by Author JKnight

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Sounding Out: the latest update to a Toolkit for teachers and music leaders working with deaf children

Following the success of its initial three-year Youth Music ‘Fund B’ project with primary and secondary deaf children, Creative Futures has now completed a further phase of its ‘Sounding Out’ project, working with deaf primary school children in London.

The original Toolkit was published in 2018, to document and share our findings through a freely available resource available to teachers and music practitioners looking to work with deaf students. The newly-updated toolkit provides teachers and music practitioners with further activities and ideas to inspire their music making with deaf children.

The new-look toolkit consists of four main sections; musical concepts, movement, teaching a song, and composition, all with accompanying activities and videos. It also includes a guide to advise teachers who are new to working with deaf children, in areas such as communication, the classroom environment and examples of how to navigate potential issues that may arise during sessions.

“Musical concepts” focuses on teaching key musical concepts such as high/low, fast/slow, and loud/quiet. This section includes a selection of activities designed to give teachers ideas about different ways to introduce and play with musical concepts in their classes. 

The “Movement” section covers the role and importance of different forms of movement (completely free or rhythmical, structured and descriptive, that produces sound or not) with children in reception to year 3, and those in year 4 onwards.

“Teaching a song” breaks down the process of teaching a new song, including how to choose an appropriate song with regards to range and complexity. This section also covers singing in languages other than English, including sign language and/or gestures in songs, and information about alternative augmentative communication (AAC) and inclusive music technology.  

Finally, the “Composition” section provides a range of approaches to teaching composition; from the use of rhythm cards and sound-painting, to creating soundtracks for film and animation.

The new videos and activities have been included alongside the original toolkit videos and activities, expanding the bank of information and ideas that we can now share with other teachers and practitioners.

The Toolkit was written by Tiziana Pozzo and Phoebe Osborne (the leaders of the weekly Sounding Out sessions) and Kathryn Mason (a Researcher at University College London), thus giving the Toolkit input from different perspectives. The collaborative process of writing the toolkit enabled us to reflect on different musical approaches and what we found worked well or not so well, allowing us to expand on the original toolkit with further activities that we have developed over the past 6 years.

The Toolkit can be found on the Creative Futures website here

Kathryn Mason, Phoebe Osborne & Tiziana Pozzo

Creative Futures, 2021