Inspiring Music with iPads in Central Bedfordshire

Inspiring Music with iPads in Central Bedfordshire

An innovative project from Central Bedfordshire’s Inspiring Music Education Hub has allowed children with special educational needs and/or disabilities to show off their musical talents.

The Arts Council-funded Hub provides opportunities that reach beyond school boundaries and draw in the expertise of a range of educators and arts partners.

A great example of this is the recent collaboration with Transformance Music, which saw 167 pupils using iPad apps to play, visualise, organise and manipulate music.

Primary-aged from The Chiltern School and young people from two secondary schools, Ivel Valley School and Weatherfield Academy, took part in five one-hour sessions which were set up to allow children of all backgrounds and levels of need to enjoy music, and to help those showing a real talent to flourish.

The wider goal was to allow specialist music teachers, class teachers and teaching assistants with no musical training or background to gain the confidence and skills to use iPads creatively to produce lessons and lesson plans which deliver clear musical progression and outstanding outcomes.

As a result, 65 teachers and teaching assistants also each took part in five one-hour sessions.

Charlotte Payne, Acting Director of Music, said: “I would like to thank Ben Sellers, Transformance Music’s lead musician, and everyone else who made this amazing project such a success.

“We are consistently told that it’s vital for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities to be able to access music like other pupils. However, this isn’t always possible thanks to a lack of resources or staff lacking the confidence or skills to teach it.

Everyone who took part in this project benefitted hugely, and we’ve had feedback from schools saying that this is the most engaged they’ve ever seen certain pupils who normally struggle to focus.
— Charlotte Payne, Acting Director of Music

"Ben has also produced six short videos, lesson plans and iPad music activities so that other schools and staff can benefit in the same way.”

Ben Sellers said: “This project has been a fantastic example of the progress young people can make when they are given the tools to bridge the gap between the music they learn in school and the music they listen to in their day to day lives. iPads allow young people to delve into the genres of music that engage and inspire them, and our methods provide a framework in which they can compose, improvise, record and perform in ensembles to a high standard, simultaneously achieving curriculum targets.

“We are also really keen on making sure the project continues in the school after we leave, and a large part of the sessions and associated continuing professional development has been about demystifying our process for teachers and teaching assistants. Our dream is to have young people across the country using music as a means of self-expression and of developing self-confidence and identity – this is certainly the case here, and the music speaks for itself!”

There are also two continuing professional development sessions taking place at Weatherfield Academy, in Brewers Hill, Dunstable, on Tuesday 30 January.

The first is from 2pm to 3.45pm for those schools which did not take part in the project and includes all middle schools; the second is from 4pm to 5.45pm for schools which did take part in the project and other staff.

If you would like to take part in the first session, please email inspiring.music@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk or call 0300 300 6604 to check availability.

You can also read the evaluation report for this project.