Finding the right instrument

C is a little boy of about 7 who is severely affected by cerebral palsy. Jessie’s Fund has been working in his school for a day every fortnight this term, not only working with the children themselves, but also helping the music coordinator to increase her skills. C can’t communicate with words: in fact he has little control over his movements, so any method of communication is extremely limited. But there is something in C’s presence which expresses to us that he thinks deeply. He hasn’t been able to play conventional musical instruments, so on our last visit we placed an iPad where he could easily touch it, and opened the music app Thumbjam. C has a little movement in the fingers of his left hand, and suddenly they came alive and played away on the ‘vibes’, with real intention and responsiveness. There followed a wonderful improvisation, C taking the lead in an ensemble with double bass, drums, and chime bars. We had found C’s instrument, and he will now go on to have many more musical conversations. This new communication pathway could make a huge difference to C’s life, and it was a privilege to make that happen.