ABRSM now offer a comprehensive set of guidelines on their website for candidates with special needs who want to take Graded Music Exams:
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Resources and Courses
ABRSM offer the Performance Assessment as an alternative to their Graded Music Exams in acknowledgement of the fact that 'an exam is not always the most appropriate kind of assessment'. Participants can play their own choice of repertoire and come away with a written report containing constructive comments and advice from a member of the ABRSM examining panel.
Drake Music have created accessible singing resources that Sing Up member schools can download from the Sing Up Song Bank website. (For Sing Up membership details, click here.) These resources are designed to fully involve SEN/Disabled children in singing activities as part of the Foundation stage / KS1 / KS2 curriculum, including children with physical impairments, communication difficulties and other special needs.
AQA (Assessment and Qualifications Alliance) offer an extremely flexible accreditation framework called the 'AQA Unit Award Scheme'. The scheme includes scores of ready-made music awards, as well a system that enables music educators to create their own awards, which can then be accredited by AQA.
Arts Award is a national qualification which supports young people aged 7-25 to develop as artists and arts leaders. You can do an Arts Award in any area of the arts from fashion to poetry, rapping to dancing, sculpture to film. The award fosters creative, communication and leadership skills and helps to prepare young people for further education and employment.
The Arts Award framework is very flexible, making it approachable and accessible to many disabled young people.
Drake Music are currently delivering BTEC Entry Level Award in Performing Arts (Entry 3/ Level 1) to two classes of students at Claremont Secondary Special School in Bristol. The school have not run an accredited music course before and Drake Music are piloting accessible, re-usable teaching and learning resources as part of the delivery.
Learning Grids World is website where any registered Clicker 5 software user can create an account to download and share Clicker 5 Grid Sets for free. Clicker 5 is increasingly being used to make music accessible to SEN/Disabled learners across the curriculum. Clicker 5 can be accessed using switches, touch screens, joysticks, trackballs and any other means of control, in addition to the conventional computer keyboard and mouse.
Figurenotes is an alternative to conventional musical notation which has been used successfully by young people with learning difficulties (including some on the autistic spectrum) in Finland and Scotland. Figurenotes can enable the use of notation within formal music education where conventional notation might otherwise present a barrier.
Introduction To Music is a new, accessible music course created by Drake Music in partnership with OCNSWR (Open College Network South West Region). The course can be accredited at Entry Level, Level 1 and Level 2 and is designed to be fully inclusive, enabling disabled and non-disabled students to work together.
The Full Pitcher have produced music resources for MIDI Grid music software. MIDI Grid is accessible to disabled people using almost any means of computer access - switch, joystick, trackball, SmartNav, Eye-gaze etc.
There are two sets of 'Grid Play' resources available either on CD Rom or to download:
The British Dyslexia Association and Music Teacher Magazine have produced an excellent 'Teacher Guide To Music And Dyslexia' which is available to download as a PDF file here:
The guide is free but a voluntary donation of £3 would be gratefully received by the BDA.
We are regularly asked for advice on how to deliver music and the arts to deaf children. In response to this - the "Keys to Music" series were developed and published. These user-friendly guides were devised to help teachers and parents to fully include and involve hearing-impaired chiuldren in music and the arts. The existing National Curriculum schemes of work were adapted to suit the needs of hearing-impaired children and were researched in a range of schools to assess the improvement in accessibility of the arts curriculum to deaf pupils.
P Scales are a format for assessing progress for students who are operating below National Curriculum Level 1. This useful document (which can be downloaded as a pdf file here) describes how to assess what level a student is at for a wide range of subjects. Level descriptors for music are on pages 27-29.
This resource is designed to enable students who face communication difficulties to issue clear instructions when composing music using a music software sequencing programme like Garageband or Audacity (you can find download instructions at the bottom)
Prima Vista publishes braille music and carries out research and development in braille music technology projects. Visitors to Prima Vista's website at http://primavistamusic.com can browse by ear for braille editions and then buy them as digital downloads or embossed scores. The catalogue ranges from pop to classics and is constantly growing, but if you don't find what you want, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The RNIB Music Advisory Service (MAS) is an information resource for people with sight problems. The MAS web-page contains information and advice on music education at all levels, from the earliest signs of interest to advanced studies. The MAS team can also be contacted direct via telephone or email - see the web-page for contact details.
Here's a whole bunch of lesson plans for using the Skoog in the classroom as part of the music curriculum from Early Years to KS4.
The Skoog is an exciting new musical instrument designed to empower those unable to play traditional instruments. The Skoog is a soft, squeezable object that simply plugs straight into your computer or laptop's USB port. By touching, pressing, squashing, twisting or tapping the Skoog you can play a wide range of instruments, intuitively.
WJEC’s Entry Level Music forms part of their wider 'Entry Pathways' suite of credit-based units. All Entry Pathway units sit within the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) and aim to provide students with flexible and personalised programmes of study.
This song book was created for children in special educational needs settings as part of Sing Up's Beyond the Mainstream programme. It's a great resource for singing within the Foundation stage / KS1 / KS2 curriculum. The 8 songs and 6 characters were dreamed up by Anna Batson, Nick Grew and Ben Ballard, as well as children from special schools in the Plymouth area. One of the characters, Bernard the Gurnard, appears throughout the book in a hot air balloon and is billed as the "ultimate fish out of water on a voyage of discovery with some weird and wonderful friends".
Like many I suspect, my first question about the small, Worcester-based charity ‘Snoezelen’ was ‘What does Snoezelen mean?’ The word - a mix of two dutch words for sniffing and dozing – perfectly evokes the experience offered by the charity: a multi-sensory environment for people with severe