I am most unfortunately, tone deaf, but does this stop me from having a good sing a-long with my class every day? Never! Especially with the powers that are ‘youtube’.
There is plenty of evidence to support the fact that Music therapy is a very successful means of communication for children with SEND, and today I thought I’d share a bit of my research into it over this wet bank holiday 🙂
Music therapy helps pupils who find it difficult to communicate with the world around them. As music is non verbal, it allows learners to connect with the world around them using music. It allows the pupil to communicate in their own personal way. First of all, you are able to develop the listening skill, and the process of listening. Some pupils may like to take their time to respond to the sounds they hear, and some may respond to a quicker pace, but music is so adaptable; loud, quiet, slow and fast there is a sound for everyone. Watch your learners as they share a response with you, and over time, do they share the same response? Can you then develop vocalisations and sound making? Intensive interaction can be developed with the use of the sounds initiated by the pupil, and developed into a turn taking activity. With a more able learner, might the song stimulate speech or signing?
Music may encourage social skills, which may link in nicely with any PSED targets you have for your pupils. Music can be a nice way to lead a whole class activity, where every pupil still benefits from it. Music is also an inclusive subject, so try mixing your sensory learners with higher functioning pupils in your school, and see how they respond to each other. Encourage social skills such as; turn taking, waiting, listening, eye contact (with other pupils, not just adults) and expression of feelings. All of these are so important to our learners, which means we can justify why our classrooms are filled with the sound of music!
I’m a big advocate for physical activity, and music is a fabulous way to get pupils moving and developing independent movements. Develop fine and gross motor skills with a variety of interactive play activities. These could be with just the exploration of the instruments, as you encourage learners to reach and grasp for the beater, or you could develop movements with interesting props that brings the piece to life. Encourage pupils to stand (with or without frames), or walk where possible to the beat and develop co-ordination. As ever, there will no doubt be a physical target that can get ticked off in this wonderful music session!
You may use music as part of your daily routine to help the pupils understand what is happening next, and within this you probably deliver most of the ideas and targets suggested above. You may introduce new songs to your curriculum topics, which then link Music too every subject on your timetable. With clever cross curricular links, you can use music to show pupil progress in Literacy, Cognition, MFL, PE, ICT (if you don’t know about it, google ‘soundbeam’) …. and it won’t stop there!
Music is just an amazing tool, and if you are lucky enough to have a musical staff member in your turn then use their strengths, and if not, you tube will never let you down! So this summer term, let’s get the tunes out, and give our pupils ample opportunities to develop their ever important skills 🙂 Enjoy! I know I will!