Applications are now being accepted to a new one-day course which will help teachers to assess the needs of children in their music service.
The course, which will be held on 28th April 2023, is being delivered by a partnership of Birmingham City University (BCU) and OHMI. It will take place at BCU’s campus in Edgbaston.
It follows an initial pilot in the summer which secured an Arts Council National Lottery Project Grant as part of Phase 3 of the IAMM (Inclusive Access to Music-Making) Programme.
A total of four participants completed the pilot training which included exercises to assess the child's ability to weight bear, and explore their fine and gross motor skills and breath control.
Delphine Evans, who undertook assessments with children from Northamptonshire, explains how her role has benefitted from the training,
“Having worked as Head of Music in a secondary school for five years and for the music services (in Stockport and Tameside), I am very aware of the real-life challenges facing children who live with a disability.
The training not only gave us the opportunity to familiarise ourselves with the kit we would be using to assess the physical needs of the children – particularly their use of digits and fine motor skills – it was also particularly helpful in improving our communication techniques. Listening back to recordings of my online sessions was really useful because it made me more aware of the language I use, and how to phrase things more positively – for example, focusing on what the child can do as opposed to what they can’t.”
The training will help deliver on the Government’s ambition to be doing more, collectively, to level up musical opportunities for children with special needs ambition (following publication in June 2022 of ‘The Power of Music to Change Lives – A National Plan for Music Education’).
It starts with all schools and music services considering the needs of their disabled pupils before they choose an instrument for whole class participation. Opting for the ukulele, for example, may seem inclusive; until a child presents without a digit or digits. There are alternative options, and with forethought and forward planning, there is a much different outcome.
It was not long after the training that Delphine had the opportunity to see for herself the difference that access to the right equipment can make. When a pupil presented with quadriplegia caused by cerebral palsy, the school’s initial solution was that someone could hold her trumpet for her. Being fully conversant with the equipment available through OHMI’s Instrument Hire Scheme, meant that Delphine could request a trumpet stand to enable the girl to play independently.
Rachel Wolffsohn, OHMI’s General Manager, adds,
“Our new training course – and the awareness it raises of solutions – is a big step towards a better understanding of each individual child’s needs.
We’d like to encourage music teachers across the country to take up this training so that more disabled children are matched with the right instruments and enabling equipment for their particular requirements, and are given a better opportunity to participate fully in music lessons.”
Anyone interested in finding out more about the training can do so at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/introduction-to-music-making-for-physically-disabled-children-tickets-506594637197