Reflections on multi-outcome projects: part 3


This is the final part of my trilogy of blog entries on the subject of multi-outcome projects. In the very short term just gone, we decided to combine the two models of music session that we have been using at CEDA up until now (group / ensemble music making using a combination of mainstream instruments and AMT and 1:1 music production sessions on the aforementioned Assistive Music Technology workstation) into a group recording session. This made sense for the project, because in the previous term’s group sessions the participants had been writing a rather excellent ‘CEDA Anthem‘ and it was now a logical next step to begin recording the song for use on the website etc. It was also an interesting way for me to test out the accessible music workstation and my own and CEDA staff’s knowledge of how to use it! In the event, we had a lot of fun giving responsibility for the transport controls (play, record, stop etc) to a nominated person in each session who would operate Sonar using a switch. We recorded group and individual vocals, Soundbeam and iPad solos and many more elements in this way.

So, my visits to CEDA in January and February 2013 consisted of co-running the 90 minute music session in the morning and delivering training for CEDA staff in the afternoon. I felt that this worked well – the creative outcome (to record the song to a high standard) was being met during the participatory sessions and in the training, which often involved editing and mixing the recordings that we had made with the group earlier that day. The training outcome was also being fulfilled with ‘on the job’ training and out-of-session time each week, which was also useful for reflecting on the session that happened that morning.

Co-running a session with a less experienced music leader is a skill in itself. As a self-taught musician, I learnt to listen to the rest of my band and feel intuitively when to take centre stage and when to sit back, allowing others to take the lead. The same system is needed in this scenario, but that’s not to say I’m an expert! It is definitely made harder when you are a relative novice with the music program that you’re using – if you know the system inside out it’s easier to know when to let the trainee find their own way and when to step in and offer help. If you’re still learning yourself, it can be less clear. Having said that, the sessions were successful and we have set the group up with the task of finishing the piece over the next few weeks with online or phone support from Drake Music available if they need it. In this instance, the out of session training was really useful and has hopefully cemented the trainee’s skills, which has helped to give them the confidence to run the sessions independently over the coming weeks.

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