by Author JKnight

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Sounding Out: a Toolkit for music leaders working with deaf children

Creative Futures

Creative Futures publishes a free Toolkit for music leaders and teachers working with deaf children.

Creative Futures has now completed its three year Youth Music ‘Fund B’ project with primary and secondary deaf children, called ‘Sounding Out’. 3 schools (2 specialist secondaries and one mainstream primary with a deaf unit) were involved in the project, receiving in total more than 200 workshops. 16 music leaders were involved in delivery and our partners included Music and the Deaf, local Music Education Hubs, and researchers from UCL.

At the end of ‘Sounding Out’ our music delivery team met to reflect and share ideas on the overall success of the project. The collective decision was made to document our findings and share our research through a toolkit which is freely available to teachers and music practitioners looking to work with deaf students. One of the key elements for us was that the toolkit illustrate what we noticed as being the main differences between making music with deaf children, compared to hearing children.

We highlighted specific moments that occurred during the sessions which changed our perspectives as practitioners and which became the foundations on which we built the activities employed during the course of the project. For example, we observed that the children were very visual based learners and so we created musical games based on clear visual cues that all the children could follow (see previous related article in this blog).

The toolkit consists of two sections, a theoretical guide and a practical section with activities accompanied by videos. The theoretical guide is intended to help teachers in areas such as communication, working environment and examples of potential difficulties that can arise during sessions. It also highlights two key areas of learning (inclusion and the relationship between music and movement) that underpin the activities. The practical section includes step-by-step guides to creating activities such as warm ups, musical games aimed at improving musical skills, and main activities. The video examples support the practical elements and provide visual based learning information.

The process of writing this toolkit has been a fantastic opportunity for us to go deeper in our way of teaching and has allowed us to shape and improve our methodology and approach. To have a framework that better informs our learning and decision-making will give us a platform to provide better musical education opportunities for deaf children in the future, and we hope will encourage other music practitioners and school teachers to embed more music in their teaching of deaf children.

The toolkit has been written by Tiziana Pozzo (leader of the weekly sessions) and Dr Kathryn Mason (UCL), thus giving the Toolkit input from two different perspectives: leader and researcher. Both were present at the sessions, allowing them to observe the children from different perspectives as well as monitoring their changes and development over the course of the project. This led to a continuous discussion about the musical approach, and gave the delivery team greater flexibility when trying out different methodologies. This regular insight helped provide the foundations on which this toolkit is based.

The Toolkit can be found on the Creative Futures website here

 

Tiziana Pozzo,

Julian Knight

Creative Futures, 2018