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