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THE IMPORTANCE OF NON- VERBAL COMMUNICATION IN EARLY YEARS MUSIC

In a non-verbal context such as a music lesson that follows the Gordon’s MLT principles, body language becomes very important. Every glance, small movement or smile becomes a way of communicating with the children.

As we sing the songs, we observe the children and their parents, trying to capture their mood and their needs. Children aged between 0 to 3 cannot yet verbalise how they feel but through the body language, they express their entire world. They can tell us if they’re happy; if they feel good in the group; if they need more time to feel free to explore the space; if they are not yet ready to imitate our musical productions.

Everything is written in their expressions, in their way of moving and interacting.

Eventually, when they feel welcomed, they are ready to share and play with the sounds, without fear of experimenting, in a totally non-judgmental environment.E

Right there, at that moment, when the necessary trust between the educator and the child has been created, the most important learning window of the human being’s life opens up. That is the space for us as educators to enter and step by step share our experience, sometimes on tiptoes, sometimes jumping!

SOUNDING OUT – THE TOOLKIT FOR MUSIC PRACTITIONERS WORKING WITH DEAF STUDENTS

We’re really proud to share with you the Sounding Out Toolkit – a FREE resource for music practitioners and teachers working with deaf children written by our teacher Tiziana Pozzo and Katie Mason.
It has been designed following a 3 years Creative Futures project called ‘Sounding Out’.

Creative Futures has now completed its three year Youth Music ‘Fund B’ project with primary and secondary deaf children, called ‘Sounding Out’. 3 schools (2 specialist secondaries and one mainstream primary with a deaf unit) were involved in the project, receiving in total more than 200 workshops. 16 music leaders were involved in delivery and our partners included Music and the Deaf, local Music Education Hubs, and researchers from UCL.​

“Our data suggest that the Sounding Out programme has been a success musically, with clear evidence of virtually all pupils achieving more advanced musical behaviours as their academic year progressed. This is very commendable and provides a solid evidential foundation from which to argue that all deaf pupils should have access to appropriate music education provision, whether in Primary or Secondary schools to support learning in and through music.”

Professor Graham Welch & Dr Jo Saunders, UCL Institute of Education, 2018

At the end of ‘Sounding Out’ our music delivery team met to reflect and share ideas on the overall success of the project. The collective decision was made to document our findings and share our research through a toolkit which is freely available to teachers and music practitioners looking to work with deaf students. One of the key elements for us was that the toolkit illustrates what we noticed as being the main differences between making music with deaf children, compared to hearing children.

We highlighted specific moments that occurred during the sessions which changed our perspectives as practitioners and which became the foundations on which we built the activities employed during the course of the project. For example, we observed that the children were very visual based learners and so we created musical games based on clear visual cues that all the children could follow (see previous related article in this blog).

The toolkit consists of two sections, a theoretical guide and a practical section with activities accompanied by videos. The theoretical guide is intended to help teachers in areas such as communication, working environment and examples of potential difficulties that can arise during sessions.

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It also highlights two key areas of learning (inclusion and the relationship between music and movement) that underpin the activities. The practical section includes step-by-step guides to creating activities such as warm-ups, musical games aimed at improving musical skills, and main activities.

The video examples support the practical elements and provide visual based learning information.

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The process of writing this toolkit has been a fantastic opportunity for us to go deeper into our way of teaching and has allowed us to shape and improve our methodology and approach. To have a framework that better informs our learning and decision-making will give us a platform to provide better musical education opportunities for deaf children in the future, and we hope will encourage other music practitioners and school teachers to embed more music in their teaching of deaf children.

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Example of warm-up activity

The toolkit has been written by Tiziana Pozzo (leader of the weekly sessions) and Dr Kathryn Mason (UCL), thus giving the Toolkit input from two different perspectives: leader and researcher. Both were present at the sessions, allowing them to observe the children from different perspectives as well as monitoring their changes and development over the course of the project. This led to a continuous discussion about the musical approach and gave the delivery team greater flexibility when trying out different methodologies. This regular insight helped provide the foundations on which this toolkit is based.

The Toolkit can be found on the Creative Futures website here:

https://www.creativefuturesuk.com/resources

PAM PAM SPRING CONCERT

SATURDAY 9th OF MARCH 2019

Get ready for “PAM PAM concerts” for families, the only concert in London inspired by the Gordon’s Music Learning Theory (MLT).

No stage or chairs: children and parents in the centre of the space, comfortably seated or lying, embraced by the sound of the musicians around them. An experience of direct contact with the music, for children aged 0 to 2.

What are PAM PAM CONCERTS?

Short melodic and rhythmic songs without words that are designed for the musical development of children. PAM PAM – SPRING CONCERT hosts musicians who sing and perform pieces from classical and traditional repertoire as well as original songs composed under the principles of the Gordon’s Music Learning Theory! The musicians interact with the children and their families to create a magical space for listening and learning.

Pam Pam Concerts in Spain

With Valeria Pozzo (violin, charrango, voice), Tiziana Pozzo (piano, ukulele, percussions, voice), Joe Steel (saxophone), Sam West (guitar and voice), Stefano Padoan (piano and voice).

INFO

When| Saturday 9th of March 2019
• 3.45pm – 4.30pm ~ children between 0 and 2 years old.
• 5.00pm – 5.45pm ~ children between 2 and 5 years old.

Where | Christ Church Highbury, 155 Highbury Grove – N5 1SA London (smaller room)

Cost | Payment in advance 

Children free (up to 2 per adult)
• £ 13 ~ 1 adult
• £ 20 ~ 2 adults

At the door

Children free (up to 2 per adult)
• £ 15 ~ 1 adult
• £ 23 ~ 2 adults

Bookings at highburyparkmusic@gmail.com

Payments at:

Tiziana Pozzo / sort code 20-41-50 / account number 63036715

CHILDREN’S MOTOR RESPONSES TO MUSIC

Today we’d love to talk about one of the ways in which we get more in touch with our students’ musical learning progress: the observation of their motor responses to music.

Some of the easiest reactions to notice are the little legs (or little hands) moving to the beat. Finding ourselves moving when we listen to music happens to all of us, most of the time unconsciously.
Rhythm, although, is something that gets stable later in the age (if properly supported).

So, how should we consider these little movements showed by the children during the sessions?
We should remember that children’s body movement is in resonance with what they’re listening to, namely the music that surrounds them.

We can say that music moves the child even before the child knows it.

Children move unconsciously, in a space that is specially created for their freedom to experiment.

Furthermore, during the sessions, we can often observe children swaying with their whole bodies to the beat, shifting the weight from one leg to another, most of the time accordingly to the tempo and the speed of the music. Their centre of gravity is perfectly linked to the ground.

What else can we observe? 
Children move, run, jump. They fall. 
We can pay attention and notice exactly when that happens. We will then see that children fall on the musical cadences; at the end of the musical phrases; or at the end of the songs, meaning that they are constantly listening and following the music (even if they’re not looking at us).

Now is the moment to ask you… have you ever observed your students’ movement? Have you ever paid attention to these details? 
By doing it, you will be able to evaluate children’s rhythm development in a very natural way.

Why don’t you try to catch their motor responses in your next sessions and share with us your discoveries? 
You can describe them here in the comments or use the hashtag #firststepsinmusicon Instagram (remember to tag @Gordon UK so it will be easier for us to find you).

FIRST STEPS IN MUSIC – LISTENING. A FREE 5-day course online

Gordon UK – Music Research Institute is launching its first project!

FIRST STEPS IN MUSIC – LISTENING is a FREE 5-day course online that will help you to create a musical listening path with your students.

In the last weeks, we have worked hard to prepare this training opportunity and we hope you’ll find it interesting!

You will find many tips on how to create a good environment for listening, and insights on the role of silence and movement in children’s musical learning. At the end of the 5th day, there will also be a special gift for you.

This offer is exclusively for subscribers to our newsletter. So, if you don’t want to miss out, subscribe to the link below👇🏻 Check your inbox (or junk mail) to start the course 📨

LEARN MORE

SEN family supported by Arsenal Foundation

If you live around the Arsenal Stadium in and your child has specials needs you don’t want to miss this opportunity! Music therapy should soon as well!

Few spaces left on the next PEPTalk group sessions running in January-February. They are lead by a therapist called Louisa who is an advanced sensory integration therapist and Occupational Therapist.

The sessions will focus on sensory integration and be held in the specialist sensory room at The Arsenal Stadium in Islington. The sessions will provide you with practical advice and activities to support the development of your child’s sensory integration which can impact upon the development of a range of different skills including attention, communication, social interactions and daily living skills.

The 5 session block costs £50. For children new to the group sessions, an initial online consultation fee will apply. There will be no fee for children who have already engaged in PEPTalk sessions.

For children living in Islington, Camden and Hackney the initial consultation is paid for by the Arsenal Foundation.

Please contact highburyparkmusic@gmail.com if you are interested in finding out the dates and times of the sessions.