UK Disability History Month

Transcript

Jamie:

Hello everyone. Welcome back. This is part three of three very special interviews taking place by Hampshire County Council for Disability History Month. The Christmas lights are up here in Winchester as Disability History Month draws to a close. We have been doing some very special interviews. If you are listening to this and you haven’t listened to the first two, go back, pause this, go and listen to them. They’re on our Facebook and our Twitter feeds. Part three, Hattie is with me. Hi Hattie. Tell us about your third one.

Hattie:

Our final interview is with Hampshire Music Service.

Jamie:

And Hampshire Music Service, now we’ve got to have a disclaimer on this one, this isn’t just a service, well it’s a service for children but not just for children with disability, it’s for Hampshire wide isn’t it? But they do very special things for children with disability.

Hattie:

Yes, it’s aimed at all school children so anyone up to age 18 can get involved but they do do a lot of work with children with disabilities and try and include them as much as possible.

Jamie:

I can’t wait to hear it. Let’s get stuck in. Thanks very much.

Hattie:

I’m sitting here with Jill Larner and Liz Davies who work for Hampshire Music Service at Hampshire County Council. Jill, can you start by explaining what Hampshire Music Service does for children across Hampshire?

Jill:

Hampshire County Council’s music service is part of the children services department and we’ve got 170,000 children across the county and we’d like every one of them to have the opportunity to take part in music at some point during their career. Liz Davies is our specialist for the special needs schools and she’ll be able to tell you a lot more about what we do.

Liz:

So, we’ve got a massive programme actually, on a regular basis we’ve got a team of teachers who go in to special schools across the county on a weekly basis and they deliver all sorts of different music experiences like African Drumming, samba, ukulele, keyboard, singing.

Hattie:

Do you find that children who have disabilities or impairments are quite happy to get involved, or do they need a bit more encouraging?

Liz:

I think we have a mixture of both and what we try and do is we try and make music accessible for all of the children in the ways that they can access music so for some it may be more difficult on a practical level, so we adapt what we do. For some they may have more anxiety issues around what they’re doing and so we use things like props, puppets, try and encourage them to involve themselves through that.

Jill:

We do a special celebration each year in the cathedral which is a nativity and all of the building is filled with children from special schools and a lot of them come up and they make music or they read a passage, or they sing, and really very often once they’ve done it they kind of punch the air because they’re really proud of what they’ve achieved and the whole cathedral is just doing ‘Yes!’ They’re really, really excited to be able to do it and when they do it they do it really well.

Hattie:

Do you think that that encourages other children then, when they see their friends going up and doing it then they think, ‘ah I actually want to have a go at that’?

Liz:

Yeah, I think so. I think there’s so much power in seeing your peers do something and you think ‘yeah I can have a go at that, I’ll give it a chance and see what I can do.’

Jill:

We just hope to treat everybody as an individual so that they can actually take part in the way that they want to and do the very best they can and we’re certainly there for anybody and we’ll be able to advise schools and individuals and parents about a whole range of things that we do. We have lots of people who are so passionate about what they do including Liz and all the things that she does. We’ve got a music therapist on the staff and we’ve put one of our vocal people through British Sign Language up to Level 6 so she can now run a signing choir, so all the children can actually sign as they’re singing which is really nice. So pretty much something for everybody, whether it’s moderate learning difficulties, severe learning difficulties, social, emotional or mental health issues, autistic spectrum so from music therapy to the gifted and talented we’ve got children with special needs in our county ensembles and they’re having a great time. It’s amazing what everybody achieves.

Hattie:

So, what can schools do to help young people with disabilities become more integrated in music?

Liz:

In a way I kind of think that the best mark of success is when people with a disability are invisible but they’re invisible for the right reasons because actually what they do and who they are is so much more important and the way that they are integrating and interacting with the groups that they’re working with, nobody thinks ‘oh yes that’s the girl in the wheelchair’ they think ‘oh yes that’s so-and-so and she plays the clarinet’ or whatever it is and I think that’s where the power is, it’s where people are not noticed because they’re different but they’re completely integrated in the group that they’re working in.

Jill:

If you think about people like Evelyn Glennie, a brilliant percussionist and John Kelly who has actually invented his own, he calls it a ‘Kellycaster’ guitar because he needs to be able to play it slightly differently but they’re both brilliant musicians. They’re not brilliant musicians because they’ve got special needs but they are both just brilliant musicians.

Hattie:

So can you tell me what the sound beam equipment is in the main street of The Castle at Hampshire County Council?

Liz:

It was initially created for contemporary dance so that as the dancers move they created the music so it wasn’t that they were dancing to a piece of music but they were actually creating the music from the moves that they made. So from a technical point of view it looks like two microphones and a set of switches all attached to a sound module and the microphones, if you like, they beam a ray of, what is it? Somebody said it was a sort of infrared something, yeah, so they have a sound wave which is coming out of them. When you break that beam is creates sound. We use it quite a lot in, where you’re working with children who have impaired movement because even when they make the slightest movement it triggers the sound and the children become aware that actually they are creating sound so where they’re not often able to instigate sound themselves or choose to make a sound then they can do that my moving in the beam and it really gets the children imagination going and we use it with props, you know I’ve done sort of underwater stuff where we’ve made the fish swim through the beams and it makes a sort of tinkling, watery sound, you know that kind of thing that just really brings music alive to the children as well.

Hattie:

So, the sound beam is really engaging and it includes everybody?

Liz:

Yeah, for absolutely everybody and even when you’re working with children with very, very little movement they can be moved in and out of the beam and hopefully an awareness will be raised with them that they’re actually instigating that sound and making something themselves.

Jill:

And we’ve got other things, haven’t we? Like the resonance boards where you can actually lie on this huge piece of wood when you actually play it you feel the vibrations of the sound. We work with Key Changes which is the music therapy charity and also the One-Handed Musical Instrument trust so they have students who want to play the trumpet but maybe only having one arm so they can adapt the instruments for them. We have a girl who is in a wheelchair who plays French horn and we provided her with something called a Pipstick which means the weight of the [horn] can be handed on her leg rather than her arms which don’t have the strength. So, it’s always really exciting to work with other people and see what they can provide as well.

Hattie:

What sort of technology do you use with children with disabilities, if any?

Jill:

We have a Skoog, S-K-O-O-G, which his another Apple based piece of equipment that looks like a big dice and it’s got six different sides which have different sounds attributed to each side so you can throw is across the room to people and then they can tap one of the sides and make big games out of it.

Hattie:

Well thanks so much Jill and Liz for chatting to me. Finally, then, do you have any advice that you can give to school children or what sort of skills will they get from getting involved with music?

Jill:

I was just going to mention the generic skills that obviously music has as well. The things like sharing, turn-taking, working together, building relationships and communication alongside all the things that we’ve talked about, about self-esteem and gaining confidence. So we’ve got a whole range of passionate staff on the team, we’ve got equipment that we can lend out to schools, we can target support from whole classes to whole schools to individuals and we work with lots of partner organisations, we’ve got a whole range of events but most of all I think it’s just about music being fun and actually everybody who takes part in the things we do really come out smiling and want to come back and do more so anything that anybody wants look at our website, follow us on Twitter, or give us a call.

Hattie:

Brilliant. Thanks so much for spending the time chatting to me for our final interview with UK Disability History Month.

Jamie:

Amazing. Hattie, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to Hampshire Music Service. They talked a little bit about some contact details at the end there, how people can get in touch.

Hattie:

Yeah, so you can get in touch with Jill or Liz about anything to do with the Music Service.

Jamie:

And if you type in Hampshire Music Service into Google or your favourite search engine then I’m sure you can find out some more information from there. Thank you so much again Hattie. This has been Hampshire County Council for Disability History Month. We’d like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a restful new year. Take Care.

We’d love to hear your feedback on this so please drop us a line. You can find us on Twitter: @HantsConnect. You can also connect with us on Facebook and Instagram and all the other social media channels or go to hants.gov.uk. Thanks very much.