Music - Marching to a new beat

8th March 2013 at 00:00

What it's all about

There is nothing quite like the moment when the penny drops with a pupil, opening the door to greater achievement. But creating such inspirational moments for pupils with special educational needs in a class of mixed abilities can be challenging, writes Anthony Anderson.

For example, if the general task is to complete a group composition from a written stimulus, it is important to ensure it is accessible to all pupils. Be sensitive, alert and willing to make radical changes to your planned lesson. Seamlessly using approaches that give all pupils confidence is the hallmark of sensitive teaching:

- If pupils are writing musical terms on the board in front of the group, divide up tasks (idea generators and scribes) and ensure any with dyslexia can contribute.

- If pupil demonstrators are working with the teacher to bring improvisation alive, use keyboards in different locations around the room to overcome mobility issues. Everybody should have a voice.

- Hone in on the special musical skills that pupils have, especially those you do not possess. If someone plays a different instrument from you, seek instruction from them. That can turn the tables and build their confidence.

- Think about noise. Try to create moments that suit all learners: quietness to reflect on work for those who find the environment overwhelming; energy and activity for those who need this stimulation.

For pupils with special needs, music lessons should provide opportunities to express creativity. With careful thought, music can break down barriers.

What else?

Sounds of Intent is a musical learning framework that enables assessment of musical engagement for those with learning difficulties. bit.lySoundsOfIntent.

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