GIVE provides the gift of guitar lessons

By Tessa Harding

Brand Engagement Manager

16 year-old Joseph Martin has always dreamed of playing guitar in a band. And thanks to a GIVE Program grant for guitar lessons, that dream can edge a little closer to reality.

Joseph began weekly guitar lessons at Classic Sounds Music School in Kelmscott last year, but after two terms the family found that they couldn’t afford to sustain the lessons long-term.

Seeing the benefits that learning to play the guitar had provided, Joseph’s Therapy Focus Occupational Therapist, Melissa Athanassiou helped the family apply for a funding grant through Therapy Focus’ GIVE Program so that the lessons could continue.

“Guitar lessons have provided Joseph with a meaningful leisure activity that he looks forward to each week. Not only is it allowing him to develop a new skill that he is interested in, it is also providing him with new social interactions” said Melissa.

“Since attending the lessons, Joseph has been more motivated to share his experiences in social settings and his confidence is growing.”

Melissa said the guitar tutor, Dicko Green was experienced with students with learning disabilities, which made it a good fit for Joseph, who has an intellectual disability.

“Dicko has provided a supportive environment, opportunities for Joseph to practice his social interactions and – most importantly – joy through learning,” she said.

Boy holding guitar sitting next to teacher

Pictured: Guitar Teacher Dicko Green (L) and Joseph (R)

Joseph’s father, Raymond said that Joseph loved the guitar and developing his technique meant a lot to him.

“When he stopped the lessons, he tried to teach himself how to play on the iPad, but he really struggled. Now he’s back at Classic Sounds he has improved a lot and after his lessons he gets out the iPad and practices,” he said.

Raymond said that the consistency of weekly lessons with a calm and patient tutor had been great for Joseph.

“He’s fantastic now and I love sitting there and watching him play. He picks up the guitar and goes into his own little world. It has helped him to be much calmer and happier and he’s become a totally different person,” he said.

“We are so grateful to have had the lessons funded through the GIVE Program and to have Melissa’s support.”

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