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Nicholson Melodies Music lessons for those with special needs By Allison Hopkins

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” –Plato There’s something unique that happens at a music studio. If you’ve taken your kids to lessons, you may have noticed it. Life slows down a bit. Electronics go missing. Children from all backgrounds and of all ages get ready to play their instrument or practice their vocals, and you feel their sense of pride. You also see their respect for their teacher. It’s inspiring. One local musician and teacher, Jason Ashcraft, has set out to make sure that everyone can experience this type of joy, including those with special needs. Launched in January 2017, Nicholson Melodies has a mission of providing excellent teaching with the knowledge, understanding and patience for those who need it. As the owner and teacher, Ashcraft is excited to be offering music lessons at Fifth String Music Store in downtown Sacramento on Wednesdays and Thursdays, as well as offering in-home lessons throughout the greater Sacramento area. “Music is a wonderful tool to help with communication and understanding,” says Ashcraft. “It’s a great way to socialize and connect with the world around you. Not only do I see these kids having a great time learning music, but it can bring out their creative, unique and artistic side that’s waiting to be shown to the world.” Ashcraft brings both sides of the equation to his practice:

he’s been a musician his entire life (he’s the founder and main songwriter for the traveling science-based metal band, Helion Prime), and he’s been helping those with special needs since he became a young adult. For the past few years, he has worked for Applied Behavior Consultants as a behavior technician, teaching people with autism from 3 to 22 years-old. He loves his job. “They are some of the brightest, kindest and interesting people you will ever meet,” says Ashcraft. “At the school, I try to introduce music into our lessons when I can. I’ve seen some grasp the concept fast and I think ‘if they can understand this with just the little bit we do, what could they get with full lessons?’” Ashcraft describes how the children get excited when they are able to play a song on the guitar, or even just beat a simple beat on a drum, sharing with him their hopes of becoming rock stars. He saw a definite need for this type of private service in Sacramento, and his goal is for Nicholson Melodies (named in honor of his grandparents) to soon be offering a wide range of music lessons, including guitar, vocals, piano, theory, audio engineering and even group lessons. There is no age limit and he looks forward to helping those with autism and different types of special needs.“I will provide the understanding, patience and care needed to make these children as successful as they possibly can be,” says Ashcraft. “Simple things we take for granted every day are things they may struggle with. Yet the flip side to that coin is they can be amazing with numbers, memory, drawing, and of course, music. These kids are all incredible in their own way.” Allison Hopkins has been a freelance writer and editor in the Sacramento area since 2002. She enjoys spending time with her husband and son. She is also an aunt to four special nephews and a spectacular niece!

“I’ve seen some of the kids singing along to songs like ‘You’ve got a friend in me’ from ‘Toy Story.’ Children, who for the most part, have issues with communication... yet here they are singing the melody and giving it their best.” -Jason Ashcraft, Owner/Teacher

18 JULY 2017 sacramentoparent.com O Celebrating

25 years

Sacramento Parent July 2017  

This issue is loaded with summer fun! Speaking of summer fun, we are excited to kick-off our first-ever EDfair on Friday, July 21st! Chat wi...

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