February 2015 | SEND

In this month's ReadThis, we're sharing insights from the recent MEC meeting on SEND;  details of a new instrument designed to support inclusion of disabled young people;  and two case studies which highlight projects that are providing  children with special educational needs opportunities to make music in their local communities or with professional musicians.  There's also the chance to get involved with a "TeachMeet" on SEND at the next Music Education Expo or get your hands on a free copy of SEN magazine, the UK's leading magazine for special educational needs.

Over the course of this year we will be developing our Focus Groups as a way of supporting and connecting our Individual members alongside strengthening our pedagogical credentials as the subject association for music education. If anyone is interested in joining our SEND Focus Group, chaired by Diane Paterson, then please contact lucy.aldcroft@musicmark.org.uk

Case studies
Photo: Jon  Barlow
Photo: Jon Barlow

Live Music Now: the role of professional musicians in special schools

Live Music Now is a national charity set up by Yehudi Menuhin and Ian Stoutzker CBE, which has a long history of taking live music into a range of community settings across the UK. It has a focus on special schools (126 special schools hosted LMN performances in 2014). Every year, LMN recruits the most talented musicians emerging into the profession to join the scheme via an audition process. There are around 330 musicians on the scheme at any one time.  During their 4 years with LMN, musicians gain experience of delivering music sessions for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), supported by our in-house training programme. For many of the schools they visit, LMN provides pupils with their only opportunity to hear live music performed by professional musicians. Read more about the charity's Music Development programme here.

Ukelele project transforms music lessons in Wirral 

Musical Routes is the music education Hub for Wirral with Cheshire West and Chester and is led by the two local authority music services working in partnership. As part of their core roles, they have been providing whole class music lessons in their special schools.  The programs up to now have included steel pans, African drums and percussion. 
Following the change in the National Curriculum, Neil Watson, the Quality Assurance Manager for Wirral Schools’ Music Service (one of the hub partners), decided to challenge two of his special schools by changing the instrument provision to ukuleles. Hayfield School in Upton, Wirral and Stanley school in Pensby Wirral have been parties to the new project. 

Feeling Music: a project for deaf and hearing impaired children in Newham

Feeling Music is a project that  aims to normalise music making with deaf and HI children, to build up their musical skills and also to train music tutors in the London borough so that their learning is supported. Free instrumental lessons are now available for children from 28th February until 11th July.  Read more >>

Drake Music's TeachMeet: What works for music hubs and special needs provision?

Drake Music is organising a TeachMeet at the Music Education Expo next month as a opportunity to share experiences, resources, equipment and ideas connected to music hubs and special needs provision.  TeachMeets are informal gatherings whereby teachers can share ideas, presentations and approaches to a subject area. 

Drake Music's Jonathan Westrup said: "SEND is a vital but historically underserved area of work in music education. The arrival of music hubs has also heralded a new commitment to improving the quality and consistency of SEND music education in England. The sharing of good practice is essential to achieving this goal and so SEND TeachMeet events - informal CPD events, led by experienced practitioners in the field - are the perfect vehicles. Drake Music has run 6 SEND TeachMeets across the country in the past two years, including two at the Music Ed Expo, and we hope that music hubs and schools will be inspired to run similar events in their areas."

The meetup will take place on Thursday, 12th March from 12.50-13.50 pm in the Networking & Tech Zone, Barbican Exhibition Hall 2. You can read a blog post about last year's TeachMeet here and find out more about Drake Music's SEND provision here

MEC meeting on SEND

The Music Education Council recently hosted a round-table day for experts in Music and Special Educational Needs and Disability primarily aimed at discussing:
  1. Inward looking within the sector - sharing good practice and the professional development needs of the music education sector; and
  2. Outward looking beyond the sector –influencing policy and funding during the next parliament – UK wide and country-specific. Read more >>

Free Understanding SEND workshop

Surrey Music Hub are providing opportunities for professionals to learn how to develop accessible music opportunities for children and young people. The Understanding SEND workshop on 10th March will be an  introduction to disabilities with particular reference to music workshops. By the end of the session, attendees will:
  • Understanding the nature of disabilities such PMLD/ASD/Global Delay etc
  • Learn more child protection and safeguarding issues and how music can be transforming for these groups. 
The workshop is suitable for new or experienced music leaders and peripatetic teachers so to book your place please visit our website for more details. 

Free Skoog webinars

The Skoog is a new musical instrument specially designed to meet the needs of teachers, therapists and carers working with students with physical disabilities, cerebral palsy, visual impairment, intellectual disabilities, autistic spectrum disorder and communication difficulties. Commissioned by NESTA and created to support inclusion of disabled young people in orchestral and group music making activities, the hand sized, squeezable USB device allows users to ‘play’ a wide range of instruments, including traditional brass, woodwind, percussion and strings. The Skoogmusic website is now offering a monthly programme of free training webinars to get to grips with the instrument; the next sessions take place on 4th March and 23rd March at 3:30pm  and can be booked online

Try SEN Magazine for FREE

SEN Magazine is the UK’s leading special educational needs (SEN) magazine. With extensive news coverage and authoritative features from across the spectrum of SEN, it is essential reading for all education professionals. The magazine includes regular features on music and the arts, looking at subjects such as music therapy, the multi-sensory benefits of music and performance, and using music to help those with profound learning difficulties to communicate. Find out how to claim your free copy >>

Introducing The Oc® 

Robust, responsive, rewarding and musical –
The Oc® is the simplest of musical instruments and enjoys great success with all pupils, including those with special educational needs and disabilities.
The reasons are manifold: a gentle breath produces a pleasing sound ­– from single notes to sophisticated tunes; only the two strongest fingers on each hand are used – the least dexterous can change the pitch of the notes and play musically; the ocarina ‘code’ involves pre-reading skills – opening understanding of pitch, rhythm and the ‘language of music’ to everyone. For more details e-mail music@ocarina.co.uk  or visit www.ocarina.co.uk
Next month's ReadThis will be focusing on Schools; if you have any related projects, resources, events or case studies you would like to feature, please e-mail matilda.egere-cooper@musicmark.org.uk by 16th March. 
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