Meet Franklin

 In Community, News

Gerry’s Music Shop has become a bit of a stomping ground for music lovers. Day after day, musicians new and old walk through our doors, just to spend some time playing our instruments or jamming with our incredible staff. We’ve built relationships with our patrons over time, and for this reason, even after the sale is final, we see these people come back again and again.

We’d like you to meet Franklin, who is one of our most popular patrons, not to mention one of our most talented. Franklin is 21 years old, a wiz on the piano, and also happens to have been blind since birth. But don’t let that fool you. Franklin is not only an incredibly talented pianist, but he’s also got a whole lot of charisma, along with a habit of absolutely mesmerizing anyone that is lucky enough to be hanging around when he starts to play.

Franklin is a student of the Berkshire Hills Music Academy (BHMA), located right here in South Hadley, Massachusetts. The mission of the BHMA is to use music to help individuals with intellectual disabilities to develop skills for community independence and employment. The programs are post secondary, and provide education around daily living, self-determination, interpersonal skills, and employment.

Music is obviously a big part of the BHMA curriculum, but it is integral for reasons beyond what you may think. Studies have shown that music engagement stimulates all areas of the brain, promoting significant opportunity for enhanced learning and retention.  According to BHMA – through their music infused atmosphere, music lessons, ensemble participation, rehearsals and performances – their students move toward increased cognitive functioning, improved communication skills, improved physical abilities and improved social skills.

BHMA is an impressive and important organization in our neighborhood, and we’re proud to share this information with all of you. To learn more about the programs at BHMA, go to their website at http://www.berkshirehills.org/.

Franklin is just one of the special, inspiring people who bring joy and smiles to everyone here at Gerry’s Music. He is a shining example of the way that music breaks barriers and obstacles, reminding us of why we do what we do!

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Thomas Bergeron