Paula is a Music Buddy – she picks up her guitar, goes along to a regular music session and entertains a group of people who have autism and learning disabilities.
Music has always had the power to bring people together and raise spirits. No matter who you are, what your background is or how you communicate – your taste in music is not only unique to you but it also gives you an opportunity to share an interest with others.
“I’ve learnt that just because a person may have autism or a learning disability, music is one area where they have their own taste…[group attendees] are not afraid to say when they do not like something!”
Our Music Buddy, Paula, has a varied background but not one that has seen her working with people who have autism and learning disabilities…
”I’ll admit, I had some concerns about whether I’d find communication difficult. I need not have worried…they are not afraid to say when they do not like something but also quickly say thank you when they have particularly enjoyed something.”
Like any musician, finding out what your audience responds best to takes time. And it can take time for them to get into the rhythm of things and really start letting go…
Having fun together
“One of the guys always requested ‘Hey Jude’ and it was great when he suddenly started singing along, when he had not done so before!
“It was also brilliant when I was asked to play ‘Rockin All Over The World’ and I looked up to see six of the guys armed with guitars and ukuleles lined up, all ready to play along.
“Everyone got up to dance and we made a great deal of noise!”
The fun and community Paula has created with her music is not only having an impact on those attending the group, but also our talented volunteer herself.
What it feels like to volunteer
“Volunteering gives you the opportunity to make contributions to support the people who attend the sessions. It widens your understanding of autism and learning disabilities…it has been a real privilege to spend time with them and to help them have fun and enjoy their music.”
“There is a lot of fun and laughter, and the atmosphere is that of a large family.”
If you would like to find out more about volunteering with us…