New evidence-backed music resource will support children with life-long benefits
- More than a million and a half children in England have special educational needs or disabilities (SEND). Adults with SEND are significantly less likely to be in work and, on average, have much lower earnings 15 years after Key Stage 4.
- Research into the benefits of using music to support children with additional needs concludes virtually all children can engage with music, whether reactively, proactively or interactively.
- Great majority have potential for musical development that can be realised over time, with life-long benefits.
- New resource, which can be delivered by teachers and support staff without previous music experience, will enable provision to be given to thousands more children at relatively low cost, often using existing staffing resources.
Thousands of children with special educational needs and disabilities would be helped by greater use of music in their education and care, according to a leading professor of music education and a music education charity.
More than a million and a half children of all ages in England are recorded as having special educational needs or disabilities, with 13% of all pupils receiving some special educational need support with a further 4.3% having an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), which means they have been assessed as being entitled to additional support. (Source 1)
Department for Education statistics show that adults with SEND are significantly less likely to be in work and, on average, have much lower earnings 15 years after Key Stage 4. (Source 2)
But a pioneering, low-cost and easily delivered music support resource would enable thousands more children to benefit from long-term and potentially life-changing benefits, says Prof. Adam Ockelford, Professor of Music at the University of Roehampton, London.
Speaking in advance of the official launch of a new evidence-backed resource for inclusive music-making for children and young people with special abilities or needs, Prof. Ockelford’s comments follow extensive research into the role that music can play in helping children with SEND to develop.
Working in partnership, and funded by Youth Music, the University of Roehampton and the education charity Services For Education in Birmingham have created a significant and extensive resource for class teachers, teaching assistants and other non-music-specialist staff to better support children with learning difficulties in special and mainstream schools and colleges, as well as musicians from music services, music hubs and other arts organisations who visit schools.
The resource – called Count Me In! – does not require the ability to read music and so can be used by teachers without specialist music teaching experience.
Count Me In! is based on the widely acknowledged and respected ‘Sounds of Intent’ framework (www.soundsofintent.org) – which encourages teachers and others to tailor activities for their pupils’ and students’ particular levels of musical development. Pieces of music are ‘deconstructed’ into separate activities that are individually designed for ‘sound-makers’, ‘pattern-makers’, ‘motif-makers’ and ‘song-makers’, so that all young people can join in music-making at the same time.
It follows 13 years of research into the benefits of using music to support children with additional needs, which concludes that virtually all children are able to engage with music, whether reactively, proactively or interactively. The great majority have potential for musical development that can be realised over time, given an appropriately rich and engaging environment.
“We are at risk of failing thousands of young people who, for a variety of reasons, face challenges in their lives and who in consequence may well be unable to support themselves in the longer-term or, even worse, risk being side-lined,” said Prof Ockelford.
“Working in partnership with Services For Education, this new resource will help transform many young people’s lives and prospects.”
Stuart Birnie, Head of Music Service at Services For Education, said that music in differing forms can bridge a “communication gap” and is particularly suited to SEND children who find it difficult to speak or turn their feeling and emotions into the spoken word.
“For more than ten-years, Services For Education has been supporting schools, teaching and support staff by delivering music-based teaching to children with severe and profound and multiple learning difficulties, those on the autism spectrum, with vision or hearing impairment, and those with social, emotional, and mental health needs.
“We can confidently say that this new resource, which can be delivered by teachers and support staff who do not have previous music experience, will enable provision to be given to thousands more children at relatively low cost, often using existing staffing resources,” said Stuart who has been in music education for 30 years.
“We know that music is processed in many regions of the brain and whilst a child with, for instance, ASD may have difficulties with language and social abilities, they may well be able to process music and respond positively to exposure to music. Count Me In! aids that process.”
The half-day will culminate in a concert showcasing young musicians from special schools and alternative provisions and an opportunity to hear and play alongside pianist Derek Paravicini who is blind and has lived with severe autism and learning difficulties his entire life but has achieved acclaim for his remarkable music abilities.
- Office of National Statistics https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/special-educational-needs-in-england
- Department for Education https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1122775/Research_report_-_Post_16_education_and_labour_market_activities_pathways_and_outcomes_LEO.pdf
- Count Me In! is published by Routledge, priced from £22.49 and available to purchase at https://www.routledge.com/Count-Me-In-Resources-for-Making-Music-Inclusively-with-Children-and/Ockelford-Gray-Cohen-Mai/p/book/9781032215488
Count Me In! Conference and Launch:
Count Me In! will be launched at Hexagon Theatre, The Midland Arts Centre (The Mac), Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH on Tuesday, 11th July 2023.
The event will be facilitated by Kris Halpin, singer/songwriter, producer, performer, studio owner, vocal coach and music blogger and will include a concert showcasing young musicians from special school and alternative provisions.
- Prof Adam Ockelford, joint author and Professor of Music and Director of the Applied Music Research Centre at the University of Roehampton, London
- Sophie Gray, joint author and Head of Inclusion, Services for Education
- Francesca Christmas, Director of Music at Trinity College, London.
- Hannah Fouracre, Director of Music, Arts Council England.
- Ellen O’Brien, PhD student, University of Roehampton
- Max Mai, web designer for Count Me In!
- Jon Cohen, music producer for Count Me In! and award-winning UK-based record producer and arranger
- Karen Irwin, Bea Hubble and Beth Pickard on behalf of Live Music Now
Reception: 9.30 am
Conference: 10.00 am
Book and resource launch: 12.00 noon
Lunch and networking: 12.15 pm
Concert: 1.15 pm – 2.30 pm
The concert will showcase young musicians from special schools and alternative provisions who will have the opportunity to hear and play alongside pianist Derek Paravicini who is blind and has lived with severe autism and learning difficulties his entire life but has achieved acclaim for his remarkable music abilities.
Media representatives are invited to attend all or part of the event. For further information contact David Clarke, email@example.com 07808735255
About Count Me In!
Count Me In! is an engaging, practical resource that sets out twelve original projects for making music inclusively with children and young people of all ages who have special abilities or needs, including those with profound and multiple learning difficulties, those on the autism spectrum, those who have a vision or hearing impairment, and those with social, emotional, and mental health needs.
Count Me In! is based on the Sounds of Intent framework https://www.soundsofintent.app/ and has been created by leaders in the music and special needs field working with music industry professionals including:
Adam Ockelford is Professor of Music at the University of Roehampton and has worked with children and young people across the spectrum of ability and need for the past four decades. Adam is the founder and chair of The Amber Trust, which supports blind and partially sighted children in their pursuit of music; founder and chair of Sounds of Intent Charity, and a trustee of Live Music Now, which uses music to enhance the lives of those experiencing social disadvantage.
Sophie Gray is Head of Inclusion at Services for Education. She has over twenty years of experience in the field of music education, primarily in special schools, with expertise in working with children and young people with profound and multiple learning difficulties. She is also a lecturer on the Postgraduate Certificate in Special Musical Abilities and Needs course, offered by the University of Roehampton.
Jon Cohen is an award-winning UK-based record producer and arranger. Working with artists across genres, Jon has an international reputation, with fifteen No.1 classical/crossover albums, a winner of the Classical Brits album of the year, and sales of over three and a half million albums. For the past few years, he has collaborated with Adam on a range of innovative projects, producing high-quality music specially designed for learners with special musical abilities or needs.
Max Mai has over twenty years of experience of programming and web design for a range of prestigious commercial clients, including Mercedes Benz, Siemens and the travel company Berge & Meer. His son, Mika, is a multitalented instrumentalist, despite being visually impaired and on the autism spectrum. Max and Adam have collaborated on a number of projects, including the production websites for The Amber Trust.
Count Me In! includes projects with a wide range of musical styles and genres, and there is an accompanying website with hundreds of freely downloadable audio files. The resource is based on the Sounds of Intent framework, which encourages teachers and others to target activities at their pupils’ and students’ particular levels of musical development. The pieces of music are ‘deconstructed’ into separate activities that are individually targeted at sound-makers, pattern-makers, motif-makers and song-makers so that all young people can join in at the same time.
Count Me In! is designed for use by class teachers, teaching assistants and other non-music-specialist staff supporting children with learning difficulties in special and mainstream schools and colleges, as well as musicians from music services, music hubs and other arts organisations who visit schools. It can be used without needing to be able to read music, though there are scores in simplified and standard notation, as well as chord charts.
Each musical project in Count Me In! offers a fully inclusive experience, in which all musical learners can participate. The Count Me In! materials include 100s of freely downloadable music and sound files – so the need for teachers to have advanced musical training (and the ability to read music) is not needed in order to use the resources. However, musicians from Hubs, music services and elsewhere will find them very helpful too – not least in terms of a ‘legacy’ for teachers to use at times when specialist visitors are not present.
About Services For Education:
An education and training charity based in Birmingham, Services For Education brings music and learning to life.
Services For Education employs more than 200 staff delivering music tuition to children, and expert training and development to teaching and school support staff. It has annual income of c. £7m. Part-funded by the Arts Council, England it also has its own fund-raising and subsidised commercial operations.
- Services For Education’s School Support Service provides expert training and development to teaching and support staff in nearly 600 schools in the West Midlands and increasingly across England, to improve practice and ensure teachers are best equipped to respond to developments in curriculum and policy. As a leading provider of safeguarding education, Services For Education works with 400 schools delivering training in-person and on-line. It also delivers innovative programmes to support the physical and emotional health of children and young people through Health for Life and other community-based activity.
- Services For Education’s Music Service, one of the largest in the country, works with 93% of Birmingham schools and each year teaches music to nearly 32,000 children – as well as running 97 free ensembles. It provides 27,000 musical instruments free-of-charge so all children have access to playing and enjoying music together and its Youth Proms at Symphony Hall give 4,000 young musicians the opportunity to perform to an audience of more than 10,000. It also runs music schools, has a world music department, provides private music tuition to all ages as well as working with partners to deliver music and choral opportunities to disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. Its award-winning Online Music Educational Resource was completed and launched free to schools in 2021 to appeal to a young IT-connected audience attracted to learning online and to complement traditional tuition.
Services For Education has been recognised regionally and nationally for its work:
Asian Business Chamber of Commerce Awards:
2022: Outstanding Charity of the Year (winner)
2022: Transformational Impact (finalist)
The Charity Awards:
2022: Arts, culture and heritage (winner)
2019: Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community (winner)
2021/22: Transforming lives through partnerships (finalist)
Educational Resources Awards:
2019: The Educational Book Award (finalist)
Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce Annual Awards:
2021: Excellence in Contribution to the community (finalist)
2021: Excellence in Training and Education (winner) & Education (finalist)
Music & Drama Education Awards:
2023: Excellence in SEND (Music and Drama) for West Midlands Inclusive Choir partnership (winner)
2022: Excellence in Primary/Early Years (Highly Commended)
2021: Outstanding Music Education Resource (winner)
2021: #Goldstars Awards
2020: Excellence in SEND (finalist)
West Midlands Tech Awards:
2021: Innovation in Education (winner)
Services For Education’s Annual Review for 2022 is available here: https://www.servicesforeducation.co.uk/annual-review-2022/
About University of Roehampton/Prof Adam Ockelford:
Adam Ockelford is a Professor of Music at The Centre for Learning, Teaching and Human Development in the School of Education at the University of Roehampton, London.
Prof Ockelford is a composer, performer, teacher and researcher. While attending the Royal Academy of Music in London, Adam started working with children with special needs – a number of whom, he noticed, had special musical abilities too – and he became interested in how we all intuitively make sense of music, without the need for formal education. Adam pursued this line of enquiry and gained a PhD in music at Goldsmith’s College in London in 1993.
Adam is Secretary of the Society for Education, Music and Psychology Research (‘SEMPRE’); founder and chair of The AMBER Trust, a charity that supports visually impaired children in their pursuit of music; and founder and chair of Sounds of Intent Charity, which promotes inclusive music education. He is also a Trustee of Live Music Now.
TED Talk with Derek Paravicini: https://www.ted.com/talks/derek_paravicini_and_adam_ockelford_in_the_key_of_genius
Issued on behalf of:
Services For Education
Unit 3 Holt Court
Birmingham Science Park
Birmingham B7 4AX
For further information:
David Clarke, Clarke Associates, (Public and media relations, Services For Education)
M: 07808 735255