With funding from John Lyon’s Charity LMN's South East branch is delivering a three year project that aims to offer children with SEND a better quality of life through sustained involvement in music making and have a lasting impact on both their musical education as well as their personal development and wellbeing.
We just completed Year 2 of the grant which has focused delivery in all six Ealing special schools working in partnership with Ealing Music Service. Between December 2014 and June 2015 over 600 children took part in 60 music sessions.
Some schools preferred to have participatory performances for the whole school from a range of LMN ensembles from classical, world, jazz and folk genres, often linked to assembly sessions. Others also requested intensive workshop based music projects linking to themed curriculum content. At John Chilton School we ran an intensive project providing musicians from West and North Africa to support wider classroom based activity on the culture, food and geography of the region. This was a huge success as described by Sue Hardy, teacher at the school:
"The instruments played were so unusual, and it was a new experience for everyone. We have several pupils from West and North Africa, and they were so delighted to hear music they identified with. The pupils loved the spinning hat of Simo – they wanted to copy, and many did with their hair! Lovely interaction during the many call and response songs that they did, and the energy level was high! They really copied the words and tune well."
A week after the final event, the pupils are still singing Afla’s call and response songs they were taught last week – one is the leader, the others are following, and this is in the corridors as they move around the school! During the workshops pupils had such fun on the drums, joining in and copying rhythm patterns. The dance/acrobatic moves were admired and applauded. There was lots of inspired jumping after watching the moves! The pupils are wondering now where the musicians are. They have got so used to seeing their new friends around school, and they are missing them!
The musicians from Live Music Now are not just hugely talented musicians, they all have a wonderful way of communicating with our pupils. This project has had a huge impact on the learning of the pupils, and the pupils at John Chilton School would like to thank John Lyon’s Charity who gave funding for the events.”
Evaluation shows that the project in all the schools involved has met the two core project outcomes of increasing musical development, knowledge and skills and improving social and emotional wellbeing. They have also supported the additional outcomes of developing physical movement and control; building confidence and self esteem; providing enjoyable and joyful experiences; and gaining a sense of achievement ultimately through the creation and performance of their own musical works. Schools have reflected on their overwhelmingly positive experiences of LMN musicians and what they perceived to be the added value of LMN:
“Everyone here at Belvue would like to say how amazing the experience with LMN has been, and how much of a positive impact the different styles of music has had on the students too. There has not been a day where the students have not been excited for the LMN performances. After each of the performances, the students have come up to the musicians with nothing but positive feedback, explaining how much they enjoyed themselves, and asking if the LMN groups could come back again. Music at Belvue has certainly come alive this year. ” Steven Lee Belvue School
“The musicians were very good with our children, the leader presenter talked to them in a clear and enthusiastic way. They demonstrated their instruments, let certain children play the percussion box, smiled and played lively music. Everything was just right – short and accessible. The performances enable or children to experience and enjoy live music. They get to see, hear and learn about instruments and music that they would not otherwise be able to.” Paul Stephenson, Castlebar School
“They had a wonderful rapport with the pupils engaging with children at just the right level, knowing how to communicate and engage with them. The musicians were interactive at all times and adapted their performance to the pupils individual needs.” Julie Cassidy, Mandeville School
“Our music provision is very little at the moment due to the lack of a music teacher, so this is a valuable experience as it is extremely hard for our students to access music concerts beyond school, particularly for those students with challenging behaviour or extreme medical needs.” Sara Doherty, St Anns School
“We do not employ a music specialist, and so this regular musical opportunity provides a first hand, therapeutic and enjoyable event for all autistic learners to benefit from. We are very keen to continue this link – great impact on individuals, brings the school community together and offers something new and different that we cannot always offer.” Cathal Owens, Springhallow School
We would also like to thank our volunteer evaluator Misako Ishiwari who has extensive experience of music and Arts Education programmes for children in Japan and is currently studying at MA in Culture, Policy and Management at City University London. Our SEND Strategic Director, Karen Irwin, developed a draft Evaluation Framework and Observation Form that Misako to piloted in the schools that she visited.
Photo Credit: Gnawa Ying perform at John Chiltern School. Gnawa Yinga are Simo Lagnawi: Guembri, Qraqeb, Djembe; Abdoulaye Sanfo: Djembe master and Afla Sackey – Djembe.
Photography by Ivan Gonzalez.