Artist Training Program

A poster for the artist training program: A violinist plaing on stage with a pianist for a group of people.

Xenia Concerts Artist Training Program

We started this project for one simple reason: they don’t teach this stuff in music school! Musicians train for thousands of hours to hone their craft, but don’t necessarily learn about the diverse considerations that go into planning an accessible, neurodiversity-friendly performance. We are filling that gap.

In partnership with Erin Parkes, PhD, Xenia Concerts developed a neurodiversity-focused Artist Training Program. 

The training helps artists understand a diverse spectrum of abilities and sensory experiences so that they can design events that are inclusive and welcoming for neurodiverse audiences. Our long-term vision is to offer Xenia Concerts Training to artists and arts organizations across Canada who wish to make their concert experiences more neurodiversity- and disability-friendly.

Program Overview

The training program includes three main components:

  • 3.5 hours of pre-recorded webinars
  • A one-hour synchronous discussion session with Erin Parkes and Rory McLeod
  • A guidebook on how to design and deliver accessible, inclusive musical programming

Artists learn about…

Barriers to Inclusion: Challenges that prevent or dissuade participation in music performance for neurodiverse populations and those with disabilities, including physical, sensory, geographic, attitudinal, and financial barriers.

Language and Disability: Exploring various models of disability; understanding the importance of language use in the disability community; how to approach language issues with respect.

Basics of Common Diagnoses: Outline of the characteristics of diagnoses through a strengths-based lens, including autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, learning disabilities, FASD, and more.

Creating a Supportive Sensory Environment: Understanding differences in sensory processing for neurodiverse populations; adaptive strategies to support diverse sensory needs in the environment and concert program.

Communicating with Clarity: Discussing both verbal and non-verbal communication techniques to engage concertgoers with varying communication support needs.

The Adaptive Concert Experience: What to expect from the audience; managing the unexpected; balancing structure and flexibility.

Creative Engagement through Performance: Ways in which performers can engage with audiences with diverse needs through adaptive interactive activities.


Erin Parkes, PhD, Founder of The Lotus Centre for Special Music Education

Rory McLeod, Executive and Artistic Director of Xenia Concerts

Learn More

Want to learn more about the Xenia Concerts Artist Training Program or join an upcoming cohort? Contact Executive and Artistic Director Rory McLeod at or 647-896-8295.


Thanks to Our Supporters

This program is offered with support from our developing partner TO Live.