“Sound Stories” – Music workshops for children with additional support needs.
Following on from the Music and Emotional Literacy Pilot project in 2009, I was asked to devise a course of Music workshops for Primary aged children who, for a variety of reasons, were unable to benefit from the mainstream music activities available at school.
The programme is now in its sixth year in East Lothian where it has been running in a total of 10 Primary schools. After a pilot project in West Lothian in 2016, 4 new schools in Livingstone and Bathgate hosted “Sound Stories” projects in 2017.
The course comprises 8 workshops lasting over a full school term. Headteachers select up to 12 pupils from the middle to upper Primary who they consider will benefit most from the intervention. The work aims to engage pupils in music making by encouraging them to explore their emotional responses to music.
The sessions involve working as a group to devise and perform our own music, providing great opportunities to learn and develop skills in collaboration, turn taking, active listening, sharing and self-expression.
We explore the use of music in film and television, learn how music helps to communicate ideas and tell stories, and finally create our own story with musical accompaniment which is performed to another class.
Both staff and pupils have commented on the positive impact of the sessions on self-esteem, confidence and emotional well-being.
Evaluation comments from Primary Head Teachers:
“The YMI project conducted by Dave Trouton at our school has had a very positive impact on several areas of the health and well being of the children involved as well as making a contribution to their future learning.
Dave had a very pleasant manner with all the children and was able to gain their trust and respect in a very short time.
He managed to build up a very positive rapport with each of the children involved and they were able to relax and fully engage in the music activities that he had to offer. Working in small groups was very beneficial for some of our vulnerable children.
The class teachers noted that there had been improvement in concentration in some of the pupils that attended, especially xx, xx, xx, xx, xx.
Other children, especially xx, xx, xx, xx, and xx seem more confident in the way that they relate to their peers and are more willing to contribute to group tasks in the class than they were previously.
One boy in particular has never smiled as much as he did when working with this group.
Through listening to various excerpts of music portraying different moods and emotions they were able to explore various feelings—but from a safe distance without it feeling too personal. In small groups they felt secure enough to ask questions and discuss things without feeling the pressure of answering in a full class.
They openly discussed with their class teachers what they had being doing at their sessions and were very proud of their final performance. They loved putting musical instruments to go along with the story and this really helped their confidence in music and they were able to feel ‘we can do this!’ ”
“This was a fabulous project which gave the pupils involved an opportunity to experience achievement and show the skills they had learnt to an audience.”
“At times some of the behaviours were challenging but Dave managed to overlook these and strived to build up positive relationships with the pupils. The pupils were engaged and motivated and were extremely enthusiastic about performing to a wider audience. It was lovely to see how some of these children had grown in confidence and worked well as a team.’
” Fabulous work done with my P7 pupils. They were excited to participate each week and were buzzing when they returned (to class). A valuable self-esteem and confidence building experience.”
Further information is available on request.