April 8, 2021 update on live performances and events at the NAC.

Fostering Musical Engagement for the Special Needs Community

The Music Circle

This guidebook and video series provides educators, musicians and administrators with guidelines and resources to develop or enhance music learning and concert opportunities for people with special needs.

Learn more about the Music Circle for your school or organization.

Download the Music Circle Guidebook for detailed instructions and resource information.

Sensory Friendly Concert

Participants have been prepared for the concert throughout the workshops. They’ve seen the musicians on the videos and they’re now very comfortable with the sounds of the instruments. They are ready to have a meaningful concert experience. The concert environment is sensory friendly and is designed to be very comfortable for participants of different needs. This can include calm lighting, different seating options (including floor mats), and a quiet space to go to if they need a break. Any noises they need to make or movement they need to do is acceptable. Their comfort and enjoyment of this performance is of utmost importance.

Any chamber group that is used to performing in schools knows exactly what music is effective: familiar and varied pieces with short, fun introductions from their leader. This is especially important to balance the sensory needs of the participants. The pieces shouldn’t be more than 2-3 minutes, with breaks in between when the musicians are interacting with the students. This creates both a sensory break, and promotes social engagement. For many participants, this concert serves as a bridge to attending larger orchestral concerts in the concert hall.