We are campaigning for our first SENSORY CONCERTS® CD!
What is Sensory Concerts®?
Sensory Concerts® is a series of high-quality live classical music concerts designed for children and adults with sensory/special needs.
Ever wanted to attend a concert but afraid to, in fear of the shushing, judging looks by others, or it's just simply too overwhelming?
Sensory Concerts® differs from the traditional classical concert expectation where you have to sit still for the duration of the performance. With small numbers, our patrons are free to roam, vocalise, retreat as needed. You can relax on a crash mat, cushion or any seating of your choice and have an up close and personal experience of enjoying performances by some of the most acclaimed professional musicians.
The music is programmed to engage, interact, and calm your senses. We also have experienced therapists on site to support if needed. It is a wonderfully safe environment where you can spend quality time with the whole family!
This is your chance to be a part of our very special project....
Our patrons often ask if there's a CD recording to continue the experience after our concerts.
This Sensory Concerts® CD project will make it possible!
Recorded in Studios 301, the CD will contain 10 selected pieces from our 2018/19 concerts. The scheduled date is 1 December, to be available by January 2020. The CD will also be used for promotional purposes to reach far and wider communities.
Who am I?
My name is Grace Kim. As a concert pianist, I have been performing and teaching internationally for over 20 years. I am a mother to 2 beautiful boys, and at the age of 7, my eldest was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism (also known as Asperger's Syndrome). I learnt so many things through my son's therapies, one of which was Sensory Processing Disorder. I didn't even know that there was a such thing!
Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media
Learning about my son's conditions made me aware that there were very little opportunities to take my family to a public event such as a concert, due to his sensory overload of crowd, noise, and smell. I'm sure many of you can relate to the stress of managing your children's behaviour in public and it was just too hard to go out as a family.
As a professional musician, parent, and educator, this was something I could not accept.
So I started thinking how I can solve this problem. "What if we create a space that help reduce sensory issues in a relaxed environment? Allowing freedom of movement where everyone has their own personal space? Would that help them calm their senses and focus on the music?"
I floated this idea to my son's therapists and they were very enthusiastic about the concept.
Sensory Concerts® was born!
My mission was to create a genuine option for those who wish to access high-quality concerts with "Opera House" standard musicians to fully experience the joys and benefits of live classical music, something I would be happy to take my own family to.
Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media
We designed a space that had various seating options, such as crash mats, textured rugs, and a retreat space to move in and out of the space as needed. Using my networks as artistic director and pianist, we could invite internationally acclaimed musicians to perform. The music is programmed with elements that are known to be attractive to people on the Autism spectrum.
We have on board multi-disciplinary team of therapists - Jane (psychologist), Josey (occupational therapist), and Jenny (physiotherapist specialising in neurological conditions) who are onsite to support during the concerts.
Our pilot concert in 2017 was just so exciting - before the concert started we looked out to the audience who were moving around, making noise, lots of activity... and we thought "oh my, this is going to be interesting".. we took a deep breath and went onto the stage.
As soon as we played the first note, there was silence.
Some kids were just mesmerised by the sound of the instruments, others lying down with their eyes closed. As soon as the music stopped, they were 'active' again.
And then silent again.
It was such a powerful moment. We knew, without a doubt, this was something worth pursuing further.
Photo: Jenny Wu
For some people this was their first introduction to music, and for others it was their first family outing.. ever.
One Sydney parent was in tears; "To be able to enjoy LIVE classical music as a family was magical and something we thought we may never be able to do. For Ollie to be able to be himself in such an inclusive environment was wonderful. This is a beautiful concept and we look forward to attending more concerts in the future."
Since the pilot concert, the demand for Sensory Concerts® are growing, we have presented throughout Sydney, Blue Mountains, Melbourne, regional NSW and soon to expand to Newcastle and Adelaide.
Why it matters
Increasing studies show the immense benefits of attending a live classical concert. Music matters to everyone, it is the base of our being. Apart from the neurological, emotional and even physical benefits, attending a live concert promotes social cohesion, where one feels like a part of the community.
Photo: Jenny Wu
Those with medical, social, or personal challenges often feel socially isolated and avoid public events such as concerts in fear of judgement. Many, especially young children, miss out on the benefits at the crucial time of their brain development. Music can also trigger emotional and situational memories in dementia patients and relieve anxiety and stress.
We've had one carer say "I haven't heard my client speak before, but after each piece at the concert, he said 'Thank you'!"
Our Melbourne patrons said:
My daughter, J, watched the first part of the concert on a crash mat with a fluffy blanket and a velvet cushion (sensory heaven for her). There was an OT there who brought J playdough when she wanted to focus but was having trouble. J watched the second part of the concert from outside the big window running and laughing in time with the music. I couldn't be happier!
This was amazing, there’s no where else that I am aware of where you can have this type of opportunity! Simply brilliant!
Project partners and supporters
We are grateful to the passionate team of professionals, organisations, and volunteers who generously give their time and resources in making this project possible.
The Great Walk Foundation
Our ultimate goal is to reach as many families and communities as possible, far and wide, to provide equal access to the benefits of high-quality live classical music.
Join us in our mission to making a difference. Donate now!