Learners use our unique combination of studio technology to create music without needing them to learn an instrument immediately. This means it can be used by anyone, regardless of their ability or special educational needs. Using recordings from artists they like, and adding beats and effects means it doesn’t take long for them to create something themselves, bringing a sense of achievement and pride, as well as building their confidence. This then spurs learners on and leads to personal growth and development.
We have been delivering Music Therapy to our learners for five years and in that time we have seen how it reduces anxieties in young people, works to raise mood and lift symptoms of depression. We have also had learners who begin to learn guitar and other instruments because of their growing self belief, whilst also being better motivated in other subjects.
I first met Carl around two years ago and he immediately showed an interest in learning to play the guitar. In order to ensure he’d get a session every week he chose to stay after school once a week to have a lesson during his own time. Carl had a guitar lesson every week and got an acoustic guitar from his Mum for Christmas after I’d been tutoring him for a couple of months. Each session I’d give him bespoke pieces (according to his musical taste) to practice at home to learn for the following week.
Carl went from complete novice to a guitarist competent enough to sight read tablature (guitar music) leading to him accompanying a singer at a local festival. Carl suffered from social anxiety and also self-harmed however these sessions and learning guitar had a stabilising effect upon him which helped get him through year 10 and 11 finishing his GCSE’s. During the festival, his Grandad came up to me to shake my hand and thank me for helping Carl and spoke glowingly about the positive difference he’d seen in him.
Ben started Music sessions a few months ago, he presented as lacking in self-confidence and having low self worth.
However, in the music sessions we were able to counter these negative self-doubts by engaging him in creating pieces that he really loves. The act of being involved in a process that gives form to ideas to then generate music that sounds great can be such a reaffirming experience.
Ben has been able to download these ideas as mp3’s to his phone and can then play to his Mum. It would be clear to anyone seeing Ben leaving the sessions just what a positive effect they have on his self esteem.
I first met Tom in year 10 and saw him once a week until his finishing year 11. Although at times he could present as aggressive and intimidating this was a costume he’d wear to mask his low self-worth. He’d been diagnosed as suffering from an anxiety condition.
He often found himself being excluded due to his disruptive behaviour and refusal to stay in lessons. He left at the end of year 11 without having taken any exams.
However, he had a fantastic singing voice and would engage in the music sessions recording lots of renditions of famous songs which he made into cd’s and gave to family members; friends/pupils and teachers/staff at the school. Whilst actively engaged in something he enjoyed and was good at Tom would show a really thoughtful, caring side.
School and Tom were not a great fit and he had a difficult time. However, if you were to ask any professionals there to advocate a positive about his time at school they would all point to his engagement and what he achieved in the music sessions. Moreover, it is possible to evidence this by the wonderful recordings he made during them.