Children’s Charity Your One Wish Creates Specialist Music Workshop for Autistic Students in Ealing

Children’s Charity Your One Wish Creates Specialist Music Workshop for Autistic Students in Ealing

UK children’s charity Your One Wish has held a pilot session for a new specialist music course for autistic children aged 10 – 11, created by Chris Williams. Taking place at Springhallow School, Ealing, London, the course was designed to introduce students to music in a relaxed, engaging, safe and non- threatening environment.

Students were given a choice of an instrument that they would like to try, or had the option to try multiple instruments. The course was comprised of individual tutorial sessions, to build up each child’s confidence, and then whole group workshops, ending in a final composition and band performance. Your One Wish teamed up with Chris Williams from music and event production company Kudos to create this course, which is particularly aimed at disadvantaged children who may otherwise have no access to music lessons and music therapy.

Springhallow is a specialist school helping children with autism and learning difficulties. The Elm Class teacher said: “My students were extremely engaged, demonstrating great levels of independence and enjoyment. The students also appeared confident during the sessions.

“Upon returning to class they were happy and asked when the next music session was going to be. One of the students has begun to speak with more confidence and is projecting his voice. Another student who took part appears to be more confident when taking part in group activities in front of his classmates.”

Chris Williams, the course’s creator and lead teacher, is a professional musician and record producer with 17 years of experience working in education, managing projects involving special needs students. Chris and his team of Kapil Trivedi, Jason Condison and Moeed Majeed worked in partnership with school staff to get to know each individual pupil; by learning their strengths, communication level, likes and dislikes, they allow them to build on their individual musical abilities.

As it is processed in all areas of the brain, music can access and stimulate areas that may not be accessible through other activities. Autistic children are often able to perform tasks through music therapy that they may not be able to do through other therapies; it helps them improve their attention span, memory, sequencing, comprehension, academic skills, problem solving, decision making, and more.

Expression through music can greatly enhance the social confidence of students, helping them thrive both individually and in groups. Students described as “quite shy and timid” by their teachers would return to class after a music session with their moods lifted, happy to engage in learning activities with confidence.

The class teacher added: “It brought out a side of the students that I haven’t seen before. Watching my students independently express themselves through music and follow the instructions of the team was great!”

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