Special Programs

Research has demonstrated the power of music and dance to promote healing, improve mental and physical well-being and enhance the quality of life for those dealing with physical ailments or disabilities. Here at NMS, we have begun expanding our programming to include new music and dance applications in partnership with several leading organizations.

Noteable Women/Men

This program is provided under a contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
NMS was very fortunate to receive a $12,000 contract from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for the 2013-2014 VSA International Young Soloists: Music for Every Student.
The Music for Every Student programs are designed to give students with disabilities, ages three to 22 the skills to develop their musicianship, to participate in a musical ensemble and to receive individual and/or group instruction. This contract has facilitated the expansion of last year’s highly successful NoteAble Women project. In addition to continuing to work with Chapel Haven students to create original songs for performance, this year we are offering DoSo guitar at the Boys and Girls Club and supporting the work of our on-site teachers (who are currently teaching students with disabilities in individual instruction, ensembles and classes) through evaluation and professional development.

Vintage Voices

In Fall 2008, NMS was recognized as one of nine schools across the country to be selected for the Creative Aging Initiative, a multiyear program supported by the National Guild of Community Arts Schools in partnership with the Metlife Foundation. The objective of this initiative is to bring the physical, cognitive and emotional benefits of arts participation to a mature population. The initiative provided training and resources for NMS to implement Vintage Voices, a now highly popular participatory program for adults ages 60+, led by NMS faculty members Ingeborg Schimmer and Tracey Albert. This fun and engaging program involves participants in singing and modern dance in a group class setting. The program is now funded in part by a grant from Pfizer and is offered on a continuing basis as part of our academic year course offerings. Refer to Adult Group Music Classes for schedules and more information.

Dancing with Parkinson’s

Beginning in 2009, NMS also began offering a new program called Dancing with Parkinson’s, led by NMS faculty member Laura Richling, with support from the Yale Community and Beyond Parkinson’s Support Group and the American Parkinson’s Disease Association of Connecticut, and funded with generous support from an individual patron. Based on the Dance for PD™ program of the Mark Morris Dance Group in Brooklyn, N.Y., this class offers people with Parkinson’s and related neurological disorders (along with partners and caregivers) the opportunity to explore and create movement in a variety of dance styles. No dance experience is necessary and walkers, canes and wheelchairs are welcome!

Classes are offered at three Connecticut locations:
Mondays, 1:30-2:45 p.m. (excluding holidays)
Middletown Senior Center, 61 Durant Terrace, Middletown
Instructor: Laura Richling
Contact: lrichling@neighborhoodmusicschool.org

New Haven
Tuesdays, 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Fall 2014-15 session: 9/30, 10/14, 10/28, 11/11, 11/25, 12/9, 12/30, 1/13
First Presbyterian Church, 704 Whitney Ave., New Haven
Instructor: Laura Richling
Contact: lrichling@neighborhoodmusicschool.org

New London
Wednesdays, 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Third floor, west studio, Crozier-Williams Student Center, Connecticut College, New London
Instructor: Rachel Balaban
Contact: rbalaban@neighborhoodmusicschool.org

This class is a collaborative effort. Rachel Balaban and Laura Richling have trained with the Mark Morris Group and are knowledgeable about specific techniques, muscle relationships, balance and rhythm. But the class is also about learning from each other. All are encouraged to share and enjoy the class together.  (It should be noted that the focus of this program is about artistic and creative expression and the enjoyment of social interactions with others experiencing similar challenges. While many may experience health benefits or the alleviation of symptoms, this program is not intended to be a therapeutic offering.)

For more information, please contact:

Laura Richling, dance administrator, at lrichling@neighborhoodmusicschool.org

To learn more about the approach, see the following article.

For coverage on PBS NewsHour, use this link.

And for an article about one of our affiliated programs featured on NBC/Hartford, click here.