Autistic Clarinet Student got to intermediate level, even did three successful exams
by Meri Dolevski-Lewis
I taught a high-functioning autistic clarinet student for 5 1/2 years, between the time he was 11 to 16 years old. He did his Royal Conservatory of Music Grade 1 clarinet, Grade 2 clarinet, and Grade 4 clarinet and every time he got at least an 80!
We did a lot of Dalcroze type exercises (combined with work at the clarinet) and ear training, he got really good at both. We did a lot of duet playing, and ensemble playing with my husband, who is a professional pianist, he has performed a number of clarinet solos at student concerts and family events. He even learned most of the rudiments in that time, which I taught him through written exercises, computer programs, and flashcards. (He most loved the flashcards.)
This kid also made it into high school band, on 2nd clarinet! Quite an accomplishment for a student who is autistic. (He is partially integrated with the mainstream students.)
Dana: Congratulations on your fine work with this boy -- what a success story!