While the Fall 2015 issue of Symphony magazine (the publication of the League of American Orchestras) contained a range of interesting and positive articles, one particularly caught my interest. Titled “New Notes on the Autism Scale,” it was about concerts given for people on the autism spectrum by a number of American orchestras and the special adjustments and accommodations made so those concerts could be more effective for listeners with autism.
The reason it spoke so directly to me is that my wife and I have a grown son with autism who has loved music all his life. One of our family stories is about the time he sang the Mozart Requiem with his high school choir and orchestra. We had not pushed Mozart, or any classical music, on him at all (although he does come to those concerts on which I have stand-up solos), and for various reasons he had grown up listening mostly to hip-hop and heavy metal. But he loved the Mozart. He downloaded a recording to help him learn the bass part and he sang it non-stop in the shower for weeks.
The night of the concert, we dropped my wife off at the front door of the school and went to park, during which short interval Sam asked me “Dad – did Mozart write anything else good?” I assured him that indeed he did.