Video of Teacher Playing Piano Alongside Man With Autism Proves Power of Music

David Alexis, a musician and teacher based in NYC, plays the piano alongside a man with autism in this heartwarming video.

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Complex Original

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A heartwarming 30-second video of a New York City music teacher playing piano alongside a man with autism has united the internet behind one universal truth: the power of music simply can't be denied. David Alexis, a 27-year-old professional musician and educator, has garnered thousands of likes and retweets since first sharing the video last week.​

Music is transformative. Music session for adults with autism and we made magic.

— David Alexis (@dalexismusic) May 20, 2016

The video is part of a larger music therapy program Alexis offers for adults with autism and other conditions.​ "Activities engage adults in multiple methods of music production," Alexis told Complex in an email Thursday. "In this instance, [the] young man had an ear for music. I taught him the chord progression by rote while singing and leading the others." The two are seen in the viral clip performing an excerpt from the classic 1972 O'Jays track "Love Train."

All work by hand without the opportunity for playback sans laptop. Consider supporting ❤️🎼🎼

— David Alexis (@dalexismusic) May 6, 2016

But piano isn't Alexis' only gift. "Piano is not my main instrument,” Alexis told Complex. "My competency is limited to accompanying myself and students when needed.  I am a graduate of Berklee College of Music where I also am a faculty member in the 5 Week Performance Program."

Rehearsing my arrangement for #BlackHistory at my college @MCNYalumni #HugAProfessor #EmpoweredToEmpower

— David Alexis (@dalexismusic) April 23, 2016

Alexis has worked with both children and adults in a variety of settings, from domestic violence centers to LGBT shelters. "No matter your functioning, music can be an avenue of communication and engagement," Alexis added. "The young man in the video demonstrated musical skill on par with college students.​"

I miss my 2nd graders. They were precious #hugamusicteacher

— David Alexis (@dalexismusic) May 20, 2016

For more on how music and the arts help those struggling with autism, peep the video below:

View this video on YouTube


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