Hannah Marcoe

Music/arts organization
Organization/Affiliation (no abbreviation): 
Nashville Opera
Nashville, TN 37209
United States
Short biography and a description of your interest(s) in music and health: 
Nashville Opera’s All-Access Opera offers evidence-based toolkits for creating special, modified opera performances that bolster accessibility for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other learning differences. It is the first program of its kind in the country to be documented for replication in other communities.

All-Access Opera evolved from a 5-year collaboration with Vanderbilt University’s TRIAD (Treatment and Research Institute of Autism Spectrum Disorders), in which supports were developed to enhance Nashville Opera’s annual educational tour to schools. The All-Access Opera toolkit includes storyboards teachers can use to help children understand the opera’s plot and process the many emotions opera can evoke; social stories that outline the experience of attending an opera; and tipsheets on how to set up sensory-friendly performances with details such as creating a quiet space for students who need a break during the show. The easy-to-use toolkit comes with online training and can be implemented into existing educational programs.

Based on survey results and teachers’ feedback, Nashville Opera now has conclusive evidence that the All-Access Opera toolkit helps not only children with special needs, but ALL children including English-Language Learners. The user-friendly toolkit caters to a variety of learning styles, promotes understanding, creates a more positive learning experience, bolsters reading, and helps children stay engaged—all while supporting teachers.