Nashville Symphony Goes Sensory Friendly

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Nashville Symphony launches its first sensory-friendly concert for kids, and you can win tickets!

Nashville Symphony presents its ianugural sensory-friendly concert for children this month. “Reach for the Stars” takes place Saturday, March 25. Conductor Vinay Parameswaran leads the Nashville Symphony in an afternoon of music that includes classic works from Shostakovich, Beethoven and Sibelius. Further, the orchestra will play “Jupiter” from Holst’s The Planets along with movie favorites from John Williams. Williams tunes includes the Star Wars main title, “Flight to Neverland” from Hook and “Superman March.”

The entire experience comes in a friendly format for children with autism and other sensory issues.

What Makes “Reach for the Stars” Sensory Friendly?

The concert experience features a trained staff, booster seats and flexible seating. Kids can sit where they want, and it’s OK for them to move around the concert hall.

A local boy enjoys a hands-on introduction to the trumpet during the Nashville Symphony’s musical petting zoo at the Schermerhorn.

There’s also a “no shushing” policy during “Reach for the Stars.” Children can be vocal, and there will be quiet spaces available in the building for those who may need to get away from the noise.

“The lights will be a bit brighter than usual during the concert,” says Kelley Bell, Nashville Symphony’s education program manager. “While the Symphony isn’t playing anything much softer than it would normally be played, the program was selected to avoid too many sudden loud noises,” she adds.

Special Staff Training

To prepare for “Reach for the Stars,” Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s TRIAD (Treatment and Research Institute for Autism-Spectrum Disorders) provided training sessions for Symphony staff, volunteers and musicians. To better interact with children, Nashville Symphony personnel received education on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), terminology and appropriate language, communicating with an individual with ASD and more.

In addition, Nashville Symphony also has a downloadable visual social story to prepare kids for their concert experience — “We’re Going to the Symphony!”

Come Early for More Fun

Just like the Symphony’s Pied Piper Series for kids, “Reach for the Stars” includes free pre-concert activities, so be sure to arrive at 2 p.m. Kids can explore a variety of crafts and get hands on with instruments through the musical petting zoo. Further, the event includes a resource fair featuring other local organizations that provide sensory-friendly activities and programming.


Nashville Symphony presents:
“Reach for the Stars”
Saturday, March 25 at 3 p.m.
Tickets start at $15
615-782-4040 or


Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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