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.”
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.
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:
- An introduction to ‘Sounds of Intent’ an inclusive framework of musical development.
- Sensory music making introduction to ‘Total Communication’ as an approach that encompasses the whole range of communication approaches.
- 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
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.
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.
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.