Alex here, lead musician on Digital Beginnings for Drake Music South West. Myself and Clive (trainee musician) will use this blog to share brief but regular updates on our planning and delivery so you can find out how things are going down at Penrose School in Bridgewater.
Back in June, I visited the school and spent a very pleasant couple of hours there. I met Liz Tebbutt, who is (amongst many other things) music co-ordinator at the school. I also met some of the students. It was certainly a lively and friendly place. It is quite a mixed school with 45% of the students having PMLD, 25% identifying ASD and the remaining 30% having SLD. Click here to find out more about Penrose School at their website.
Unlike many special schools, Penrose do not have a Soundbeam. However, they do have an interesting piece of kit called an OM-i, which Liz kindly let me have a look at. It works a bit like Soundbeam, in that there are beams (in this case beams of light) which you interact with to trigger audio or visual events. It has a number of static beams, and you need a reflective surface to trigger the beam (it comes with gloves and hats etc designed for this purpose). You could argue that this makes it less accessible than a Soundbeam, but Liz believes that it is more used than many SB2s in schools often are due to it's user friendliness. Have a look at OM-i for yourself here.
We are planning our work to focus on the lower school as a musician who is funded by Jessie's Fund will be working with the older students at around the same time we are there. There may be some opportunity for our projects to overlap and for some collaboration to happen.
At the moment it is undecided whether we shall use a 'term theme' for musical inspiration, go on a field trip somewhere or simply start with a blank canvas.
Our Digital Beginnings work is due to start after half term, so it'll run from November 09 until February 2010. We'll add to this blawg when more stuff happens.
Cheers for now