Doing Training Differently – DIY’s 4 by 8 Inclusive Music Programme

Photo: Doing Training Differently – DIY’s 4 by 8 Inclusive Music Programme

Jodie Mitson is one of six fabulous emerging musicians who took part in DIY’s unique 4 by 8 inclusive music programme. We asked Jodie to share some of her experiences with us – so over to Jodie!

As a musician on this 4×8 project I have learnt a lot from the experience and would love to continue music making in future DIY projects. It was great to get to meet and work with young professional musicians in Manchester and the experience has makes me excited for future opportunities working with trailblazing organisations like the DIY Theatre Company in the future.”

We can see a 6 people in a room. They all seem to be doing different things. At least 3 are sitting and of these one is holding up a laptop - perhaps they are taking photos. Another has their arms in the air and another their hands on their knees. There is a woman standing up but leaning forward slightly with their hands on their thights. In the foreground we can see a young man's head and shoulders in profile. He looks like he is about to get up from a chair.

Nervous start

It was a happy coincidence that I came to be part of the 4 by 8 musicians project as I hadn’t really been part of an organisation like DIY Theatre before. I was quite nervous meeting the other musicians for the first time and realising I was the youngest! (I am still a student at the RNCM.) Initially it made me wonder if I had enough experience to be working in such a diverse and talented group. I was also wary of not having been part of a drama group before. I wondered if drama-people are as friendly as music-people! But it turned out that the DIY Young Leaders group were often louder and even more bubbly than most musicians which always put us in a good mood no matter how tired we were at 5pm on a dark, wet Monday evening in November.

we can see handwritten words 'Beginning' 'Middle' 'End' at the top of a piece of paper. The paper is divided into 3 sections under these headings. Going accross the page are colourful marks - blue dots and wavy lines, red jagged lines which are also underlined, big yellow shapes along with other colours and marks

Learning from each other

The initial training with Sarah Atter was eye-opening to how music could help people in real life scenarios. Whether it be developing communication by expressing likes and dislikes or improving hand-eye coordination with instruments and rhythm games.

Overall, we focused on 3 key areas:

  1. An introduction to ‘Sounds of Intent’ an inclusive framework of musical development.
  2. Sensory music making introduction to ‘Total Communication’ as an approach that encompasses the whole range of communication approaches.
  3. Introduction to Intensive Interaction which teaches and develops the fundamentals of communication and conversation – such as using eye contacts, facial expressions, vocalisations and taking turns in creating conversation.

I found working through these training sessions alongside the other DIY musicians really valuable as we could discuss certain scenarios with each other and
demonstrate different activity ideas to learn from everyone’s musical experiences.
At the end of each training session, we met with the DIY Young Leaders who
were all super friendly and enthusiastic to learn about all thing’s music. These
sessions were our turn to practice leading and teaching the Young Leader’s new
musical skills.
We taught the group some fun singing and rhythm games as well as focusing on how our movements represented quiet/loud or high/low pitches. We were also introduced to different percussion instruments (many of which quickly went on my Christmas wish list!). These sessions were brilliant both for the Young Leaders to learn musical games for their drama sessions but, also for us musicians to practice leading and adapting each activity to different ages and musical abilities.

We are looking at two young women in a room with a wooden floor and plastic chairs. The woman on the left is sitting on her heels and is pointing to what the other woman is holding. The woman on the right is sitting cross legged and holding a small drum like thing. In the foregound we can just see part of a tambourine.

Leading together

From these sessions the DIY musicians applied for a commission project with the Young Leaders to create and lead inclusive musical workshop sessions in different settings. I was paired with the wonderful Young Leader Georgia, and we worked in collaboration with musician Benji and his DIY partner Adam to created 4 musical sessions for DIY’s Youth Drama members.
In preparation for our planning, I had the pleasure of shadowing lots of different DIY groups which gave me insight to the variety of sessions they run, it also taught me some great new drama games which I will definitely use in the future to bring quiet musicians out of their shells!

Benji, Georgia, Adam and I devised our workshops specifically with DIY Youth Drama in mind so we could tailor the sessions specifically to the participants. Our initial session focused around exploring sound and discussing the differences between music and noise. This took place as a ‘sound scavenger hunt’ with body percussion, sounds in the room and instruments forming the three bases we found to make a sound. From this session we were then assigned a puppet to match the character with a new sound we’d found. This sound was then recorded, and we got to expand our tech-skills with Benji’s expertise allowing us to distort the sounds we’d created. This made our scary low-pitched lion roar sound like a quiet squeaking mouse!
In the third week we focused on graphic scores which is a type of musical notation. We created a visual representation of our puppet sounds using lines, colours, and shapes. We then made a sound-storyboard (or graphic score) which we were able to practice performing and conducting together. Benji wrapped up the final session by recording the final performance. Feedback from our sessions resulted in the youth drama group wanting MORE (organised) NOISE in their future drama sessions.

A group of young people sitting in a room in a circle. They are all holding an instrument and concentrating on each other

Looking to the Future

Thank you to Jodie and all the 4 by 8 musicians for the energy and enthusiasm and skills they have shared so generously throughout  the 4 by 8 project. There has been lots of learning through the programme which is being drawn together in a report and some case studies by evaluator Ros Hawley. We are really excited by the possibilities for incorporating more inclusive live music into our future work.

The Evaluation of 4 by 8 has now been completed – please click to view the Summary Report.


Our thanks to Youth Music for their funding of DIY’s  4 by 8 Inclusive Music Programme.

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