Synthesize Me! has been a very informative project for the music facilitators and learning disabled musicians in The Carousel House Band. Exploring the work of Daphne Oram and Delia Derbyshire has been fascinating and has given context to the creative work within the project. The technology we have trialled has been well received by the learning disabled musicians.
I believe it is important to embed current technologies in project work. Many apps and software packages offer an inclusive experience to learning disabled artists enriching their musical experiences and providing new and exciting challenges and possibilities.
Here are some quotes from The Carousel House Band members and students from St Johns College:
On the music App ‘Musyc’:
‘I think its great fun to use, so many sounds that you can hear and so many different shapes as well you can use’
‘I think its fun to play with the tablet and also to try and make different sounds’
‘I like the music app its fun to play with, its easy peasy!’
‘Musyc app with trumpet sound, I like the modern jazz sound’
On the music App ‘Bloom’:
‘It’s a good app to use, I like to look at the colours. It makes me feel happy’
‘The mood of this app is kind of dreamy. When you press it, little circles with colours come out and it makes different rhythms, so it's really nice’
‘It sounds like a rainbow!’
On delivering workshops in an SEN school by house band members:
‘We are going to St Johns College to share our music skills. I’m making everybody proud like my parents’
‘This activity is very new to me because I haven’t done it before but we’ve been working together to make different rhythms for this project. We have worked hard and now we are teaching music getting everyone involved’
‘I’m excited, I can show the students how to play the instruments well’
‘It makes me feel happy’
Feedback from a parent of a learning disabled band member:
'She is delighted to be part of the Carousel house band as she is very musical and this provides her with a welcoming and appropriate outlet to express herself. It gives her the opportunity to engage with a wider circle and she has gained confidence in sharing her abilities at the workshops. As parents it gives us peace of mind that she is being well looked after by staff who have experience and enthusiasm for working with people who have learning disabilities. When so many opportunities are being cut or just aren't there in the first place we are incredibly grateful that she has this unique opportunity. Thank you!'
Feedback from St Johns SEN college students participating in the music workshops led by the carousel house band:
‘My favourite was the drums and the Theremin’
‘I enjoyed recording, my favourite is the keyboard’
‘I did really enjoy doing some crazy moves playing with the Theremin’
‘I was listening and focused on the music’
Feedback from St Johns SEN college music dept staff member
‘The Carousel team presented a professional and exciting workshop at St John’s College where all learners were involved in a broad range of engaging tasks. The activities were excellently planned and differentiated for our learners who enjoyed taking part in warm ups, creating and recording found sounds and exploring a wide range of musical apps. The level of engagement and feedback from learners was excellent and the end result was of a very high quality. In addition to the workshops, we were given a thorough guide to all apps used and some guidance on how to use them best. The whole experience was inspiring, not just to our learners, but also to myself as a teacher and we are left with some exciting ideas of how to use music technology in our college.’
A big thank you to Ambache Charitable Trust, Youth Music and Arts Council England for funding this work.
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