Time (The Revelator)


Last November, Drake Music invited disabled young people and musicians, their parents/ carers and also all those involved in music education to complete an online consultation about barriers to formal music education in England. Currently, my colleague Doug and I are sifting through the many responses we received and we plan to publish the findings of the consultation in the near future.

However, one big theme has already emerged from teachers and those involved in music education with disabled students: Time, or more accurately, the lack of it. Although the same respondents also tell us they want more resources and equipment, it is time that consistently comes through as the most precious resource for those delivering music at the ‘coal face’ with SEND students. We are talking about:

Time for preparation

Time to liaise with others

Time to prepare music tech

Time for students to get to your room

Time to deliver

Time for students to play music and discuss their feelings about the music (sometimes using a VOCA)

Time for students to listen to, read and watch music resources

Time for teacher reflection on what worked and why

This may not come as a bombshell to some; but there currently exists a contradiction in terms of SEND music delivery: on one hand music is praised as and promoted as an empowering activity for disabled young people but too often sessions and projects are timetabled according to mainstream timings and insufficiently funded for all the extras like transport and Teaching Assistant support and – again – extra time for teachers to plan their work and make their sessions as accessible as possible, which is what we all want.

As potential hubs make final preparations for their bids to go in on Feb 17th, I’m hoping as many as possible have taken time to consider the provision they aim to offer SEND students. Yes, we always need equipment and resources, but most of all we need to budget for more time for the professionals delivering the work. They are the bridge between the student and the musical experience and the driver of quality is time.

NB: note on the blog title – taken from a fantastic album by Gillian Welch!

Leave a Reply