Monday, April 30, 2012

Ah the Power of the Arts: Pt.2_EL SISTEMA!

I need to keep up with these posts! So much to tell! So for a good part of my life since I was a young lad I believed in the phrase by Jackie Robinson "A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives." I always aligned myself with this quote. Our time is quite limited on this planet when you think about it so make an impact not for your sake but for society and humanity! This leads me into EL SISTEMA!



                                                                                                              The YOURS Project (Chicago, IL)


“The orchestra and choir are much more than artistic studies. They are examples and schools of social life. To sing and to play together, means to intimately coexist”

For those who are wondering what El Sistema is, it is just that translated as "The System". Jose Antonio Abreu (Wikipedia), an economist and musician, founded El Sistema in 1975 to help poor Venezuelan kids learn to play a musical instrument and be part of an orchestra.  30 years on, El Sistema has seeded 102 youth orchestras -- and many happy lives.

One amazing product from El Sistema is the current Musical Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra (LAPO) Gustavo Dudamel.  Ever since 2009 when the young Venezuelan conductor broke into the classical music scene at 29, he gave music and the arts a LIFELINE in the United States. Slowly yet unfortunately the audience for classical music was shrinking becoming smaller by the year in the United States. The arts in America are under siege with traditional and core subjects trumping the arts in the form of budget cuts.  But Gustavo has brought back the fire to classical music in the United States along with the power of El Sistema. I never saw the famous conductor Leonard Bernstein conduct in my lifetime but I could imagine it was like seeing a rock star on stage. Gustavo brings that essential stage presence but most importantly humility as well. Humility is lacking at times in music and society itself (due to politics and egos). But Gustavo, the poster child for El Sistema, is spreading the message around the US and the world to enact social change through the power of music. This is not just a musical movement but a movement for social change for youth of the world!

As the great Spanish cellist Pablo Casals said, "Music will save the world!'

Dudamel grew up in his native Venezuela where he himself as a youth was raised in the El Sistema Program. He said El Sistema "kept him off the streets and out of trouble." His parents were both musicians but as we all know parents in an adolescent's life don't have as much impact on their children as their social circles and community.  He is living proof that one who is living in poverty or an impoverished area can lead a successful and better life through the music! He is an amazing violinist, conductor but most importantly a human being.  If you watch him, he connects with children and people of all ages. He is truly a global citizen and ambassador of music to the world. And I want to join him in this musical movement for social change in the US and worldwide...

Elmo & Gustavo make a STUPENDOUS team! As you know I've decided to make the plunge into grad school but I still have a burning passion to teach of course. So after having a conversation via phone with a friend he told me about the "El sistema symposium" he attended which had a panel of the founder, Jose Abreu, conductor, Gustavo Dudamel and a slew of others. From the symposium in LA, he told me that the New England Conservatory had partnered up to create the El Sistema Fellowship in which every year 18 musicians would be selected to study the El Sistema model in Boston and travel to Venezuela for 6 weeks. I WANT TO DO THIS!!!! I took spanish for 7 years and my dad is fluent (he was born in Argentina, raised in Chile) so I am picking up the language again. I am excited to see the culture of South America.  Additionally, I am looking to start an El Sistema inspired music program in DC. There is no such program of it's kind at the moment in Washington and even if there is one started, the more programs the greater the social movement! There currently is a program in Baltimore called "OrchKids" which was spearheaded by Marin Alsop, conductor of the Baltimore Symphony.

“If anybody asked me where is there something really important going on for the future of classical music I would simply have to say here, in Venezuela... I say I have seen the future of music in Venezuela and that is a resurrection”

I am calling on classical musicians that I know and others to band together to start this El Sistema NPO in Washington, D.C.

Coming December 2012 to the Kennedy Center, Gustavo Dudamel will be conducting the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra bringing the magic (or as Gustavo says MaYeek) and fire of classical music to the nation's capital!!!

The video below is another youth orchestra known as the Teresa CarreƱo Youth Orchestra! The top orchestra in Venezuela is the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela (SBYOV) who Dudamel is touring with to show the power of El Sistema. Enjoy the video!


All the best, 


The Chatty Cellist :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ahh The Power of the (Music &) Arts!

Holy cow has it been busy and eventful time since my last post. It's been too long and I have so much to say but i will divide it into a two part post staggered in a few days (maybe even three with varying titles). Where to begin, well the clip that I left you with was Chase, the 4 year old playing ACDC on drums. I thought that was pretty awesome. The video was part of the Music and Arts Showcase from Saturday April 14th.  Now here is the experimental video of me playing electric cello (cover a cello cover of smooth criminal). I had a good turnout to the show and it was pretty fun and short. Below, I have an edited video of the showcase of me playing electric cello. The song mash up/improvisation is Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal (as if you didn't hear it) and a fiddle tune that I learned at a string camp in Ithaca College when I was in high school. FYI, the smooth criminal is from two dueling cellos (professional cellists on carbon fiber cellos) If you have not seen it. You Tube it! video
So last week, Jonathan, the fam and I skyped on Jon's iPad for the first time. Let's just say, I got a half smile and divided attention...
"iPad 2 360° Rotating Stand / Case"
Now that's what I call a half smile! Literally!!! :-)
So like anyone's attention span, if one is playing angry birds and interrupted for a skype call, you probably would be annoyed too. I called my mom and Jon via skype on my mac to their iPad2. For the longest time, my mother didn't know where the "Skype" icon as well as how to answer the call. Jon of course new where it was. This prompted my mother to state "he helps me find everything". My mother though admitted she got Jon started on a angry birds streak that night because she also started to play angry birds and my brother of course heard the music. As we say in our house, "Jonathan is no dummy, he's a smart cookie." He truly is. I think he has beaten every single angry birds game that he has downloaded thus far. The call was great! He was very verbal (I will try to get video next time via skype if that's possible) Everyone was very impressed about the clarity of picture and the crispness of the sound! One way technology can make people closer!


Add Peabody to the list for Grad school!

So I realized that I need to set the bar high but not only that, TWO cello teachers that I would die to study with are at Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. Forget the fact I may not have the credentials but the teachers are great! I saw one cellist Amid Peled play the Victor Herbert Cello Concerto  ( I never heard this concerto before and I'm a cellist) He played with such grace and amazement. When I read his bio, he truly sounded like a humble and down to earth human. There is also David Hardy who is the principal cellist of the National Symphony Orchestra. I would also kill to have a lesson with him. Granted they are probably both adjunct (part time) professors, nevertheless it is definitely great motivation to practice. The way I see it is that I have about 6-7 months to prepare a pre-audition screening tape. I truly need to work my butt off if I even remotely just want to step inside the institution and be heard. It excites me but gives me a tinge of performance anxiety) So as I am starting to find my stride, I am looking to up the ante to 3-4 hours a day.

This chatty cellist needs to stop chatting and start a practicing!

In the next post, I will talk about El Sistema, My first cello student at Music and Arts, my recent paid gig playing in the pit for Chantilly HS play 'Into the Woods'. More to come stay tuned...

All the best,

TCC

Monday, April 16, 2012

"Just Dumb Enough... to reapply to grad school: The Looming Loomy Thing that Looms" A cellist's perspective


"Just Dumb Enough... to reapply to grad school: The Looming Loomy Thing that Looms: In a lot of things, I find that my strategy is akin to a football Hail Mary—just put it out there and see what happens.  I use it in footbal..." ~Jeremy Brok

To take a page of the playbook (and blogspot) of fellow DePauw and FIJI graduate Jeremy Brok. I'm making the plunge and I am officially declaring my pursuit of graduate school.  My wallet screams with jubilation.

  I am really excited and the possibility of going back to school, to learn and to continue to make music. People say "I hate being in a classroom and sitting at a desk all day" If you don't like sitting in desks, sit on the floor or bring your own hammock. Is it guilty to say that I still have that (and will always have) passion to learn? I consider myself a student for life. Learning every day. How boring would life be if we stopped learning trying new things or get stuck in routine. *cue wide yawning* The moment you stop learning is the time when you need to have a reality check. *steps off soapbox*

Reality: Whose going to accept me and who is getting the bill at the end of the night?

What are my realistic and primary goals? Hmmm 1. To stay in the mid atlantic region is my primary goal, 2. Getting into a performance/pedagogy program and lastly but most importantly getting scholarship MONEY. Already in a slight bit of debt from DePauw, it's pretty minimal and considering the  interest rates for students today and the amount of debt people are in. I'm dam well fortunate. Worse comes to worse, I sell the mortgage to the farm (sell my cello). That would be a move of total desperation.  I'll bank on finding another job like getting an assistantship or something that pays.

So far here is the short list of schools (in no particular order). I'm trying to get feedback and not boast. (then again what's to boast, this is all a pipe dream at the moment)

1.Unv. of Maryland-College Park (MD)
2. Catholic Univ. of America (DC)
3. University of Delaware (DE)
4. George Mason Univ. (VA)
5. James Madison Univ. (VA)
6. Shenendoah Conservatory (VA)
7. Temple Univ. (PA)

This is just a short post to check in about my determination towards grad school. This past saturday, the Music and Arts showcase was a decently good turnout. I got to test drive some electric cello improvisations. I had a tough act to follow in the showcase. I was put behind a 4 year old boy who could play drums and ACDC. I have not finished editing both videos so I will leave you with the 4 y/o drummer. Justin Beaver.... Eat your heart out! Another post to follow on Wednesday to talk about the Saturday Showcase and El Sistema!!!

video
Sincerely,

TCC



Saturday, April 14, 2012

May the Dominos Land Where They Fall: Gigs & Games

*****TEACHER/ARTIST SHOWCASE*****
WHO: ME (THE CHATTY CELLIST)
WHEN: TODAY APRIL 14th @ 3:15pm
WHERE: MUSIC AND ARTS CENTER IN OAKTON, VA      
                         (5 MINS FROM FAIRFAX)


Good Fam & Food

It's been quite an eventful week and some time since my last post so post will be quite looooong. I went on a trip to NY last weekend to visit family in Port Washington, NY (located on long island or as phonetically said by the locals "Lung Guyland" It was a great trip, I got to see the whole Fam Damily (as said by my former youth orchestra director).  Saw my Uncle Henry and Aunt Rosemary. It had been atleast 12-16 months since I had seen them. They made the trip from Jersey but not from the typical part. They live on a farm in New Jersey (Yes, I couldn't believe it when I was kid either until I saw the horses, cows, chickens and goats)

We all had a great Mediterranean lunch at the well known local restaurant Fish Kebab! If you ever are in New York City, take the LIRR from NY Penn Station to Port Washington and go to Fish Kebab or Shish Kebab on Main Street (A nice mile walk from the train station). Best humus and gyros in the world! But before I salivate over another gyro, I have to tell a story about how I got two gigs sandwiched between my 4 day NY trip (Ok now I'm hungry and heading for the kitchen)




Good Gigs!

Before I left for NY, I walked into Music and Arts in Baileys Crossroads, VA on my day off of Tuesday (4/3) simply to inquire non-chalantly about openings or just to check out the place or to chat with the manager I knew from several months before. Low and behold it led to a 2pm impromptu interview about 35 minutes away in the more affluent area of Oakton, VA about 5-6 minutes north of Fairfax. I had the luck of having the district manager in house so I was looking at an interview with both the current store manager and the district manager. After annilating 3 tacos and a bag of chips from Moe's Southwest grill, I packed up cello (Gary or Gar *prounounced as if it rhymed with DARE"). Thank you former NY Mets 3rd basemen Keith Hernandez for the inspiration (Keith's nickname for playbyplay TV analyst Gary Cohen). Moving along.... The interview went outstandingly well. I talked about my teaching experiences and my background with cello. It was just great interview and the district manager was very friendly. Even after the fact that I was prompted by the store manager at the Bailey's Crossroads store, "watch out she's pregnant" as she said in good fun and in jest.

Low and behold, the very next day I was offered the job!! It was super good timing and it was exactly the job I wanted so that I could truly focus on my passion and my practice for grad school for a MM (Master's in Music). In an upcoming post, I will talk about my kickoff for the search for grad schools.

I filled out the necessary paperwork and signed my contract the next day upon receiving the news. I was so excited to be working with students of all ages again and with a instrument that I have loved since I chose the cello in the 3rd grade. Yes the instrument was big as I but struggled and pushed on carrying that thing on the bus to and fro. Rain or shine. Well, many years later, it yielded a full tuition scholarship to undergrad (DePauw University *Greencastle, IN*) and a teaching degree with three certifications in VA, DC and IN (Expires this June...good riddance...It's pretty awful how they treat teachers in that state. My heart goes out to all my fellow depauwsome people!)

My first day to officially report to work is this coming Monday April 16! They made the calls and are lining up the students for lessons. We're building my schedule . The best part is that I get to work as an independent contractor so by tax code standards, I am self-employed. YES NO WITHHOLDING!!! Now its the temptation of withholding from spending it all. Thank goodness for savings and CD accounts. My base hourly rate is $60 an hour and Music and Arts takes a 1/3 cut. It's a pretty freaking awesome deal. My base rate is typically $50 though depending on travel expenditures, it can be more. (Not bragging, just putting my rates out there) Wow, I feel like a.....freelance musician and teacher. Never thought those words would escape from my mouth.

********ARTIST SHOWCASE************
TODAY, April 14, 2012 AT 3:15pm. I will playing at Music and Arts in Oakton, VA for Teacher/Artist SHOWCASE for Customer Appreciation Day!! We will be located in the parking lot in front of the store on this wonderful and beautiful day. I will be playing for about 15-20 minutes. Music will be select movements from the Bach Cello Suites as well as an electric cello free improvisation with a mash up of a few songs. Come check it out. The Customer Appreciation Day is running from 10am-6pm. I will also stick around before and after my short performance to give sample lessons and information about private lessons. 
COME OUT TO MY PERFORMANCE! 
DATE & TIME: TODAY APRIL 14th @ 3:15pm
WHERE: MUSIC AND ARTS CENTER IN OAKTON, VA      (5 MINS FROM FAIRFAX)
*******************************************************




So it gets even better. So I work part time as a barista at Beanetics Coffee Roasters Coffee Roasters in Annandale, VA. The only micro-roaster in Annandale and one of the best in Northern Virginia. Follow them on twitter @BeaneticsCoffee . I was working at the shop last Wednesday morning (where you can usually find me) and I ran into the Choir Director from Thomas Jefferson HS whom I've seen on numerous occasions (fyi TJHS is the #1 HS ranked by US weekly) . Well it turned out she was looking for a cellist *my hand raises* to play in the pit orchestra for the upcoming musical 'Into the Woods' by Stephen Sondheim. Apparently, not ONE of the students from her sister in-law's at Chantilly HS volunteered to play cello in the pit orchestra (the HS is located NW of (George Mason U in Fairfax) and is in Chantilly, VA for you greenhorns) . So as I said on twitter...GOOD FOR ME. It's a paid gig. I actually was not expecting to be paid but just to help out a fellow musician and teacher. Of course, at the kindness of my heart (true as fluffy as it sounds) It all worked out in the end. (2) five hour rehearsals and 3 & 1/2 performances. The fact that it's my first paid gig in the area! AWESOMENESS!


Happy (Hunger) Games!
Last but not least, on my previous trip home on Good Friday (the one before the Easter trip), I decided to video tape Jon, Mom and I playing dominoes. I didn't want to script or do anything that was pre-meditated; just natural ebb and flow of our family dynamic. Hence, you can see my mother and I arguing about the dominos (out of respect to my mother, I will not point out who is right in the video). I will let the viewers decide ;) or let the tape do the talking. Either way, the point was to see Jonathan in real time interacting with us and to show proof of how much he has truly grown. It's so amazing to see an individual progress (and continue to progress like anyone else) but from when he could only start speaking and communicating when he was SEVEN years old.

I'd like to point out in the film a few things in Jon's behavior for the sake of awareness and knowledge about the behaviors of people with autism. When Jon was much younger, he would engage in severe self-mutilatory behavior (typical in people with moderate to severe autism) When he engaged in such behavior, it was in the form of BITING. Yes, ouch, it really hurt when I was a kid. I didn't know how to react and of course as an older brother getting into a fight when his younger sibling we naturally fought physically. No one was ever harmed other than bite marks which thankfully transformed into occasional bruises. Instead of biting, he does a form of mutilatory behavior (if you could categorize it) as we coined the phrase "Chinning". This is Jonathan's way of expressing his frustration or anger when he cannot verbalize it into words or expressions.  For Jon, chinning Jonathan is basically, pressing his chin as hard (or as soft) as he can. Sometimes, he will take a closed fist and pound on your arm. He has never throw punches nor has he ever landed hits on anyone to the face. Jon is quite cognizant and aware of the pain it causes people. If you tell him it hurts when he "chins" or pounds, he simply replies with a "sorry" or "i'm sorry". Ten seconds later he starts again and responds with a "sorry...sorry". It's very cute but as a older brother growing up as a young teen, you could imagine the frustration on my part. 



video


I hope you enjoyed the video. I will be posting again soon with a video of my performance at Music and Arts and about my grad school search for my MM. Additionally, I will talk about El Sistema Fellowship @ the New England Conservatory as well as my aspiration for a Full Bright scholarship to visit Venezuela to study El Sistema (and maybe even meet Gustavo Dudamel!) I'll post the info again for today's showcase performance.

Have a great weekend everyone and enjoy the music!

The Chatty Cellist (TCC)

*****TEACHER/ARTIST SHOWCASE*****
WHO: ME (THE CHATTY CELLIST)
WHEN: TODAY APRIL 14th @ 3:15pm
WHERE: MUSIC AND ARTS CENTER IN OAKTON, VA      
(5 MINS FROM FAIRFAX)




Saturday, April 7, 2012

Spontaneity and Musicality: From Eighth Blackbirds to Angry Birds, Part Duex



Eighth Blackbirds
This review of the Eighth Blackbird concert at the Kennedy center was long overdue.  My sincerest apologies. Eighth Blackbird staged their performance in the cozy and intimate Terrace Theatre on the upper level at the Kennedy Center. The head liner of the performance was 20th Century composer Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire "Pierre in the Moonlight" written for quintet and soprano. For those don't know the piece, it's probably as crazy and bizarre as you will ever find a piece of music. When it's sung in a style called Sprechstimme , it will mostly certain give that bizarre vibe. The vocal expressionist style Sprechstimme essentially switches between speaking and singing voices while constantly changing pitch. Keep in mind this is in German if you did not gather from the name. On YouTube, I found a staged rehearsal (from 2009) of  Eighth blackbird with two actors  and soprano working on the choreograph of the entire piece.

Eighth Blackbird (Based out of Chicago)
Tim Munro, flutes
Michael J. Maccaferri, clarinets
Yvonne Lam, violin & viola
Nicholas Photinos, cello
Matthew Duvall, percussion +(not present for this performance)
Lisa Kaplan, piano




Pierrot Lunaire was amazingly choreographed with five sixths of the sextet involved. A few years ago, I saw the (NY based) Cassatt String Quartet perform this piece in a stationary seating arrangement along with woodwinds and soprano. 8BB's performance was like a clash of worlds from the silent film era of acting and dancing to playing music while moving on the go and BY MEMORY. Just memorizing this piece in itself (18 small movements and/or poems) is a feat.

The Stage is Set!
The backdrop was three light bulbs suspended by ropes along with about a 15 ft ladder holding them in place. The video clip tells some of the story. Even before the first note, the piece started with nothing more than a simple and silent choreography of a dancer and a man in suit and suspenders sitting on a chair under one of the three light bulbs with dim lighting.  Nevertheless, it goes to show that musicians can be dancers and dancers can be musicians. It reminded me of a game of "the conductor" that I played in the DePauw University Improvised Chamber Music Ensemble (We also had the privilege of performing with 8BB during the residency at DePauw U). The use of dim lighting and silhouettes is always a subtle yet artful way to express mood and emotion. The idiosyncrasies of stage lighting made for an all the more convincing feeling of the characters and music

Their next performance (that I will try to attend) is May 18 in Chicago (location TBA). I am visiting my good friend and also a terrific violinist, Jeremy Eberhard in Chicago. Additionally, I am planning to see the Chicago Symphony Orchestra play Beethoven's 7th Symphony. So I'm hoping for a smashing weekend of the arts the next time I'm in Chicago.



The ever so addicting angry birds
ANGRY BIRDS 
To switch gears or birds in this case, I came up north on Wednesday 4/4/12 for a long weekend in NY with family and with a surprise for brother Jon. My family and I pitched in to buy Jonathan an iPad2. I ordered it two weeks ago, teaching myself how to use it while preloading recommended autism friendly apps from the app itself "Autism apps". I loaded up a ton of apps from social cue recognition to art and paint pads but of course (like any other person), he went straight for the app ANGRY BIRDS. At first, he had some trouble playing the game but from yesterday until today (April 7) in which he essentially wiped out all the levels.  I had to start him on the Angry Birds Rio game.  What amazed me was not the just the speed that he learned to play the game but the at the rapid rate he was able to learn about the iPad2 in general. Keep in mind this was the first time he had truly encountered any sort of touch or smart tablet technology (iphones and ipod touches including).

Jonathan is addicted, I can't pry that thing away!
Like my former students to professed adult addicts, I looked at Jonathan as an addict and someone who is slowly starting to enter the realm of pop culture.  Ironically enough, the NY Times Magazine ran a cover page regarding the mindless time wasting of apps out there (i did not read the article yet). Either way, Jonathan is HOOKED on angry birds. Hopefully my mother won't be forced to purchasing every angry birds app. He is also in love with the puzzle game "rail maze". He is avid train lover too so he is in seventh heaven!



What made my day is that when I told Jon that he should take a break after hours of angry bird play, he exclaimed something along of the lines of "Aw I almost had it". He also ate hummus for the first time at lunch today with extended family. THIS IS A HUGE DEAL for someone with such a limited menu. He continues to amaze me everyday. Look for a funny video post of Jonathan and I soon. He continues to amaze my entire family with his progress. I am excited he has a iPad2 so now we can talk face to face via Skype or face time. Until again, Happy Easter everyone!

Yours truly,

The Chatty Cellist


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spontaneity and Musicality: Impromptu interviews and concerts Part I


Spontaneity can be a daunting thing sometimes especially within the confines of a group. Too many things in the way, too many minds to change. Just simplify and it equates to you. I think a good and healthy way to spend the day is from the lense of spending it WITH yourself. Spending the day BY yourself sounds lonely...if you look from that perspective.

Tuesday, started off with a simple Dr. appointment at 9am and that's all that was planned for the day.  Throughout the length of the day, I ended up literally talking and walking my way into an interview for a position teaching cello at Music and Arts in Oakton, VA, finding a nice HP printer at Goodwill for $7.50 (who knows if it works but it said wireless printing and I couldn't resist) and topped it off with a last minute ticket purchase to see the Grammy Winning avant garde sextet Eighth Blackbird perform Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire at the Kennedey Center in the Terrace Theatre. Did I mention there was free shuttle service from the Metro to the performance.  I also got to hang backstage with the group engaging and great conversation . The ticket/back stage pass was well worth $32!

        Next time you have a day off, take a day-cation with yourself. You'll thank yourself later. The more places you go the more darts land in different places you've visited *cue the capital one commercial with flying sharp location tacks flying everywhere*. Sometimes, you may hit the bullseye or win the lotto. I'll go with the former. Spontaneity and Musicality: Part II coming up soon featuring a review of the Eighth Blackbird performance. Additionally, I've returned home to NY and surprised my younger brother Jonathan with his iPad2. He's overwhelmed but incredibly excited about it. It really was a joy to see. Videos and analysis to come. Look for a new post or two before Easter Sunday.

Farewell!

The chatty cellist

Monday, April 2, 2012

Light it up Blue for World Autism Awareness Day


This is my first post and kick off to my new blog mostly centered around music but also around social issues that affect and are close to me among other things sprinkled in (politics, sports, viral videos and funny gaffes by public officials). Today, April 2, 2012 marks the 5th aniversary of Global and World Autism Awareness Day.  As posted my facebook and twitter (@thecellobello):


In America today, about 1 in 88 children are born and later diagnosed with Autism. In Britain, the National Health Service (NHS) has diagnosed 1 in 100 adults on the autism spectrum. This issue is close to my heart as some may know. I have a younger brother Jonathan, 21, who has low functioning autism. So let me start with a simple question.


Who was your first friend that you SPOKE with as a chid? Better yet who was the FIRST PERSON you socialized with other than your parents? Think hard...


If you don't have siblings.... well then I guess your mom or dad was your first friend after all. The first person we truly socialize with is our sibling.


I had a sibling, my younger brother Jonathan.  The problem was that he couldn't socialize with me so it was actually my parents.


It wasn't until i was about 9 years old until Jonathan said his first word at the age of 7. Seven long years of silence. I am here to give you a glimpse into the life of a sibling with autism and their family life.  If you want to hear a rant about conspiracy theories or really scientific facts about how autism came about. That's my dad's department. Hmm maybe I should have him start a blog ("Meltzer to Meltzer"). Either way. I grew up in a dysfunctional household (who hasn't) but more and more that I realize now it had more far reaching impact on me than I ever imagined possible for mostly better or some worse. 


I will post periodically about Jonathan and about how music can be a vehicle for communication with him.


Please visit autismspeaks.org to learn more and get yourself educated. Know the facts and become aware of the REAL impact it has on everyone! No one is ever INVISIBLE and everyone has a VOICE.


"Music speaks when words cannot"


Show your support and wear BLUE!!!