Reflections on multi-outcome projects


This 3 part blog is an opportunity for me to reflect on the challenges and rewards of working in a situation where you are delivering a session for disabled musicians and training staff at the same time. It is a model which I have become familiar with in my DM work in the past few years, first with Digital Beginnings (2009) in which we ran a project in a school while training a less experienced DM associate, then with RAMP It Up where we train school staff to use the school’s resources more effectively, and now at CEDA in Exeter.

This term at CEDA, we have branched out from group music sessions into 1:1 work, using some newly created AMT workstations. These feature mainstream music software (Sonar), which can be controlled by switch or touchscreen via the wonderful access software, the Grid 2, as well good quality speakers, audio interface and MIDI keyboard. It has been an excellent addition to what is on offer at CEDA for our musicians. In 2012, many musicians choose to make music solo, using a computer or hardware sequencer or tablet device like iPad. This enables them to do everything – write the lyrics, the bassline, play the flute solo and do the mixing and mastering at the end! It should in no way take away from the experience of playing music in a group, which has a whole range of benefits of it’s own. Group sessions have been the bread and butter of our project so far and Drake Music’s work in general. However, it’s not for everyone, and there have been several musicians at CEDA who have accessed the 1:1 sessions who previously declined to be part of a group, and I am pleased that we can offer them this opportunity.

So, the challenge is to provide a good experience of music making for these musicians, to learn a new music production platform (I had never used Sonar until September) and to teach the trainees that they can do it too, eventually without any input from Drake Music. Sound easy? If you have delivered work in this model I would love to hear from you – what have been the rewards and challenges that you have faced?

Pictured - Luke and Jason recording a snare drum
Pictured – Luke and Jason recording a snare drum

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