Hi everyone, wishing you all a happy new year 2016! I wanted to share some thoughts and facts about the project that inspired Emerge Community Arts to begin it’s social mission! The project that inspired us is Music Makers.
Music Makers is a project that was started in Liverpool 12 years ago. Social Worker Sara Ward working for Liverpool Children and Families Services recognised the need for more interactive after school projects for the children and families she was working with. Disheartened by the lack of specialised activities available, Sara found Jamie Davies who was then the Music and Art Therapy teacher working at a company specialising with people who have Autism and Learning difficulties in the North West. Jamie was very interested in working as the Music Tutor on the project ensuring that families, including parents and siblings were able to participate in the workshops too. And this was how the ‘Mosley Hill Music Makers’ began.
The concept worked well and the project ran as a community group for 12 years. As time went on the children attending grew into adults, with younger siblings and participants joining in and the project held its longevity which resulted in amazing benefits for everyone who participated. For some people, due to their communication difficulties Music Makers was the only activity in the community they were able to participate in during their whole week. One young lady was a select mute until she started Music Makers- now all she does is sing her favourite songs, at home and in school. Please take look at our testimonies page to see how people have benefited from Music Makers.
The ethos of Music Makers is to create sessions that are inclusive. Liaising with Social Services and Special Schools these after school activities prioritise working with vulnerable children and those who have complex learning difficulties. The workshops are also open to siblings, parents and carers to promote positive interaction between and within families and provide a regular support network for those who otherwise feel isolated in the community. Parents and Carers have an opportunity to talk and support each other during break times, sharing knowledge about other services that may be available to them and providing mutual understanding. Having a social worker at the group also offers great support for families in a more informal way. Siblings are also encouraged to get involved and play alongside their brothers or sisters and feedback has told us that siblings- often acting as young carers in the family feel like as a family they are all involved in a positive activity and have the opportunity to show off their own talent.
The sessions encourage participants to join a group and share their interests through Music. People are encouraged to participate on a wide variety of instruments including Drums and Guitars and the emphasis is definitely on having fun and making some great music!
Sessions also utilise Music Technology such as Sound beam, echo/delay units and samplers to develop an individual’s curiosity to have go and explore different sounds, develop a sense of expression through the different instruments and enjoy making music. Singing songs and writing new ones is all part of the Music Makers experience too. ‘The pink toilet seat song’ is a favourite and it is brilliant to see participants using their PECS and unique communication to choose songs they like. Everyone is equal and able to make choices about what they want to do no matter what ability.
Emerge also support Music Makers to go out into the community and perform their Music to audiences across the North West.
I remember the very first time I went to a Music Makers and I felt completely full of joy watching everyone interacting and making fantastic music. Every person in the room was involved and I couldn’t help be drawn straight into this wonderful atmosphere. Everyone seemed so happy and relaxed. Break times offer a real opportunity for Mum’s, families, Carer’s and social workers to have a good chat about their week and provide each other with real solutions to problems drawing directly from their own experiences. It is an opportunity to reassure, have a laugh and relax for a few hours a week! The group is so welcoming and you can’t help but get sucked into playing a drum or singing a song with everyone.
For Emerge the next steps are to create more opportunities like Music Makers for communities around the North West of England and Wales. If you or your school would like to start this in your area then please get in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org