“This was one of the best conferences I have been to for a long time. Great balance of practical activities and talks.” On 25th May, Cymaz Music held a conference at Newquay Sands Resort, for teachers, educators, musicians and those interested in using music and creativity to support the emotional and mental health of children and young people. This was funded by Youth Music under a Fund B programme. Working in partnership with HeadStart Kernow, the Virtual School for Children in Care, RAAS, Cornwall Music Education Hub and Carefree, the day was a balance of presentations and practical workshops.
Cymaz Music believes in the power of music to support emotional, psychological and physical health and wellbeing, particularly for our most vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people. With more than 16 years of experience, Cymaz Music has an extensive bank of knowledge and understanding about supporting children and young people through music. Our work spans community settings, AP academies, mainstream schools and crosses the education and health sectors. At our very core is a commitment to inclusion and access. ‘Ways In’ was a chance to share and highlight some of our working practices. Nearly 40 delegates from across Cornwall came to Ways In, representing a range of Primary and Secondary Schools, Health Schools Cornwall, Voluntary Sector Organisations and LA departments.
“Networking for me should be done more regularly. Fantastic day, would like to do more if I could.”
The morning presentations were from Richard Head (Headstart Kernow) and from Ellie Baker, UKCP registered Integrative Child Psychotherapist. Ellie has 28 years of experience in the field of Education and Emotional Literacy, Psychotherapy and Psychology working with adults, adolescents and children. She is a Lead Trainer for the Thrive approach which is being rolled out in Cornwall as part of Headstart Kernow. Ellie captivated the delegates with her considered and highly engaging overview of neuroscience related to children and young people with interrupted development. She explored and demonstrated the impact that music has on the brain and how it can assist with rebuilding neural pathways. This encapsulates the whole ethos which has underpinned Cymaz Music for many years and it is particularly exciting to see it illuminated in more mainstream environments and accepted as standard. It wholly embraces and endorses a child centred approach which uses creativity to encourage self-expression, exploration and development. In particular, Ellie described what happens for children in fight, flight or freeze mode and how having traumatic events in their lives leads to poor connections in their brain. Their nervous systems are working overtime, flooding the brain with stress hormones such as cortisol. This is not conducive to learning.
The rest of the conference was divided into practical workshops. These were;
· Ways In to using technology
· Ways In using ice breakers, warm ups and supporting Young Leadership
· Ways In to creative composition
· Ways In to reducing stress and cortisol levels through Mindfulness and Music
Workshops were led by Cymaz Music with support from Matt Harrison (Big Bang Music and BSO), Cornwall Music Education Hub Young Leaders and Carefree. Each workshop stimulated discussion, thoughts and ideas from delegates and gave them practical ideas to take away.
“Many things to action plan into the whole school approach.”
Our intention with Ways In was to provide an overview plus practical ideas to support whole school or organisational approaches to using music and creativity. We believe that music isn’t just for the music classroom and that it can be used more widely across other areas of school and outside of school environments.
“Very helpful. Great to see some practical ideas and think about links between music and other areas in terms of holistic development.”
Many of the school delegates reported that they would be able to take ideas to inform their whole school thinking. “Knowledge gained will help us develop approaches in many areas – Thrive, class music, music leadership and wellbeing of children and staff.”
Cymaz Music believes that Music has the power to connect communities. Music breaks down barriers, is a universal language and something innate in all of us. We have been working for 16 years to bring together those from across different sectors and settings, to work more collaboratively, to share resources and ultimately to improve the offer for children and young people. This has helped make a difference to musical inclusion across Cornwall, ensuring better access to provision for some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people. At Ways In we shared just a very small handful of some of these successes.
“Really lovely hearing personal stories of success, really well presented, excellent session, amazing people.”
“A wonderful day filled with fantastic workshops.”
“Amazing day. Thought provoking. I loved the young people involvement.”
“Fantastic day – varied and stimulating, brilliant! So glad I came.”