Working With Students With Emotional & Behavioral Needs.
We have found that the most effective way to engage young people with emotional and behavioral needs is to begin with short one-to-one sessions catered to their musical tastes. For example, Tyrese liked the artist UK Grime and enjoyed rapping so we started sessions by listening to his favourite music and emulating beats using Logic Pro. We gave him a mic and for the first couple of sessions we just let him freestyle. Gradually he became more comfortable with us and is now enrolled on our Arts Award Bronze course, is producing high-quality music, and has brought in two friends to sessions to rap with him.
Some young people prove much harder to engage and require substantial emotional support just to come into the sessions. In this instance we have found that keeping in touch with school staff and support workers has led to better results because they can encourage the young musicians when we are not there. This has been particularly effective where young musicians have been learning instruments or singing and school staff have actively helped with practice schedules and mentored practice times. We only see the young musicians once per week and have found that it is only now, six months into the project, that many feel comfortable enough to express themselves freely.
In summary we have found that the key to getting the best results from the young musicians is being willing to try many different musical routes, and above all, remembering to be compassionate and kind even when you are faced with the most challenging behavior.