The Heart of the Matter: Maintaining a Long Term Project

In January this year, in our very first Heart of the Matter (HotM) article, Yorkshire Youth and Music introduced you to our Deaf Instrumental Learning project. The project consists of:

  • practical demonstrations and basic music workshops led by professional Deaf musicians
  • a chance for young people to try out a selection of instruments
  • ongoing music lessons after the introductory session with the local music hub lead organisation supported by visits from professional Deaf musicians
  • and crucially, training for music teachers, giving them the tools to engage with Deaf children

Our main goal is to make DHI young people’s instrumental learning part of the mainstream through tutors who know how to engage with DHI young people effectively.

What could be the heart of the matter on a project we’ve covered before?

So. You’ve got a project that worked particularly well. You know it will work again, because you’ve got the evidence to back it up. Six months later from our last HotM article, and we still know that we have an incredibly successful project on our hands. But how do you take it to the next level?

Lasting effects
At YY&M, we know that for projects to have a long-lasting impact, some kind of fundamental change within everyday practice and / or provision needs to occur (through an aim that needs to be built in at the very beginning of the project planning stage). For DHI young people learning musical instruments, this meant removing the barriers that prevent access to mainstream music lessons.

It’s obviously great that the young people get the chance to meet professional Deaf musicians at first, to give them a sense of ownership over the idea of playing an instrument. But it was more important to us that these young people have access to inclusive provision if they decide to regularly play an instrument going forwards. In the longer term, DHI young people may well have to pay for instrumental lessons in just the same way as other children – but they (and their parents and carers) may be more encouraged to do so if their local music teachers have the know-how to include them.

Taking the project region wide
The DiL project was initiated in Barnsley, Bradford, Kirklees and Doncaster. The original project in Bradford is now working towards the children taking exams and joining mainstream provision. This year with funding from Children in Need, the project has expanded to other areas with 71 new participants. Because of the project’s previous success, we’re confident that we can potentially provide benefit for all Deaf children across the whole of Yorkshire and we’re happy share the model with hubs nationwide. We want all DHI young people to have opportunities that their hearing peers do, and in one area at least, we know that this can become a reality.

Please visit our Deaf Young People and Instrumental Learning page or contact us to find out more.

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.

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