Our OK Music School lessons have returned to face-to-face during term time with hygiene precautions. OK Music School provides focused teaching for children and young people aged 5-25 with additional needs, to enable them to discover their innate abilities and develop their musical talent. At weekly classes, our qualified music therapists use specialised methods to enable pupils to gradually learn to play an instrument or sing, and perform in public, with some studying for music exams. OK Music School takes place at the Twickenham United Reformed Church and Hanworth Methodist Church. Many thanks also to Newland House School who provide music rooms free of charge on Saturdays.
“I love music because it gives me confidence and it takes me away from the pressures of real life. I make more friends here than anywhere else.”
- Preparatory Stage
Individual music therapy sessions, learning to listen, take turns and improvise on percussion instruments, to help develop creativity, communication skills and concentration.
- Music School Stage 1
Weekly individual lessons where pupils try instruments such as percussion, keyboard, violin, flute, xylophone, guitar or voice. A picture-exchange system is used to help pupils learn the first elements of music such as dynamics, pitch, tempo and to find notes on a keyboard.
- Stage 2
Individual or small groups lessons where pupils concentrate on their instrument of choice, learn to read musical notation, and build the confidence to perform in our public concerts.
- Stage 3
Some pupils are prepared for Royal School of Music exams and 15 pupils have passed music exams.
Our feedback shows the pupils attending OK Music School are being helped to:
- Improve communication skills
- Improve social skills and make friends
- Gain confidence and pride
- Improve concentration and focus.
- Express themselves
- Have improved emotional well-being
- Feel the joy of performing with others
- Feel part of the community
- Fulfill their potential – some will have the possibility to have a career in music
The IMPROVISATION RHYTHM PERFORMANCE (IRP) technique used at Music School was developed by our Music Director, Edison Carolino, to give pupils with communication difficulties the confidence to learn to play an instrument.
Edison has started running training workshops in Stage 1 OKMT IRP technique for therapists, parents and music teachers working with children and adults with additional needs, designed to help them to teach their pupils to learn how to play musical instruments. He has also produced the IRP Stage 1 booklet, which provides the teaching materials demonstrated during the training.
D is 8 and is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He lacks concentration and has some language and communication difficulties, which made it hard to take part in activities. D joined the OK Youth Choir, where he was silent for a few months until he finally joined in and started singing along. Then he came to OK Music school where he began to learn to play the piano, which now provides him respite and happiness. His concentration and motor skills have improved, and he is now confident in a group of children.
He took part in the Christmas concert in 2019 and played Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on the piano which gave him a great sense of achievement. His family were so proud to watch him playing in the concert.
D said, “I feel happy and excited to attend my music lessons!”
K is 9 years old and started receiving music therapy at 3 years old. She has a genetic condition called Williams Syndrome which causes global developmental delay When we first met her she was barely able to speak due to a combination of physical and developmental reasons. We helped her learn to speak by using the song Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, as one of a number of therapeutic techniques.
When she was 5 K joined OK Music School and has gained a lot of confidence as a result and is unstoppably enthusiastic in her singing. She loves performing in our concerts and recently passed her Grade 1 Singing exam.
L is 14 and has ASD and a severe learning disability. She is mostly non-verbal. A few years ago she was a bit lost in the wilderness but then she came to OK Music School, where she started to learn the piano. From just playing random notes and improvising, she is now able to play with 2 hands, is progressing in reading music and performs in our public concerts. At the Christmas 2019 concert she played the piano, accompanied by violin players from Richmond Orchestra, which she loved.
L has progressed in verbal communication, trying hard to pronounce the numbers 1 2 3 4 and she shows good understanding of rhythm. Music is very uplifting for L and gives her structure and a great deal of pleasure. She laughs and giggles on the way to and from her lessons.
G is aged 8 and has autism. Since he joined OK Music School he has shown great focus. He is learning piano and has learnt to read music and has played his own compositions as duets with the therapist. The therapist also encouraged G to use his voice to sing with power and he is now a confident singer, who is working towards his Grade 1 singing exam. As G himself says,
“Music makes me smile and makes me feel happy”
He has also turned his talent for music to art and had two exhibitions featuring his paintings of SpongeBob SquarePants! His mother is so proud that G has found his talent and that it makes him so happy.