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Oct 23

Community Music Practice: Working with Disabled People and Young People with Special Educational Needs

October 23 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

£95
Goldsmiths courses

Course overview

This in-person course focuses on working with Disabled People and young people with Special Educational needs. We’ll explore some of the disabling barriers these groups face, as well as physical, cognitive and learning challenges, and how creative and participatory music sessions can benefit them.

Community Music is a term used to describe an inclusive and participatory approach to music that works towards musical, personal and social outcomes. This can operate both therapeutically and educationally, but Community Music has its own rich history and culture. Our portfolio of Community Music Short Courses builds on thirty years of Community Music training at Goldsmiths and offers a broad range of general and more specifically focussed courses. The current situation gives us the exciting potential to share our courses online and we welcome attendees from across the globe. We are hoping through these courses to build new networks of practice and will be offering a variety of ways people can keep engaging, learning and sharing after attending one of our courses.

Community Musicians work with both young and older people who face a wide range of life challenges – using music as an effective tool to combat illness, disability, isolation, education difficulties, behavioural problems, offending and many more issues. Taking part in meaningful group activities is increasingly evidenced as a positive and productive way to overcome such challenges. This workshop investigates how to best facilitate meaningful and effective music experiences for Disabled People and young people with Special Educational needs. This includes those who experience:

  • Learning difficulties
  • Autism/Asperger’s
  • Physical Disabilities
  • Cognitive and sensory difficulties
  • Mental health needs

Community Music Practice can take many forms – singing in a choir, making beats on a computer, improvising as a group, exploring technology as a means to self-expression, songwriting, soundscape work and more. Each different way of engaging with music can have personal, social and collective benefits. To gain the greatest benefit interactions need to be led by people with a range of musical, communication and other skills, as well as an understanding of the context , and the people you are working with. This workshop will enable you to develop your own skill set, as well as providing a range of activity tools that can facilitate Disabled People and young people with Special Educational Needs to engage in creative and participatory music activities.

Who this course is for

This course is ideal for you if you are:

  • youth worker who would like to develop this skillset
  • music leader already practising in the field
  • music service tutor
  • music teacher
  • musician who would like to explore this field
  • a teaching assistant or worker in a Care environment
  • parent/carer

No formal skill level is required but to gain the most out of this workshop, we would expect you to possess a good level of either formal or informal music experience.

Why study this course?

  • You will experience a range of exciting and engaging music making activities that you can take into your own practice.
  • You will have a chance to reflect on and develop your own musical leadership skills in a safe supported environment.
  • You will learn about some of the physical, cognitive and learning challenges that young people may face, what defines some of these conditions, how they impact on young people.
  • You’ll learn how to plan and deliver creative music sessions to bring maximum benefits to participants regardless of their abilities.
  • We will explore how we can measure the effectiveness of musical interactions in order to maximise their benefits and enable sustained work.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course you will:

  • Have an understanding of the social model of disability and a greater understanding of Special Educational Needs.
  • Understand why and how music can be a valuable tool for working with these young people.
  • Have a range of tools and approaches to lead effective participatory music sessions.
  • Have developed their musical and leadership skills in appropriate ways to work in this area.
  • Learn how we can measure and evaluate the effectiveness of participatory music activities with these groups.

Fees and booking

Disability Support

We are committed to providing reasonable teaching adjustments for students with disabilities that may impact on their learning experience. If you require adjustments, please complete the relevant section on the booking form and also contact us at shortcourses (@gold.ac.uk) so we can respond to your requests as soon as possible.

Please note that our short courses sell out quickly, so early booking is advisable.


Tutor information

Graham Dowdall

Graham is a highly experienced Musician, Community Musician and Trainer with a portfolio career that includes performing across the globe, running face to face workshops with young people, training others to do so and teaching at Goldsmiths.

After studying Music Workshop Skills at Goldsmiths in the early nineties Graham has become one of the leading practitioners in the UK Community Music scene.

He is a specialist in working with young people with physical disabilities, learning difficulties and so-called hard to reach young people. He regularly runs training in these areas for numerous Music Hubs as well as organisations like Sound ConnectionsDrake MusicLive Music Now and many more. He is also a board member of Soundsense (the national organisation for Community Music) and regularly presents at conferences in the field.