Transforming Communities

Musical Inclusion at the NI Science Festival

Join Live Music Now for an afternoon of inspirational presentations and discussion around inclusive music-making for children and young people in special school settings.

Tuesday 21st Feb 1-4pm at Stranmillis University College
Part of the NI Science Festival

Over 3,000 children and young people in special school settings across Northern Ireland are exploring music making, and gaining new skills as a result of working with local musicians through Live Music Now.

Supported by the charity, professional musicians engage staff and pupils to facilitate music-making including the use of apps and other accessible tech.  The programme is making a huge impact on the lives of the students and their families across the region and will be the focus of an event at this year’s NI Science Festival.

Professor Adam Ockelford will discuss the importance and benefits of inclusive music making within the school setting as part of the Festival on 21 February at Stranmillis University College. Professor Ockelford has dedicated years to studying how children with a range of needs intuitively make sense of music, and how 1 in 20 children with autism may have absolute pitch, compared with 1 in 10,000 of the population. He’s also the creator of the widely acclaimed Sounds of Intent framework of musical development.

Ahead of his visit, Professor Ockelford has said;

‘Music is brain-food for children – especially those with complex needs – helping them communicate with others, understand the world and, above all, have fun! I’m delighted to come to Northern Ireland to explore this further and hear more about the work happening here.’

In the last year, Live Music Now reached just over 3,000 children and young people in 17 special schools across Northern Ireland, equating to 48% of the total school population.

Discussing the importance of the programme, Alice Lewis, National Director for Live Music Now in Northern Ireland, said;

“Music is a uniquely accessible way for children and young people of all abilities to express themselves, interact with others, develop confidence and self esteem, and simply enjoy themselves. Our programme places professional musicians in special schools to facilitate music-making and to support teachers to embed music in every day learning.”

“We’re delighted to welcome the inspirational speaker, Professor Ockelford and share insights from our programme.  This is a great opportunity for teachers, musicians, practitioners, music therapists and anyone who works, or would like to work, in the field of inclusive music-making to share ideas, network and get hands on with some popular apps. Parents of children and young people are also welcome.”

Staff from Beechlawn school in Hillsborough who are currently hosting a residency with a Live Music Now musician will also participate to showcase the impact the work has had on the school community.

Commenting on the benefit of inclusive music making to school children, Music Coordinator Caroline Harris from Beechlawn school, said;

“The programme has been an amazing success, and has helped our children at Beechlawn school gain a passion and practical insight into music in our everyday lives.  We have really enjoyed working with our musician and gaining an understanding of the benefits and accessibility of music making for our children. It has literally transformed some of their lives especially helping them with engagement, and communication.”

Gary Day from Garden of Music, who has extensive experience of using tech to facilitate accessible music-making and is a trainer and mentor for Live Music Now, will present examples of current, free online apps for making music and iPads will be available for hands-on demos with Live Music Now musicians.

The Musical Inclusion event hosted by Live Music Now will be held on 21 February 2023 in Stranmillis University College 1-4pm.  Tickets are free through NI Science Festival. To book, click here.

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