I was first introduced to Nik when he was about 5 years old. His mother told me that he had a diagnosis of Fragile X syndrome and suffered from a high level of anxiety. She was exploring many things to enrich his life, and thought that music may be one of them. She mentioned that he was likely to sit in a corner of the room with his back to me, hands over his ears, rocking back and forth, for three sessions; then he would be OK. She was right!
As usual I just sang and played a whole bunch of songs to see how he responded, and then I noticed that his rocking pattern coincided with the rhythm of the song that I was playing on the piano, “When the Saints Come Marching In.”
Seventeen years have passed now, and Nik knows all the words to at least 500 songs that I have taught him, and probably many more that I don’t know. It is obvious he has a fabulous memory. While he still struggles with anxiety and other aspects of his disability, I received an incredible Christmas gift from Niklas on December 25th, 2020, which also was a Friday. Now Friday is one of the two days a week that he does music so I was thrilled when his mother phoned me to ask if I could do music with Niklas.
In the words of one of his favorite songs, I answered, “Always.”
Here is a video of Nik singing “Always.”