Reflective notes after 3rd session working with children in care. We are already seeing progress!
A great improvement was noticed from the previous session, which upon reflection could be down to environment, session content and music leader practice:
- Location: North Bristol
- Date: 30/01/2016
- Number of Attendees: 2 music leaders (1male, 1 female), 1 trainee(female), 2 Young Musicians (female under 10).
- Ages of Young Musicians – Under 10.
Upon arriving at the venue it was slightly distressing to realise that the usual room we use had been double booked (agh!). I had already received confirmation from a carer that 2 children were definitely coming so we definitely would not want to let them down by cancelling. We managed to find another suitable room within the same building, whilst obviously taking into consideration many points which are on the risk assessment regarding security and safeguarding.
It just so happens that this new space was ideal for the two young musicians we were working with. This room was smaller, so there weren’t so many distractions. These two particular young musicians who found it especially hard to concentrate in the previous session got a lot more ground covered this time which I believe is related to the room size. It is something which we had discussed after the previous session. There is so much space with lots of distractions in the other room that we had discussed sectioning it off more than we had done already – which looks as though may well make a difference as we suspected if this last session is anything to go by. This room (about the size of a small meeting room) was great for this session, but, if more were to join the group, I feel it may be too small.
Session Content & Music Leader Practice.
To uphold focus from the offset we encouraged group warm ups and games. From conversation we had had with the young musicians before starting the session we discovered that the girls like animals so we incorporated animal games/noises/warm ups which they engaged in immediately and found quite funny which helped to build good group dynamic and showed the music leaders understanding of the young musicians starting point as something to build on – we delivered activities in a manor to their needs at the start of the session.
We put together a set list with the main input coming from the young musicians as their views are integral to sessions. This session had more structure and clear intent from the outset which proved much more effective for these particular young musicians, though by no means not letting them have artistic or creative input, but just help supporting them to stay on track. The music leaders understood, recognised and nurtured the young musicians musical development by taking time to show them how to play simple parts of their chosen songs on instruments including: Keyboard, ukulele and percussion. One fo the young musicians who found it especially hard to focus in the previous sessions sat down and stayed focused for long enough to learn the theme tune to “Men in Black” on the keyboard. This was an amazing achievement and well celebrated. The younger of the two directed the group which showed the beginnings of great leadership skills.
We did film the session (with carers permission) and the girls, having the focus of working towards an end product really enjoyed and flourished using this tool, they maintained focus, knowing the had something to work towards (and of course loved watching themselves back). We also encouraged them to look at the videos and see how they could improve and what they feel they did well which seemed to also work very well.
The music leaders showed great musical competence throughout the session by learning requested material on the spot, breaking it down and teaching/encouraging young musicians to have input into the arrangements.
Upon reflection from this session I would say the environment is extremely important to delivery of the session with an end goal/outcomes and structure but with plenty of room for creative input