Live Music for All: Jordan Fogle ‘25g studies sensory-friendly concerts

As a graduate student in music therapy, Jordan Fogle ‘25g has spent a lot of time thinking about a fundamental challenge in this line of work: Some individuals who stand to benefit the most from the healing properties of music, including those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and people with sensory difficulties, struggle to fully participate in live events that are not designed to accommodate them. 

Prior to coming to SUNY New Paltz for the MS in Music Therapy, Fogle was working for the Autism Society of Texas on how best to accommodate these populations while still putting on a great show.  

“I got the sense that there was no uniform guidance for how to put on a sensory-friendly concert, so as an organization, we decided to put on our own concerts to see what worked for us,” he said. “It seemed like a good opportunity to provide suggestions for others on how they can create accommodations.”  

Now, Fogle has published some of his early findings and recommendations in Voices, the open access journal on music, health and social change, earning a peer-reviewed publication while still progressing toward his master’s degree.  

In “A Change of Plans and A New Venue of Possibility,” Fogle and his collaborator, University of Texas at Austin professor Laurie Scott, outline best practices for hosting a vibrant, sensory-friendly performance that all musical groups can adopt.  

“I’m hoping we can help people organizing a sensory-friendly concert make discoveries on how to do it based on our findings,” he said. “I wanted to map out a path where I could play music and work with people, which are the two things I’m most passionate about.”  

Fogle, who in addition to his scholarship also performs as Blood Sugar, was drawn to New Paltz in part because of its lively DIY music culture.

“The music scene here is incredibly strong,” he said. “You start to appreciate music in a new way when you’re here, because you’re hearing all these local live bands, and the energy is infectious.”  

Now as a student at New Paltz, he has gained an appreciation and understanding of how this community’s values are expressed in song.

“There’s not only a real love and appreciation for music here, but also great interest in humanistic healthcare,” he said. “There is a strong atmosphere, both on and off-campus, for supporting human-centered and creative approaches to healing.”  

He’s looking forward to a post-graduation career in private practice.  

“I want to take all I’ve learned through this program and continue working with people,” he said. “The goal is to have a pop-up music therapy clinic, where anyone can come by, and we can work to help them heal through whatever they might be going through.”  

Click here to learn more about New Paltz’s Music Therapy graduate program