Friday, November 8, 2013

Welcome to

Music has always been a major factor in my life. Playing music has been a hobby since age 6, and helps me keep my sanity as an adult. Having been a music teacher since the mid-1980s (and later, a music therapist), I discovered that my brightest students were on the spectrum. They had the tendency to devour lessons as quickly as I could deliver them.

This website was born on 11/7/13. It is dedicated to all my past, current and future "gifted" students on the spectrum. We will be looking specifically at "improvisational soloing" for guitar.

Stay tuned - there's a lot to come!

Mark Hutten, M.A.


Question from anonymous: Hey Mark, why guitar lessons for children with ASDs?

Answer from Mark: Fair question… because music can help kids with autism to improve skills in areas such as communication, social skills, sensory issues, behavior, cognition, perceptual/motor skills, and self-reliance or self-determination. I also find that “music experiences” strike a chord with these precious children, making personal connections and building trust. Young people on the autism spectrum are often especially interested in - and responsive to - music. Because music is motivating and engaging, it can be used as a natural "reinforcer" for desired responses. Music can also help those with sensory aversions to certain sounds to cope with sound sensitivities or individual differences in auditory processing. Does that answer your question?

Anonymous said... funny that loud noises used to really upset my son ;but after playin drums for 10 months he has turned himself into a very gifted drummer ...who plays way too loud!it has helped him in many ways & gives him something cool to work on every day...getting some confidence that no one can take is awesome!:)

Anonymous said... My 15 year old loves Choral music and had been in his school choirs since 6th grade. This is his outlet for fun and social interaction. He excels in this environment and I am so thankful he has found his niche and finds comfort there. Music makes our world go round.

Anonymous said... my little 9 year old plays the violin amazingly he can read and write music and has been able to for years can play off sheet music and also by ear, he hates practicing at home as it eats into his computer time but he is amazing to listen to and very gifted so we encourage him all the time

Anonymous said... on the flip side my 14yr old aspie loves his guitar lessons but hates to practice - a case of ive already played that why do i have to do it again!!

Anonymous said... This is so true, I know a few self taught ASd musicians.

Anonymous said... Totally agree we got our son into piano in year 4 and the difference in him was like night & day. Really was a turning point for him and us.

Question from Marty: Thank you for everything you do to help parents and individuals on the spectrum! I've been following you online for years. I LOVE that you are now sharing your musical talent, too! There's a fine line I'm walking with my 12-year old son with Autism. I've talked to him about it, dug out the chord books and acoustic guitars, etc. he was semi-interested the first day or two, but says he doesn't want to play. He is homeschooled and even knows that it could count towards his school hours. Still, at this point, I would have to "make" him take lessons, but I don't want to turn him off completely. I'd much rather him WANT to learn!! Any words of advice? My husband and my dad play, but probably don't feel they could teach him. He IS pretty "high-strung"...sorry for the pun! His audiologist says that he makes sounds to the exact pitch and really needs to pursue music in some form. He even has musician hands...long, thin fingers, etc. Maybe, in my "spare time", I need to learn to play and hope he will be inspired to join me!

Answer from Mark: I strongly recommend keeping music out of the "homework" category. If music felt like work, nobody would want to do it. No matter what musicians may say, they use music as a form of self-meditation -- and that's where it should stay. I would be glad to dedicate a song (or lesson for that matter) to your son. Maybe that will inspire him (at least briefly) to pick up his guitar again. He would derive the most satisfaction from a personal song or lesson (which I would upload in video format for all to see) if I could mention his name (first only), general location (e.g., Houston), and his picture (optional of course). I've already had a few requests like this, and will enjoy honoring these requests as time permits. I do try to make some time for music everyday. It's a hobby that helps me keep some peace of mind, you understand Hope this helps.

Response from Marty: That would be SO cool! The perfect song would be Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters". It is one of my all-time favorites and I remember years ago when Brandon recognized it by the first few notes and said, "I know what this is, Mom! 'Nothing Else Matters'!" Plus the lyrics can be interpreted in a way that fit so well! We live about 30 miles north of Nashville. If/when you are able to do it and would like to include a picture, I could surely pick one to use! Thanks so much!

Response from Mark: Maybe I should have mentioned my teaching method earlier. I don't teach students how to copy other band's songs. If I taught your son how to play "Nothing Else Matter," that would be the only song he could play. He wouldn't be able to generalize that song to other songs. I prefer to teach in a way that helps students "learn how to learn" whatever that want to (does that make sense?). In other words, I teach them how to teach themselves, then they can learn whatever song they want to. They won't need me to show them when they get to that point (the concept of "show them how to fish rather than just give them a fish"). See what your son has to say about this...

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