The Story of Mary & Jewels
The inspiration behind Simply Music Gateway
Meet The Harrisons
Growing up, Jewels Harrison and his mother, Mary, faced the challenge of not being able to communicate with each other, and subsequently, connect. Simply Music Gateway 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 of the lessons was to have him sit still and get his fingers to work. The lessons proved to be 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 the playing-based method, he was able to expand his repertoire and 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.
Now, at age 13, Jewels and his family have seen the profound impact the Simply Music Gateway program can have on a child with special needs and serves as a great source of inspiration to anyone trying to overcome these difficulties with learning, communication, or self expression.