Autistic Dundee musician needs to raise £8.7k for top US jazz tuition

A Dundee teenage drummer who has autism is launching an 11th-hour appeal for the final funding which will let him fulfil his ambition of becoming a jazz drummer after winning a place at the world’s most prestigious music college.

Ciaran Roberts-Osterberg, 19, has three weeks to find the final £8,700 funding or he will not be able to apply for a student visa.

Ciaran Roberts-Osterberg, 19, who won the scholarship to study for a Bachelor’s Degree in music performance (drum set) at Berklee College of Music in Boston has three weeks to find the final £8,700 of the £57,000 needed for his first’s year’s fees or he will be unable to apply for a student visa.

Author Ian Rankin, who donated £500 earlier this week, is among those who have made donations adding to the grants Ciaran has been awarded from various trusts to help him pay for the first year’s tuition.

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College officials have said that if Ciaran progresses well during the first year of the four-year course there would be a good chance of him being awarded a scholarship.

Ciaran, who was bullied while a pupil at Grove Academy in Broughty Ferry, was advised by a teacher to seek sanctuary in the school’s music department at lunch times to escape his tormentors. His ability emerged after a music teacher noticed he was playing instruments, without having received tuition, and told his mother her son was very highly talented.

Christina Roberts-Osterberg, Ciaran’s mother, said: “I’ve seen Ciaran feeling unhappy and rejected, told so many times he wasn’t good enough. Being accepted to Berklee is probably the first time he’s been happy consistently in his life. It would break his heart and mine if he couldn’t go to Berklee.”

Grammy-winner and Berklee alumni Antonio Sanchez, one of the world’s top drummers who also composed the music for the ‘Birdman’ (2014) the movie starring Michael Keaton, Emma Stone and Naomi Watts, has written a personal letter of recommendation to go with the fund-raising effort.

“Being accepted to Berklee show how talented and extraordinary Ciaran is as a musician. This is a massive achievement for him since Ciaran is autistic and was told, because of this, he would never be able to achieve a university place, let alone one at a top school. He has proven that his autism will not stop him from achieving his dreams.”