The Heart of the Matter: are the children taking part at the heart of the project?
In August, we wrote about our project working with young people accessing the help and support offered by CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) in Sheffield. We provided a series of very successful, music-based sessions for the children taking part in CAMHS services across the summer holidays earlier this year. NHS staff working with us on the project reported a fast and significant improvement in the young people’s engagement, with an increased willingness to join in, and interact with both visiting musicians and their peers.
One of the participants we met doesn’t speak and uses Makaton signs to communicate. As well as providing live facilitation, it made sense (in this case) to introduce our young attender to other resources we have created in the past. As this young person is a signer, we introduced them to our series of signed songs (available for free and for anyone on YouTube), produced as part of another project we ran called ‘Great Singing, Great Signing’.
So what is the Heart of the Matter this month?
We believe that every child involved should be placed at the very heart of each of our projects. The story of our participant on the CAMHS project above is no exception.
As well as making sure that we consolidate our learning and experiences with mental health issues across all of our current projects, it makes sense for all of YY&M’s projects to cross-pollinate in other ways too. We have extensive experience of working with children from a variety of backgrounds and who face a range of challenging circumstances, and because of this, we are better able to offer both facilitation and relevant supporting resources in response to the needs of specific children.
It is, of course, important for us to reach and help as many children as possible. Additionally however, we ultimately recognise opportunities to cater for each individual child we meet.YY&M creates music education projects for children and young people in a variety of complex and severely challenging circumstances. In order to provide meaningful musical experiences for these young people, we make decisions that get to the heart of both their needs and what makes a good musical project. We want to share the hows and whys with YOU, our readers, in a new feature on our website (and our bulletin) called ‘Heart of the Matter‘. Each month over the course of 2019, we will reveal how each of our projects get to the real heart of what music education means to us.
If you would like more information about our work with young people in challenging circumstances, please feel free to get in touch with us.