Music Generation Sligo and Centre for SEN, Inclusion and Diversity Partnership

Music Generation Sligo (MGS) and the Centre for Special Educational Needs Inclusion & Diversity (CSENID) at St Angela’s College established an innovative Research, Trraining and Programming partnership in February 2015 with regard to the delivery of music programmes to children and young people with SEN, with an initial focus on children with autism. This was a strategic response to local demand in an important area of music education which required investment and resourcing. The partnership aimed to build on the complementary strengths of both organisations and provide opportunities to develop mutually beneficial relationships.

The Partnership sought to:

  • Promote quality music education in the lives of children and young people who need special support;
  • Research the efficacy of a new Special Discovering Music programme in increasing participation of children and young people with SEN;
  • Provide professional training/education for Music Generation Sligo tutors and other practitioners working in music education for children and young people with SEN;
  • Educate/inform teachers and carers on the impact of music education for children and young people with SEN;
  • Produce a Resource publication and CD;
  • Actively disseminate partnership and research outcomes to the academic and music communities through research papers and presentations at education conferences.

After a period of development, MGS tutors attended a two-day training programme on the needs of children and young people with autism, with Ailbhe O Halloran & Fiona Jennings, Project Lecturers /Researchers at CSENID. Further sessions in planning and mentoring in order to adapt the MGS Discovering Music programmes, created Con Tutti – the Music Education & Autism Programme. This was initially taught in two autism units from September 2015 – The Plaza at Our Lady of Mercy NS and The Glen at Ransboro NS. In September 2016, this programme was extended to The Ark at St Edward’s NS and An Cuan at St Brendan’s NS, in response to their interest in receiving the programme.

In 2016, the partnership looked at wider special educational needs at pre-school, primary and post-primary level. Further training and planning led to the first Musical Journeys Halloween camp for young people with Down Syndrome in November. Taking place over three days, the students were introduced to a variety of musical instruments, learned songs, danced and created art-work all in a fun and relaxed environment.

In December 2016, MGS and CSENID consolidated their knowledge and research and hosted a seminar at St Angela’s College Sligo, with the support of the Music Generation National Partnership Project for Inclusive Music Education.   The seminar included a keynote presentation by Professor Adam Ockleford and Derek Paravicini a renowned concert pianist who is blind and has autism; and a presentation by Mary McKenna who shared her strategies for combining education and music in a special needs pre-school for over 15 years.   Launched at this seminar was the Con Tutti resource pack (book and CD) co-authored by Music Generation Sligo tutor Roisin Egan together with Ailbhe O’Halloran and Fiona Jennings from CSENID.

For more info on the seminar please click here: