music!
Infinite Music is thrilled to give these students the opportunity to experience the transformative power, and fun of music-making. Stay tuned as we further document their progress and upcoming performances! ❤️
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