The Bangalore School of Music and the Art of Inclusion

The Bangalore School of Music and the Art of Inclusion



The Bangalore School of Music and the Art of Inclusion



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The Bangalore School of Music and the Art of Inclusion





The Bangalore School of Music and the Art of Inclusion

– A personal story shared by Suja Pisharody, a parent, an advocate and SRV leader

Editor’s Note: Suja is the mother of teenage Dhruv, a talented and delightful young man who is on the autism spectrum. Both Dhruv and his mother, Suja, are deeply connected to the community across India which is passionate about person-centered planning and Social Role Valorization.

30 September 2023 was a big day for us as Dhruv was going to be playing Arioso by Bach on the keyboard as part of the Baroque period concert at the Bangalore School of Music (BSM).  

DhruvThe concert started and while it was in progress, we could hear a curious little voice in the background, talking and asking questions. Very soon many heads were turning disapprovingly to look at the source of the voice, a young boy with his dad. The boy was determined to continue talking and the dad probably embarrassed by all the looks exited for a bit to calm the child.

That’s when Becky Thomas Colaco (Director, Academics and Arts and Head of the Piano department at BSM) took over.  She mentioned that we all could probably hear the little boy in the audience and while some things are in our control like switching off mobile phones (there had been some annoying ring tones going off), some are not in our control like a cough or a neurodivergent child who had come to attend the concert as his family thought this was a safe inclusive space where he could be himself.

With a few short, crisp words Becky drove the point home and the audience got a live lesson on what inclusion really means. All it took was one sensitive human being to give a voice to the countless individuals with disabilities who are judged and often denied the good things of life. I looked at her in wonder, amazed at her sensitivity and happy that my son is part of an institution like the Bangalore School of Music that has wonderful people like Becky at its helm.   

We all talk of walking the talk but how many of us do it? Dhruv joined the Bangalore School of Music in 2020 and they have always been inclusive as he gets equal opportunities to be part of their concerts. He has teachers who teach him with patience and kindness and skillfully hone his music skills. The one trait they all share is sensitivity which seems to be ingrained in the BSM culture.           

As for Dhruv, well, he was in his element and performed with abundant joy and happiness to the sounds of loud clapping and cheering from the audience.    

Yes, sometimes we do find the right people, and it is important we acknowledge and applaud them. So, here’s to the Bangalore School of Music. May more institutions be as inclusive as you.