Eytan’s favorite song to play is Your Song
Enjoy this video and the story behind it!
Eytan has loved playing piano his whole life. He banged away when he was little and then enjoyed figuring out songs like Twinkle, Twinkle from the music books with multi-colored and numbered keys on the bottom that played notes. We bought him a keyboard when he was about 5 and he spent hours on it figuring out all the different notes, rhythms and instruments he could get out of this new toy! Soon he was playing the songs he had learned from the books on his keyboard. Although autism caused his language skills to be limited, it certainly didn’t impair his ability to relate to and communicate through music.
The first music therapy Eytan had at Giant Steps School in Connecticut was at age 8 with Dori Berger who told us that Eytan had perfect pitch and even today she continues to use video tape she took of him playing the bells because his skill was so amazing. At around age 10 or 11 Eytan was working with a music therapist named Susan Davis who was using Elton’s John’s song in her session with him to work on his vocalization skills. One day she sent a note home to me in our communication book and told me to ask Eytan to sing “Your Song”. When I asked him, he walked over to our piano, sat down and played it while he sang!!! We were shocked. I called Susan and said “You didn’t tell me he could play it!” She responded – “I didn’t know he could play it!” It was then that we realized that any song Eytan knew in his head, he could play. Over the next several years the number of songs Eytan could play kept growing and growing and he really enjoyed playing for other people.
It was only 3 years ago that we started Eytan with actual piano lessons for the first time. He has a wonderful teacher, Karen Nisenson from Arts for Healing who is both a music therapist and a very talented piano player. She has been a perfect match for Eytan and has taught him to read music and has given him the language skills to go with many of the things he instinctively knew. For example now you can ask him to “transpose a song into E-flat” and he knows what “tranpose” means and he knows the names of every key. His music repertoire has increased to include several classical pieces as well.
Eytan had always played “Your Song” in the key of C and that fit the vocal range of an 11 year old. But after I made a video tape of Eytan playing “Your Song” we realized that he really had to find another key to sing in at age 25. We went online to find a video of Elton singing it and I asked him what key Elton was playing in and without even hesitating a moment he said E-flat. How does he do that??? I asked him if he could play “Your Song” in E-flat and he walked over to the keyboard and just did it. No sweat!
Eytan’s ability with music amazes me every day. We have a piano or keyboard in almost every room of our house and he spends a lot of time playing. He has a job entertaining most of the pre-schoolers in our town from the public school program and from a local church. He also plays at a nursing home. It is so wonderful for him that he has something that he enjoys so much, is good at and that he can utilize to communicate with and give to others who appreciate him.
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Susan Nisinzweig Susan@EytanArt.com 203 637-3144