How do you make Musical Inclusion work in a diverse community? Where, as is often the case, this is also an area of high socio economic deprivation, where access to resources and opportunities is limited and schools are working with multiple nationalities and cultures in each class. Where young people who are shy, who lack confidence or who struggle with the language aren’t developing skills at the same rate as their peers, despite the best efforts of their teachers.
‘Musical Inclusion – Making it Work’
A series of films sharing practice, reflections and experience of Musical Inclusion from Teesside.
Making it work…in a diverse community
Myplace Middlesbrough has been working with Breckon Hill Primary School where 68% of the young people have English as a second language and there are over five different nationalities in some classes. They have developed a model of ‘after school-out of school’ provision where teachers have been bringing young people to Myplace after school for a weekly music session. Myplace provided transport to and from the sessions, ensuring that all young people could take part and benefit from the Myplace facilities. They have been singing together, playing instruments in the Myplace studio, performing in the theatre and learning music theory along the way. Involvement was voluntary with numbers growing week on week.
In the film Music Leader Jenny Dixon talks about some of the challenges of engaging such a diverse (and lively!) group and teachers highlight the significant effect the project had on developing young people’s personal and social skills as well as their musical interest and understanding Wendy Kelly, Myplace Manager, also talks about the role of Myplace in supporting young people in and through music.
What we learned:
Think about the resources you use – A keyboard might initially have been unfamiliar, even daunting , so Jenny explained chords using a piece of equipment recognizable to all - her mobile phone! Using every day technology to de-mystify music and introduce theory kept things simple and maintained interest.
Start with what young people know and are comfortable with – rhythms were introduced as ‘fish and chips’, ‘ice cream’, then moved on to notation – which the young people quickly grasped.
Young people love to perform – ‘Open mic’ sessions in the Myplace foyer, with performers supported by the Music Leader and volunteer on guitar and drums were a great success and kept the young people enthusiastic and engaged.
Music inclusion can help young people overcome challenges and bridge cultural diversity - Young people who were shy gained confidence. Teachers saw this sustained at school where young people interacted better with one another and were more motivated to learn
Young people want to learn to play ‘real’ instruments – guitar and piano being top of the list by the end.
‘Music Leaders and those supporting young people can learn and develop together and learn from each other’ (www.musinc.org.uk/musinc-essentials/musinc-principles) Jenny was one of our ‘Breakthrough’ musicians and started with little previous experience. She was working alongside teachers from the school and youth resource workers from Myplace, and quickly developed the skills and knowledge she needed.
Watch 'Making it work'…with young offenders here
Watch 'Making it work'…in an area of rural isolation here
Watch 'Making it work'…in a pupil referral unit here
Watch our compilation film, which includes elements of 10 projects commissioned by musinc, here