TommyThe first thing you notice about Tommy is how proud he is of his accomplishments. He can’t wait to tell you how many crates he filled at his warehouse job, or how many boxes he was able to stack. But mostly, Tommy is proud of his music. He bought his own guitar with money from his jobs, and he regularly surpasses his goals at Melodic Connections and asks for new ones. “I don’t know what I would have done without music,” Tommy says. “Music saved my life!”

Tommy has embraced our color-coded adapted guitar technique, which allows him to practice on his own. He asks staff to write the name of a song and artist for him, and write out the chords so he can practice at home, an apartment he shares with a roommate. “My roommate can’t believe I can play the guitar,” he says. “People hear me and stick their head in the door to see who it is.”

Music has created a special place for Tommy within his family. Recently, Tommy’s Dad was ill. “I brought my guitar and played for him,” Tommy said. “My Dad had tears streaming down his face, hearing me play my songs. He was so happy his son could do this.” Tommy also played an impromptu concert for his family. “My sister was so proud of me,” he said. “She kept saying: That’s my brother! That’s my brother playing the guitar!”