From our work with children and adults with all types of disabilities across Scotland, we know the powerful impact music has on the body, mind and spirit!
As well as the sheer enjoyment and sense of well being, playing an instrument or singing has well proven impacts on confidence and communication skills and can reduce the feelings of lack of self esteem and isolation that disabled people often experience.
Here are just a few examples of the difference our work has made to 1100 disabled children and adults in 2015/16….
1. Increased confidence and aspirations
“Liam went from informing me that he might not be able to participate “because of my disability” and having to have every action prompted in the performance in March to confidently changing the set ups on his instrument and prompting others when required in the June concert.”
Danielle’s mum told us that music making had made a big difference to her confidence. Her story was captured by BBC Breakfast and the short report can be viewed here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-37523461
2. Reduced isolation and loneliness
Our packed Musicspace timetable of rehearsal and recording sessions for 9 different bands from Heavy Rock to folk gives disabled musicians access to weekly rehearsal sessions where they have made strong friendships with each other and their families have also made connections resulting in other social meet-ups away from the studio.
3. Developed communication and social skills
“Max went from being silent and nervous to engaging well with everyone in the group. As the course went on, he could prolong eye contact and developed an increased awareness of others within group situations.”
4. Increased independence
R has severe cerebral palsy and uses a switch (computer mouse-like object) to control music software and play and compose music. Over the year we worked with R on a new switch which responds to pressure and enabled her to play with more dynamics and a larger range of tempi. In addition, R has learned how to use two switches (one for each hand) at the same time which gives her more independence when playing.
5. Access to further education and work experiences
100% of students of the 2015/16 Accredited Music Technology course (Pathways) went on to further education and work opportunities – 60% have gone on to further education (including full-time study at Perth College and Edinburgh College) with 40% taking on work/ voluntary experience (including Royal Lyceum Theatre and North Edinburgh Arts Centre).
6. Working as a team
“At first everyone wanted to play the drums so the Drake Musician tried separating the drum-kit out so everyone had one piece of the kit each. Although, the participants were initially happy that everyone could play they soon realised it wasn’t as much fun than playing the whole kit at one time. They learned it was better to take turns in their group.”
“It’s very exciting and the kids have done a great job at working the music out together as a team. It has been a great project for them socially as a lot of the kids did not know each other at all or very well, before this and I feel that they have been empowered by playing instruments and sounding great.”
“I was trying to get L and J to look at each other when they are playing so they don’t get sucked into their own sound which is where the music falls apart as they disengage from the room. I turned the drum kit around so it faced the electric guitar stand and amp so they didn’t have a choice but look in each other’s direction! There was a really lovely moment when they were playing together (exceptionally well) and they clocked each other in the eye and started smiling and laughing whilst playing! There was such joy and connection!”
7. Improved focus and concentration
“Some of the group ran round the room playing everything loudly for 30 seconds before moving quickly to something else. I eventually got them to do a warm up with me and got them to breathe as part of a vocal warm up and these long calm breaths helped them to focus.”
“Some participants were still having difficulty with concentration and listening to each other, but we have started to listen to new songs (although older in genre/style such as Nirvana, Metallica, Slipknot etc.) together and then we are copying them and playing them together. They significantly improved their listening skills and began to understand the difference of playing together in a band to playing solo.”
“Over the weeks, I have seen a huge increase in the length of time (now up to an hour) which Lucy can hold her concentration in each session.”