Unlocking a Voice

Tessa was a selective mute who would communicate primarily by using hand signals… That is, until she was exposed to the music program.

People often talk figuratively about how music and songwriting give them a voice. A voice to express their ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

In the case of 13-year-old Tessa, music gave her a real voice- a tool to communicate- in a much more palpable way. You see, Tessa was a selective mute who would communicate primarily by using hand signals to answer yes or no questions. Tessa would spend a lot of time isolated, with her headphones on.

That is, until she was exposed to the music program at her Boys & Girls Club.

An inclusion specialist noticed that Tessa enjoyed listening to music and took her for a tour of our Music Clubhouse. According to her Music Clubhouse Director, “She lit up as she walked through the doors, and since then, she essentially hasn’t left!”

To the staff’s delight, Tessa has started singing and communicating through songs!  She experiments on instruments, can sing and play piano simultaneously, and likely has perfect pitch.

Just as impressively, her musical awakening has helped her progress in so many ways. Tessa successfully transitioned into the Club’s Teen Center, and, says her Music Clubhouse Director, “she has blossomed into a social butterfly, giving high fives to the staff every day as she walks into the Music Clubhouse.”

Tessa’s inspiring story shows us how music truly does have the power to change lives.