By Morgan James
Jason Nutter is a talented musician who not only shares his passion for music with audiences from Coachella Valley to Los Angeles, but with children and adults with special needs and of all abilities. An accomplished singer/songwriter, Jason has performed with multiple bands including some heavy hitters during his time living in Los Angeles and still performs currently every week at The Hard Rock on Hollywood Blvd as well as at The Village Pub in Palm Springs. For the last ten years however, Jason has eagerly devoted his time teaching music to children and even founded a non-profit to benefit these children- Music Heals. This Spring Jason will open his own gallery/studio right in the heart of the downtown Palm Springs strip dedicated to the children of Music Heals. I sat down with this ambitious, heartfelt musician to get the scoop on his music, his non-profit, and the new gallery/studio.
CVW: Where can our readers find you playing music and how you are promoting the local music scene?
Jason Nutter: “I have been a promotor for 20 years, and working with children of all needs through music therapy for 10 years, I have played music all my life and lived in Hollywood and played with big names, but I am a resident now of Palm Springs and have been playing at the Village Pub for 3 years on the patio every Friday from 6pm – 9pm. It is just me with an acoustic guitar and I invite guests to play with me sometimes. I have had guys from L.A. Come play with me and it’s just a trip for them because the desert is a totally different world. Now I am booking Tuesdays for original local artists at the Village Pub as well to build that scene, plus a few other venues from Redlands to L.A. I also play in Los Angeles at The Hard Rock Cafe on Hollywood Blvd. I do their dinner set. Then I am in a few different bands- California Rude Boy, Burnout Brothers and the Tequila Hounds. I really get my fulfillment through working with the kids. Right now we have a big show coming up that I am producing for my students in Banning so that is taking up a lot of my time.”
CVW: How does your organization work and who do you teach?
JN: “Music Heals is a non-profit organization which I created one year ago. It is tax exempt so people can make donations or donate instruments to the kids. I use that to raise funds for the music programs that I do at the schools. I usually teach 15-20 kids at a time and I bring in these boxes of instruments filled with shakers and guitars and everyone gets an instrument and everyone dances and sings and we all have a great time. I usually teach a class consistently one a week. I have great success with autism, down syndrome, and kids of all needs. I also work with mentally disturbed kids who are owned by the state. Music calms everybody and really works for a lot of the ones I teach. A lot of times with autistic children their parents don’t know that they might be naturally musical and also what is so great about autistic kids is that they learn music at the same rate as non-autistic kids. I was teaching a 9 year-old autistic girl who barely spoke and who always curled into a ball. I gave her some drumsticks and taught her how to count tempo and rhythms and she is now playing on stage a full drum set. She talks a little more and she smiles and she is happy. She plays with me at some of my gigs and she never puts those drumsticks down.”
CVW: Do you only teach children?
JN: “I am trying to raise funds to teach adults of all abilities at San Gorgonio Mental Health in Palm Springs every week. It is like a day club where they can go and hang out. I have volunteered there a few times and played music for them and they love it. I bring my box full of instruments too and one guy will say ‘I used to play guitar’ and so I will hand one to him to play with me.”
CVW: Tell me about the gallery/studio that you are opening up this Spring?
JN: “I am opening a studio off of North Palm Canyon Dr. for everybody to utilize- musicians near and far, and parents can bring their children with special needs for music therapy with me. I won’t have a lot of time for a lot of classes, but I will be bringing in other teachers. It will also be an art gallery wherby the proceeds of the sales will benefit Music Heals. You can buy a piece donated by the guitar player of The Rolling Stones for example.”
If you would like more information on Music Heals or to hear Jason Nutter’s music, please search the links below: