2019 Year-End Recital
Last December, 15 of my students showcased their skills at our year-end recital, held at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music. I was beaming with pride throughout the entire recital, as I watched all my students perform, appreciating how far they’ve come since they first started learning music with me.
An Opportunity for Special Needs Students
The main reason for organizing a recital was to give my special needs students an opportunity to showcase their talents, alongside neurotypical children.
Through my years of teaching special needs students, I realized that they do not get enough opportunities in a mainstream environment to participate in performances or events. This is because a mainstream school does not have the resources to coach a special needs student one-on-one, so as to pull off a successful performance.
Gabriel, 4 years old
Gabriel started learning music in June 2019. He initially resisted attending lessons, and wanted to pluck out every single key on the piano. Now, he looks forward to piano lessons and shows initiative to play songs on his own without adult supervision at home. He is able to sit through 45-min lessons and read notes on his own. His mother said that piano lessons have evolved to become a form of therapy for him.
If You Never Try, You’ll Never Know
When I first floated the idea of a recital to my students’ parents, some of them were apprehensive.
“What if he has stage fright?”
“What if he has a meltdown?”
“What will others think of my child?”
“What if he fails?”
To which I replied, “If you never try, you’ll never know. What’s the worst that could happen?”
As teachers and parents of special needs children, it is our responsibility to give them as many opportunities as we can. We should also encourage and push them to achieve as much as they can, just as we would a neurotypical child. We should not let our worries and fears hold us and our children back from what they potentially can achieve.
If you never try, you’ll never know! And, you might just be pleasantly surprised!