Musical inclusion: six tips you can use straight away
Six tips that you can put in to practice straight away when working with young people in music.
- Find out about the young person. You probably already know that the best learning is tailored to the individual. Ask them, their parent/carer, and/or another professional who works with them, what they’d like you to know about them, and what you could do, to help them to learn at their best. This will also help you to avoid assuming what they can/can’t do.
- Find out about their circumstances/condition. Use this resource to find advice and information. If you feel you need more or different help, contact the relevant agencies to see if any further training is coming up. Contact Make Music Gloucestershire because if enough people feel they need CPD in a particular area we may be able to put on specific training.
- Consider the room/setting where the learning takes place. A few changes to the room layout, contents, or where you teach, could help.
- Talk about communications preferences. For some learners, visuals or colour-coded (eg highlighted scores) resources or audio recorded or videoed materials may help. How you give instructions verbally can also affect learning, particularly for students on the autistic spectrum. Some students may benefit from knowing what they will be doing ahead of time; others by having learning broken up into small steps, learning by doing, receiving accurate feedback.
- Provide support, confidence and empowerment. Focus on what they can do not what they can’t; give specific not vague feedback (both what went well and what could be improved); listen to them and show them you respect their views/needs, giving them choice and control and personalising the learning [VIDEO] - this can be transformative for young people with low confidence.
- Make time for practical reflection during and after the session. Be aware of the student’s behaviour, body language and what they say during the lesson – as well as your own. Reflect on this after the session, keep a log/notebook, and give yourself time before the next session to consider what may have affected their learning, and what could be improved next time. Find out more about ‘reflective practice’.
Read A short guide to working inclusively – from Midland’s Arts Centre’s MAC makes music programme