Berkley music therapy studio gives everyone a voice

With some very high-tech help, music therapist Graham Rockwood helps artists create sounds without needing the use of their hands or feet.

- "When I was in school they told me that I wouldn't be able to do music or anything," says Jesse Sparks. He has cerebal palsy and other developmental delays, and has always wanted to ray. "It's all about proving people wrong. You might have challenges but you can still do what you need to do to get where you want to be."

The DMAN Music Therapy Studio in Berkley is helping Jesse prove those naysayers wrong. The studio is a one-of-a-kind, barrier free studio that gives everyone a voice. With some very high-tech help, music therapist Graham Rockwood helps artists create sounds without needing the use of their hands or feet.

"In the DMAN music studio we focus on achieving two things. We want to increase clinical goals, and achieve clinical goals for people, and make awesome records," says founder Ziad Kassab.

The "D" in DMAN stands for Danny Kassab. In 1993, this 7-year-old little league baseball player was hit by a car. His spinal cord severed and he was then paralyzed from the neck down, but his family made sure Danny never quit. 

Before passing at the age of 24, Danny dreamed of recording rap music but his breathe was limited because of his ventilator.
 
"We edited out the sound of the breath. We put a beat behind it, and there was a moment, this look in his eyes, that was like, 'Wow. This is what I would sound like if I didn't have this machine,'" Ziad says. It's a moment of his little brother's he would never forget, and it's what he works to recreate every day at the DMAN studio.

The group even has a signature song. They hope when it's performed and people listen, all barriers are gone and everyone is connected through the music.

They're holding their annual fundraiser on Friday, Oct. 16 at the Lafayette Grande in Pontiac. Tickets are still available. You can learn more about DMAN and the event at www.mydman.org


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