The Power of Music
. . . I started using music and music lessons as a gentle
By Steve Buckley
strategy to help children learn and develop, a strategy that
gradually removes the therapeutic aspect.
Ihad my first experience of working in music with exceptional students in 1981 when I was asked to provide music for three men with Down
syndrome in a group home in Orillia,
Ontario. I was much younger then, but
the experience left a lasting impression.
Those three individuals got much enjoy-
ment from what I felt at that time was
simply “a few songs.”
In 1999 I had a private music studio
running in Innisfil, and friends of the fam-
ily asked me to try to teach their daughter.
She was 9 years old, had been diagnosed
with Down syndrome, and was shy and
nonverbal. My friends had given up on
speech and language development for
their daughter and had decided instead
to work on methods of augmented communication. One year later this young
lady was able to sing along with one of her
favorite songs and mine: “I Don’t Want
to Live on the Moon” by Shawn Colvin.
This was a great achievement for a child
whose parents had been advised that their
daughter would never talk.
The power of music was again revealed
to me in May of 2002 when my twin boys
were born. My wife went into premature
labor at twenty-three weeks gestation
and was rushed to hospital, where our
boys were diagnosed with twin-to-twin
transfusion syndrome. At twenty-six
weeks, the doctor induced labor when
one of our twins went into congestive
heart failure. Our first twin’s heart flat-lined at birth, and his brother was born
with a low blood supply and needed an
immediate transfusion. Our first twin