Following the purchase of a range of instruments with the grant money, there are many more opportunities available to students. The program offers benefits for students on a number of levels and classes have become a much-anticipated ‘jam session’ for enthusiasts.
Music teacher Jeremy Collings said that the program is particularly valuable at the Community School given its cohort of students who require a positive alternative to mainstream education.
‘It is a highly effective resource to foster self-confidence and social connectedness while developing positive social interaction skills and emotional regulation strategies for students,’ Jeremy said.
‘For example, repetitive rhythm helps calm the central nervous system and focussing closely on the sense of sound and fine motor movement encourages a present, mindful headspace.’
Cire’s music program is highly individualised, allowing opportunities for students to learn musical skills and knowledge based on individual interest. Students negotiate their own realistic goals and develop a program to work toward them. Given time, support and space to work on musical endeavours, students feel safe to make mistakes and use strength-based approaches to problem solve.
Jeremy said that digital music-making is popular among students. It encourages students to express their emotions and develop a unique musical voice. It also offers students the chance to gain hands-on experience with an adaptable and employable set of skills in a society full of user-created media content and the ubiquity of IT in the workforce.
He also added that small group work is often playful and helps build new friendships and teamwork skills as students communicate about how to improve their combined sound.
‘Motivation can be a challenge for our students so it is great to see the resilience they show when trying to master a new song.’
Jeremy said the following highlights the success of the program:
Lucas says that music is ‘the most fun’ and helps with his depression and anxiety. He doesn’t have any instruments at home so it’s great to come to school to play them.
‘I love instruments and I love playing the guitar, especially when I learn new stuff. I’m getting better’. Jayvan
The school is hoping to apply for further funding and or sponsorship, including the 2019 Telstra Kids grants, to purchase music software and also an electric drum kit to develop the program further.
The benefit to students is again highlighted by the following:
Stephen says he has outgrown all he can do with the free software available. He would like to take the next step towards creating professional recordings using software that needs to be purchased.
Shy students such as Olivia say they would be able to play the electric drum kit because they can use headphones and no-one will be able to hear her when she practices.