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December 06, 2018

Video of teacher & student with Down syndrome singing 'Chasing Cars' goes viral

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A music student with down syndrome impresses in a viral video as he plays the harmonica and raps to the tune of “Chasing Cars.”

Alex is a 27-year-old student with down syndrome who proved to the world that his musical ability supersedes his disability, according to his music teacher, Robert Mullen. 

Mullen, who dedicated almost two decades to teaching special needs children in New Zealand is a music enthusiast who decided to venture into cultivating his students’ interest in music.  

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One of his musically gifted students is Alex who started taking guitar lessons under him. According to Mullen while speaking to CBS, it only took two lessons for him to realize that Alex was musically inclined.

“I started to discover he had far more potential and we started exploring with his song writing and then vocal training and any other way to channel his creativity."

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It was during one of their sessions when they were about to pack up that Mullen discovered the depths of Alex’s talent. As he often did at the end of their sessions, Mullen spontaneously jammed with the young man and recorded it on video. The tune he chose was Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars.” While Mullen was strumming his guitar and mouthing lyrics to the song, Alex brought out his harmonica and played along. At one point, he stopped and started rapping using his made-up lyrics. 

This impressed viewers who saw the clip after Mullen uploaded it on Facebook. The clip reached over 16,000 views and this also spiraled into more requests from covers from the duo. They’ve been invited to perform around their community too as a result. 

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Mullen is blown away by the response to Alex’s video that he’s looking into expanding his studio to accommodate other students who want to be mentored by him in music. 

“I currently have four students and a few more lined up for next year. I am working more with people with learning disabilities, or who have low self-esteem, and using music and creativity to help them both express themselves and grow within their personal development.”

For Mullen, it’s the reaction of his students that makes his work worthwhile.  

“Seeing the joy on [their] faces always makes me smile and brings me joy,” he says. 

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A JOYFUL CHILD WITH DOWN SYNDROME

Like Alex, many kids with down syndrome have drawn attention to themselves due to their amazing capacity to overcome their disability.

One such kid is one-year-old Exton Black, who, apart from having down syndrome, was also diagnosed with a congenital heart disease. Exton proved to be a miracle after having successfully undergone an open heart surgery at three weeks old.  He now depends on a ventilator to breathe but that didn’t keep him from becoming a YouTube sensation with his impressive dance performance of the hit song, “Baby Shark.” He was visibly joyful in the clip that went viral as he wore a Halloween costume, a shark of course, and danced energetically to his viewers’ delight. Exton is a ray of sunshine to his family, proof that his syndrome and his disease won't keep his spirit from soaring. 

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