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Classical 101

Watch: Music Therapy at Columbus' Bridgeway Academy, Part I

Brady, age 8, works on speech through song with music therapists Liz Woolley and Tanya Corso at Bridgeway Academy in Columbus.

Recently I had the opportunity to observe music therapy classes at Columbus' Bridgeway Academy. Joining me for the visit were WOSU intern Sean Flynn and digital producer Emily Thompson.

In honor of National Autism Awareness Month, we created a series of posts and videos highlighting the work being done at Bridgeway, showing the positive effects music has on the lives and development of kids on the autism spectrum. This post is the first of three.

Bridgeway is housed in the former Medary Elementary School building, off East Hudson Street, not far from the Ohio State University campus. The school, formerly Helping Hands Center for Special Needs, was founded by Erin Nealy and Abigail David in 2005.

Today, Bridgeway serves over 100 kids on the autism spectrum, from age 3 to 16. Academics are accessed often via speech and music therapies designed to improve cognition and socialization.

Bryce, an engaging 6-year-old who has perfect pitch, shows his prowess on the drums and treats us to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata.​ He also sings and plays a wooden percussion frog while working with music therapist Pam Richardson and speech therapist Kara Stull.


Brady, age 8, works on speech through song with music therapists Liz Woolley and Tanya Corso.

When Brady first started at Bridgeway, he was nonverbal. Watch how music gives him language:


Classical 101 celebrates National Autism Awareness Month through April with this series of videos of music therapy at Bridgeway Academy. Music uplifts and unlocks children on the autism spectrum and their friends. Stay tuned for more videos here on the Classical 101 blog.

Christopher Purdy is Classical 101's early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.