Music classes at the Pears Family School are designed to have a therapeutic learning objective. The lead music practitioner Aaron thinks about how his music classes can aid the development of the key executive functions his students need to improve, such as: impulse control, working memory or self monitoring.
The students explore music using physical instruments, found sound and music technology. A subject learning objective is selected to help develop the students confidence in the key music skills of: composition, language, instrumentation and performance.
Students use Chromebooks and an online DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) music program to compose original music pieces.
Students are given a stimulus for each project, for example: winter, a picture, a character, my life or nature. Students are required to engage in classroom discussions and sharing circles to reflect on how they can improve their music and give positive peer to peer feedback to help encourage and motivate others.
Students explore musical instruments either through one to one sessions or whole class activities. This term we have been learning about both the electric and acoustic guitars, how they make their sounds, their properties and differences.
We also set up a physical drum kit where students are given the opportunity to express themselves emotionally using dynamics and rhythmically practising skills.
Students are given the opportunity to write songs and poems using their compositions as inspiration. They are also encouraged to write about themes from their own realities to increase engagement and to further learn about themselves and the world around them.
Some of Aaron’s students had the opportunity to perform their music pieces to the Duchess of Cambridge at the opening of the Anna Freud Centre of Excellence. The new building is where the Pears Family School is now based and where Aaron continues to develop the school’s therapeutic music programme.