The Story of Mary & Jewels
The inspiration behind Simply Music Gateway
Meet The Harrisons
Mary Harrison gave birth to her son Jewels in 2001. At 3 years of age Jewels was diagnosed with Autism. Growing up and on a daily basis, Jewels faced the complex and relentless challenge of not being able to communicate with his family. The Simply Music Gateway Program changed that for them. This is their story.
At age 3, Jewels was diagnosed with Autism. Soon after, Mary enrolled him in music therapy sessions with Karen Nisenson, founder and director of Arts for Healing, with the hopes of improving his ability to communicate. Karen worked with Jewels to address his difficulties with speech and language and his inability to use his hands.
At age 9, Karen started formally teaching Jewels to play piano. The initial goal was to have him sit still and get his fingers to work. As expected, the lessons were successful, and Jewels’ fine motor skills improved quickly. He began improvising, and learning to play both classical and popular songs with ease.
At age 11, Jewels began taking Simply Music Piano lessons with local teacher, Jeanne Whiting. Using Simply Music’s playing-based method, he was able to expand his repertoire and vastly improve his existing skill set. Seeing how perfectly Karen’s methodology paired with that of Simply Music, the idea to marry the two and create Simply Music Gateway was born.
By the age of 13, Jewels and his family were experiencing the profound impact that the Simply Music Gateway Program had on his life. Since then, Jewels has served as a source of inspiration to children, teens, adults and seniors who are dealing with the complexities associated with learning differences, communication, self-expression and cognitive impairment.