Introduction to Music course – accessible accreditation from Drake Music

Introduction To Music is a new, accessible music course created by Drake Music in partnership with AptEd (formerly known as 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.

Introduction To Music combines practical performing and composing activities with learning and assessment resources for Clicker software, which is physically accessible to almost any student. These software resources also provide a useful course framework, although teachers should be prepared to adapt and extend the resources further to match the particular needs and interests of their students, as well as their own teaching style.

Introduction to Music comprises four units that can either be taken individually as stand-alone units, or linked together to form a complete course. The units are (in no particular order):

  • Music Skills for Performance: focuses on the key skills needed to perform music as a soloist and as part of an ensemble.
  • Creating Soundtracks for Films: students investigate film soundtracks and then compose their own.
  • Writing Music Down: looks at how music can be written down, including graphic scores and (at Levels 1 & 2,) the basic elements of standard notation.
  • Composing Music using Chance Methods: students explore methods used by composers like John Cage, before composing and performing their own ‘chance’ composition. Although it might sound quite ‘high brow’, this unit can be great fun and is particularly useful for students who may not be in a position to play the same notes in the same way every time (due to a physical impairment for example,) while still providing the opportunity to clearly define the rules and conditions within which a musical performance takes place.

The Clicker screen shots below are from the Introduction To Musical Notation unit. They show an Entry Level learning page in orange on the left, with a corresponding Entry Level assessment page in green on the right.

Clicker 5 Entry level learning GridClicker 5 Entry level assessment Grid

Drake Music Associate Jonathan Westrup piloted Introduction to Music with Bradley Warwick, a student at St. Rose’s School, Stroud, between 2008 and 2010. Bradley has cerebral palsy and uses an electronic communication aid (VOCA) to speak, as well as switches to compose and perform music. Bradley successfully completed the course and was accredited at Level 1 on all four units, which is a significant achievement. You can read about Bradley taking the course in Experiences, here. St. Rose’s school staff continue to run the course for mixed groups of disabled students.

If you are interested in running the course?
We would really like to hear from you. Please email to arrange a time to discuss your requirements.

You can register with Drake Music to run the Introduction to Music course anywhere in the UK. In the South West of England you can either register with Drake Music or with AptEd. Course and learner registration incurs a fee, but the Clicker resources are free to registered centres. For more information on course registration including current prices, please download the registration information sheet (also available to download at the bottom of this page).

What people say about the course
“As a special needs music teacher (for physical disability and learning difficulties) I have found it extremely hard to find any music course that would suits my students’ needs… Introduction to Music is the first course that I have ever found that is specifically designed with special needs students in mind… All the resources are accessible and fully inclusive and, as the sections of the course are stand alone, it means that even if I have a student who is off for a term for an operation they will still have the certificate for the units they have achieved… So far the students are really enjoying the course and it’s fantastic to deliver.” Jocelyn Watkins – Music Teacher at Treloar School, Hampshire and winner ofClassic FM SEN Music Teacher Of The Year 2013

“We are delighted with the course. Everyone benefits from being able to express themselves musically but the opportunities are all too limited for students such as ours.  This well structured course encourages real creative composition and performance from the students and they have risen to the challenge! The excellent resources and activities have enabled staff to introduce the students to a range of music they might not have explored before. We have all taken pride in the fantastic performances of the students’ own work at our Music Prom and in school assemblies.  It has been wonderful to see the students’ curiousity, knowledge and confidence grow over the last year.” Rachael Moody – St. Rose’s School, Stroud.
‘Introduction to Music’ Clicker 5 software resources by Drake Music is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.