Beautiful Mind Music Academy Story
Chai Chang Xun
Chai Chang Xun is a 15-year old teenager with autism spectrum disorder. He studies at Rainbow Centre Yishun Park School (RCYPS). Before joining the Beautiful Mind Music Academy (BMMA) programme, Chang Xun took piano lessons from a private teacher for about 18 months. Described by his then piano teacher as a child who enjoyed music and performing to the masses, she believed that it would be good exposure to help him grow and develop his musical talent if given the opportunity to perform for large audiences.
Chang Xun passed an audition in November 2014 and was accepted as a student of Beautiful Mind Music Academy, a unit of Beautiful Mind Charity in 2015, and started receiving piano lessons from BMMA’s volunteer music teacher, Ms Yvonne Kong.
Chang Xun was easily distracted and had a tendency of rushing through his performances. He also lacked a sound understanding of the rudiments of music, and thus overlooked critical details such as the rhythm, dynamics and overall mood of a piece. Whilst innately talented, he also tended to be impatient with himself, and sometimes ended up frustrated or even discouraged.
Through the process of trial and error, Chang Xun’s BMMA volunteer music teacher learnt to keep him engaged throughout every lesson, by pitching piano pieces best suited to his then-current capabilities and showering him with constant encouragement. Although every new piece presented new challenges, it was never too difficult for Chang Xun, who practised constantly with great discipline to reach new levels of musicianship. A natural outcome of this benevolent cycle is a heightened sense of self-confidence and awareness. All these achievements are then publicly celebrated when he gets to show off his new skills and play for everyone during BMMA’s performances held throughout the year.
In the words of Mrs Angela Lee, the Principal of Rainbow Centre Yishun Park School who attended our 2016 BMMA concert on 30th April –
“Like many other persons with special needs who pursue their passion in learning music, music definitely helps students with special needs to self-regulate for better management of their emotions and behaviours. This in turn enables them to access learning and participate in daily activities at home, in school and the community more effectively and independently.”
Over the last two years, besides making music lessons available for free to Chang Xun, BMC has offered Chang Xun multiple avenues and opportunities to develop his musical talent through the following events:
Performance at BMMA’s concert on 9 May 2015
Performance at BMC’s mini concert at RCYPS in May 2015
Participation in “2015 Pyeongchang Special Music & Art Festival” in Korea, in August 2015
Performance at the Art House as part of Rainbow Centre’s collaboration with “Play Me, I’m Yours”, a piano-themed international arts movement which was in Singapore for the very first time in March 2016
Performance at BMMA’s concert on 30 April 2016
Performance at BMMA’s progress concert on 26 November 2016
At our 26 November 2016 progress concert Chang Xun performed his piano pieces with remarkable maturity, confidence and skill. Chang Xun’s parents shared that music has helped him concentrate not only on his musical pieces but also other tasks. We can’t help but be gleefully impressed by Chang Xun’s musicality progress. At the rate he is going, he will reach Grade 8 sooner than anticipated!