Youth-led Virtual Forums co-hosted with Kennedy Center VSA April 3-4, 2023
In April, From the Top and its Learning and Media Lab will team up with the Kennedy Center’s Office of Accessibility and VSA to produce two nights of virtual programming:
- Open to the Public: Musicians with Disabilities Panel, April 3 at 7pm Eastern. Julia LaGrand will facilitate a conversation with Adrian Anatowan, a violinist and arts advocate who was also the first person with a limb difference to attend the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music, and Cristina Jones, a soprano who began her musical training in the Johnny Mercer Children’s Choir at the Braille Institute. Panelists will discuss how they have navigated their own careers, how disabled musicians can take the lead in crafting their own narratives, and how to make disability disclosures and request accommodations.
- Disability-Only Space: Networking Event, April 4 at 7pm Eastern. Young disabled and/or neurodivergent musicians will gather to further explore the themes of the previous night’s conversation. Organizers hope that attendees will experience an affirming sense of community and benefit from open dialogue around personal experiences.
Communications accommodations including ASL, CART, and recording will be available for both events; registration is required and is available through VSA here.
Learning and Media Lab, February 28 – March 27, 2023
All four performers featured in the national performance special will also participate in From the Top’s Learning and Media Lab, an online curriculum that continues to invest in young musicians featured on the show. This educational space offers opportunities to explore life as an artist, meet professionals, and connect with disabled and non-disabled peers. Previous cohorts have learned from guest speakers including Davóne Tines, Emi Ferguson, Jazmín Morales, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Michael Thurber, and Kevin Olusola, who shared their knowledge on topics ranging from “Storytelling and Vulnerability” and “Creating Media: Preparing for Studio Recording.”
Daily Joy, a video series on social media in March 2023
Daily Joy was created with the belief that music, especially in the hands of young people, has a unique capability to bring joy to people’s lives – even on social media. In March 2023, young disabled and/or neurodivergent musicians will tell their stories in their own words. These musicians include Nicolette Marie Sullivan, a 20-year-old autistic violist currently studying at New England Conservatory in Boston, who feels she can communicate more fluidly with music than with words or body language, which can prove challenging to process.