UK Sample Project - Make Music, Male a Change
The Peer reflection of Sample Projects had a dual role within our MusInc project.
- To help evaluate the effectiveness of the example sample project as promoting musical inclusion
- To help develop a Quality Framework exemplifying Best Practice across the partnership
This has resulted in some inconsistency in the actual headings partners have used to evaluate the sample projects as we have been using different categories from other suggested Quality Frameworks. Please see the section ‘Quality Framework’ for more information on developing a quality framework
We are presenting here a summary of the feedback from all partners (including self evaluation from the deliverers of the featured Sample Project)
The short version of peer feedback can be summarised by three questions:
- What was good?
- What was best?
- What could have been improved?
- With existing resources?
- With additional preparation/resources?
What was good?
Everyone in the room was able to contribute to the playing, easy repertoire so that all participants could achieve good results. The music leader had a variety of skills, enabling people to both sing and play instruments. Everyone was refereed to by their name, and everyone enjoyed joining in the session.
What was best?
The interaction between the music leader, volunteers and the way the visitors were integrated into the session.
What could have been improved?
With existing resources?
The music leader could start to take more risks with the client group, extending the music session into a vehicle for the people to take stock of their life situation.
With additional preparation/resources?
A bigger room to enable more space for dancing
Both the chosen repertoire and the proposed learning methods were highly inspired, helping the target audience . . . The musicians used the instruments in a very interesting way, not just for singing together, but also to feel closer each other, they were preoccupied with everyone’s performance, they transformed the place into a “classroom” were non-formal education was really funny. And the most important thing was they used their musical skills trying to make the target group feel like the instruments and singing in a way that anyone can be heard and understood. (Romania)
The musicians adapted to the particular needs of the participants by handing out musical instruments that were used to play together according to each person’s ability. The emphasis wasn’t on the musical skills, everyone was included no matter their abilities.
The session was inspiring especially because of the way the musicians communicated with the participants. The were very good at communicating in a way that was understandable for the participants, which would not be easy for me to do. (Hungary.)
A trust was seen between the leader and the client. The workshop leader behaved and was received as a friend, who has come for a visit.
Individual attention was paid to each client; everyone was addressed with a special text and personal contact.
Important in the process was the support of the volunteers, who turned to the clients, who needed longer attention than during workshop the leader could afford to give them.
We learned a valuable experience was how to organize instrument playing and rhythm instrument lesson for people without musical skills; text improvisation according to each addressed participant. (Latvia)
Self-reflection by UK Team
The project was people-centred from the outset, with participants choosing and arranging material themselves. Also, a big “unwritten” part of the project was engaging people in the settings with volunteers from their own communities. What this means on a social level is that people may meet each other when e.g. out shopping and will have a point of contact so they can talk and communicate with each other. The performances were very people-centred too, with audiences encouraged to join in and to see a side of the community they may not always notice, and people they don’t always feel they can talk to. This will have long-lasting effects for some, and hopefully will lead to a more inclusive society in those communities which took part in the project.
The session content worked really well, and was tailored to each group depending on their level, and who was in the room on the day. The orchestra sessions were built around Wren’s common model and so were relatively easy to develop and lead, but the emphasis on choosing and arranging material to be used with a particular client group was unusual, and well received by the orchestras. In particular things like signing and other forms of communication were new to many members, but well-received.
The closed sessions were new ground in some respects for Wren, although we borrowed heavily from previous experience in these settings when choosing e.g. warm-ups etc. The really new development was having such a heavy volunteer presence which enabled us to undertake work we wouldn’t normally have considered such as one-to-one and small group work. Also, writing new material so that it would work with the orchestras was very interesting.
Some of the closed settings were in familiar spaces and all the orchestra sessions were in their usual rooms. However, we had to work in some new spaces with all that entails, such as the suitability or otherwise of the room; other events happening at the same time; clients being unfamiliar with spaces which can have a big effect on their mental/emotional state and ability to engage.
All the performances happened in “new” spaces for us, so we had to deal with various issues such as: getting performers in wheelchairs with instruments to the performance space; no disabled facilities at one venue (despite having been told there were!) and finding the right space for clients and orchestra members to play together and interact.
Music Leader practice
Music leader practice has developed widely through the project. Increased use of alternative communication including signing and finding the correct level for participants of different abilities have been the main gains for us.
In addition, we have had to learn how to facilitate different groups of people working together and being able to form a single group which is often outside their experience. It has been a great development project for emerging leaders who now have the confidence to take on this kind of work on their own. Also, we have been able to share what we know with others, helping practice to improve around the settings in which we work and farther afield.
The progression routes for our work are borrowed from the practice we have undertaken as part of the Make Music project. In regular closed settings we feel more confident about taking participants out into the community to show what they can do. Some of the session content continues to be useful and we look to build on it for further work including songwriting and arranging. The long-lasting effect on disabled participants has meant that we are able to engage them in creating work with us and that they feel confident to do so. And the communication skills we have learnt are being brought into other aspects of our work.
Specific progression routes might include:
A similar programme for songwriting and performance using members of Wren’s choir groups New and repeat performances with the “MusInc” orchestras (we received a potential booking for a repeat visit last week)
Training for Wren staff and volunteers in signing and total communication
A co-ordinated volunteer programme for regular settings.
In summary, the project feels like a great success and clients, volunteers and staff look forward to using the skills we have learnt and taking forward our music-making into the future!