The last resource, Education Creativity and Learning: what is the connection?, is a research document and thought piece by Paul Collard, Chief Executive of Creativity, Culture. Collard highlights distinctions between characteristic features of the "high functioning classroom" vs. the "low functioning classroom" and explains how schools involved in the Creative Partnerships program in England "showed that a student educated in a context in which they are an essential learning resource, and where mobility, emotion, team working and risk are central to the learning experience, is a student who is ‘high functioning’" (p. 4). Collard also stated that being a high-functioning child leads to resilience, confidence, sense of competency, autonomy and relatedness - all which underpin successful learning. I plan to keep this diagram by my school desk back in Juneau to ensure that I embed these characteristics in my lesson planning.
Figurenotes is an innovative approach to reading music, created at the Resonaari Music Center in Helsinki for people with special needs. Since then it has helped all beginning musicians participate in music-making right from the start. After establishing this foundation of music using colors and shapes, students can transition to reading traditional notation. I was fortunate to take a Figurenotes teacher training at Drake Music Scotland, which is an arts organization with "expertise in inclusive music technology and specialist teaching methods (that) support people of all ages and a wide range of disabilities to play, learn and compose music independently." During this one-day training I experienced firsthand how Figurenotes helped me play a new instrument (the electric bass), compose music inspired by a piece of artwork, and perform music in a band. Below is an example of how Figurenotes attaches color to note names for piano (middle C) and violin (1st position). Shapes represent a particular octave.
Drake Music Scotland (DMS) is not only inclusive in its approach, but also in the way it shares resources. There are many resources on their website including how to use Figurenotes to play rhythms, chords, sharps and flats, and progression to traditional notation in three simple stages. They also have video tutorials like the one below, which I plan to use in my classroom next year. It uses movement and Figurenotes as a way for young children to create their own compositions collaboratively.
We worked in groups to create a composition based upon an art print. The prints incorporated either Figurenote colors or black and white so that we had the option of coloring those prints with Figurenote colors. Our group chose the one with red, blue, and brown bands of color with splotches of black on top. We decided to "read" the print from left to right (yellow, brown, blue, brown, red) and from foreground to background with the black splotches represented in various ways throughout the piece, including the beginning and end (hint: listen to the maraca). See if you can hear the colors of our composition, which included our Figurenote colors: C, D, F, G, A.
Inclusive Music Technologies
Drake Music Scotland also launched the worldʼs first disabled youth orchestra in April 2016 called the Digital Orchestra, whose members create their own music using inclusive music technologies. Hereʼs a short documentary detailing Drakeʼs launching of the Digital Orchestra:
After observing a Digitial Orchestra rehearsal, I came away from the session excited about learning more about assistive music technology and its creative and inclusive use in the classroom. Here are just a few of these digital tools:
And if youʼd like an extensive list of assistive technology, Drake Music shared this powerpoint in video format listing over 30 iPad apps, as well as a Short Guide to Accessible Music Education.