1. The DeafTones on Ireland's Got Talent
I chose to include this in the scrapbook as I had heard of the signing choir in Holy Family School for the Deaf while researching people to interview for my project on a socially inclusive music educator. I initially wanted to get in contact with the teacher in charge, Shirley Higgins, to interview, however, I couldn't find a way to contact her. I saw the DeafTones while watching Ireland's Got Talent and thought this would be perfect to include in the SIME Scrapbook. The choir is an example of how hearing and non-hearing people can come together through music to interact and learn. I was moved by their performance and was inspired to try to use music as a tool to include non-hearing in my class, rather than assuming it would exclude them from wonderful learning opportunities.
2. RTÉ Nationwide: Music Generation
I chose to include this clip from Nationwide in the scrapbook as I thought it closely linked to our seminar on 'El Sistema', a government-funded music programme in Venezuela. Music Generation is a music programme funded by U2, allowing children the opportunity to be introduced to music, from toddlers to teenagers. They can then decide after a period of time whether or not to continue on with music tuition. It is socially inclusive as it bridges the gap between those who can pay for music tuition and instruments and those who can't. One of the biggest barriers to music education is the sheer cost of instruments, leaving children from lower-income families without the chance of trying out an instrument. I hope I can give my students this opportunity in the future, whether by using the Music Generation programme or just providing my children with the opportunity to try out different instruments.
3. Irish Times Article
This article follows Róisín, a child with Down Syndrome and is borderline Autistic, who is being given one on one drama and music lessons in order to help her with her tantrums and help her to come out of her shell. While the article focuses on drama, I chose to include it due to a quote highlighted from it, "The more I played music, he would come out of his shell." This was in regards to a boy with autism who inspired Michelle O'Grady to offer these lessons to children with special needs. She created a playlist for him to calm him down. DCU has just been named an Autism-Friendly Campus and on the launch of this on St Patrick's Campus, I was talking to a lady with autism whose son and father also had autism. She even commented on how well children with autism respond to music. I would love to give music this central role in my classroom in order to create a calm environment in which all of my children can learn.
We chose the topic of sustainability as we thought it would be great for creating a scheme of work under the theme of 'The Environment' that could link with areas of Science, Geography, Literacy, Art, Irish and Maths.
We met regularly to write the song. Each of us had different strengths musically and we used them in order to collaboratively write the song.
We broke down writing the song into different parts: the chords, the lyrics, the melody, harmony, adding percussion and notating the piece.
I came up with the chords, helped compose a melody for the bridge and chorus, wrote up the final arrangement of the song on Noteflight and contributed lyrics for the song.
The biggest thing I learnt from this project is that writing a song is difficult, it takes a lot of combined talents and we learned to use our talents together to create the song. While it was difficult, I found the whole process really enjoyable and I was proud of what our group achieved.
A skill I used and would like to develop is that of creating a chord structure. While I was able to do this, I chose the simplest key, C major, and a very common chord structure, I vi IV V, to follow. As it was aimed at kids, these chords are extremely easy to play on ukulele and would allow me to teach the kids to accompany themselves. However, I would like to be able to create more complex chord structures and bring variety to my work, since we repeated the same four chords for the whole song, except for when we modulated to the relative minor in the bridge.