What is the Private Music Lessons program for Students on the Autism Spectrum?
Boston Conservatory Private Music Lessons program for students on the autism spectrum was co-founded by Boston Conservatory and the Autism Higher Education Foundation to provide ongoing music education and enrichment to young musicians with an ASD diagnosis. When the partnership concluded in 2010, the Conservatory assumed full responsbility for all aspects of the Private Music Lessons program and has overseen its continued development.
The long-term goal of this groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind program is to develop the musical talents and abilities of the young participants and to nurture a lifelong love of music. Some students in this program have continued their studies in conservatory and college music programs.
How does the program work?
Students in the Private Music Lessons program, ages nine and older, have the opportunity to take individualized weekly music lessons at Boston Conservatory. Current instrument offerings are piano, violin, voice, clarinet, flute, alto saxophone, trumpet, string bass, electric bass, and guitar. Each student is paired with a specially trained Boston Conservatory music education graduate student for lessons of up to one hour in length to take place on Saturdays. (NOTE: Parents or caregivers of students must be on site for all lessons).
Each student is further supported by a consultative team, including:
- Music Therapist
- Speech Pathologist
- Special Educator
- Professional musicians and/or music educators with a diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum.
The consultative team supports the student by troubleshooting issues that may arise in the learning process. In addition, generalization of the music lesson to the home environment takes place on a weekly basis through skype video conferencing between the student (and/or caregiver) and the music instructor.
Does the program include performance opportunities?
Our spring semester concludes with a recital every May.
Do other similar programs exist?
This is the first program of its kind in the nation.
Who are the project leaders?
Rhoda Bernard is the Director of the Boston Conservatory Program for Students on the Autism Spectrum.
Who is eligible for enrollment in the program?
Students ages nine to adult with a basic proficiency in voice, piano, violin, flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet, or guitar (i.e. can play without hand over hand instruction) are eligible for Boston Conservatory Private Music Lessons for students on the autism spectrum.
Students must have a documented Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis. Prospective students and their caregivers are interviewed to determine eligibility for the program.
How do I enroll my son or daughter?
Fill out the intake questionnaire and the application.
What is the age range/requirement of students?
Students must be ages nine and up.
How much does the program cost?
The program costs $1,000 per student per semester, which includes twelce weekly lessons and twelve mid-week generalization sessions.
Are scholarships available?
Scholarships are available for families who qualify. Please fill out and submit our financial aid application to apply for a scholarship.
What instruments will be taught?
We have the capacity to provide private instruction on most musical instruments and voice.
How were these instruments selected?
These are the instruments that the Music Education Department graduate students can best support for these private lessons.
Do students need to have prior experience?
Yes, students must already possess basic proficiency (i.e. can play without hand over hand instruction) in their instrument.
Where will lessons take place?
Lessons will take place on the Boston Conservatory campus, located in the Fenway/Back Bay area of Boston.
When do lessons take place?
Lessons will be up to one hour in duration (exact time to be determined) on Saturdays and follow the Boston Conservatory’s academic calendar.
Can parents observe the lessons?
Parents or caregivers of students must be on site for all lessons.
Who is eligible for teaching roles in the program?
All teachers in the program must be current graduate students in the Boston Conservatory Music Education Department.
How do I apply to become a teacher in the program?
Applications are available through the Boston Conservatory Music Education Department. The application process includes a paper application and a personal interview.
Do teachers receive credit or payment or both?
Boston Conservatory music education graduate students who are accepted as teachers in the Boston Conservatory Private Music Lessons program will receive a per-lesson payment for their instruction.
How are the teachers trained and qualified to teach autistic children?
All students in the Boston Conservatory music education graduate program must have completed the first summer of study with grades of B- or better to gain entry into the program. Those accepted for teaching roles in the Boston Conservatory Private Music Lessons program will also receive specialized training and support from a team of professional autism consultants (special educators). Training takes place in September, and ongoing support will be available on a weekly basis from the consultative team.
How many Boston Conservatory music education students will be accepted into this teaching program?
The number of instructors is determined by the number of students enrolled in the program, as well as the lesson schedule.