So, why did Drake Music organize a Teachmeet focused on SEND music and music hubs at the Music Ed Expo 2015?
Over the past three years Drake Music has had significant involvement with 18 music hubs across England, and began the process of engaging with several more. This has included delivering music sessions in special schools, for example the Youth Music Exchanging Notes project in partnership with Ealing Music Hub; and also several projects to research, identify and share effective practice across several hub areas – for example we are currently working will all 11 music hubs in the East of England on the Music Connections East project.
The common thread is simply this; that all music hubs are committed to getting better at delivering SEND music provision. It’s encouraging to hear the consensus in music education now at all levels, that disabled children and young people deserve a fairer and more sustainable deal in music.
I’d just like to mention three ingredients that Drake Music have observed are key for music hubs improving in this area of work:
The first is knowledge and expertise – employing an identified SEND music expert to help shape the hub’s strategy and quality assure the provision.
Secondly, the relationship with the special schools and settings, that is: finding out at first hand what they need and require from you. And then ensuring the schools also engage with the partnership.
And lastly, the creative use of Assistive Music Technology – not only enabling greater participation and enjoyment, but re-imagining what the music ensembles and orchestras of the future could look and sound like – mixing conventional instruments with iPads, Skoogs and Eye Gaze technology.
Our hunch is that the music hubs which prioritise and nurture their SEND provision in the next five years will be among the most dynamic and successful, precisely because these approaches and skills have the potential to enrich their overall programmes.