Emily Roberts

Sensory Friendly Spartan Concert

Developing prototypes, creating pilot programs, and diving into new products are not always terms associated with musicians. But since today’s musician often needs to be multifaceted to succeed, students in the College of Music are rising to that challenge.

As it has for the past six years, the College of Music’s Running Start program held its annual competition, this being the third year in which music students applied for the chance to live pitch their ideas to a panel of experts. It was a cold Sunday in late January when eight finalists presented their ideas in Hart Recital Hall, but the warm response from community partners like the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), the MSU Federal Credit Union, MSU Broad College of Business, Cynthia Kay & Company Media Production, and others in attendance made it an exciting step forward for the students.

Emily Roberts, meanwhile, is developing sensory-friendly concerts. Roberts, a graduate student in flute performance, is a board-certified music therapist, and she sees an opportunity to combine her skills in a way that will benefit people with special needs in the community. The first concert was held on April 17 as a service to students of the Clinton County Regional Educational Service Agency as well as individuals who participate in music therapy at the MSU Community Music School.

“As a music therapist, I’ve worked with special needs individuals, and I have always wanted to bridge the gap between that and the performance side of my life,” Roberts said. “I think creating this concert series will allow me to do that. I hope that the ‘Sensory Friendly Spartan’ concert series will be a long-lasting resource for getting music out to those who need it the most.” This concert series is geared to serve persons of all ages and abilities, including individuals on the autism spectrum as well as others with various sensory sensitivities, impairments, and diverse needs.

Attendees can anticipate fun, interactive music-making with top-rate chamber musicians from Michigan State. Fidget toys, headphones, small instruments, picture schedules, and a quiet room will be provided. Vocalizations, finger flapping, talking, and moving around the room are completely allowed at this special concert.


To view more of this post, visit http://www.music.msu.edu/news/music-students-get-a-running-start-on-their-entrepreneurial-ideas. Thank you to the College of Music Spring 2018 E-Newsletters for this wonderful article. 

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