teaching brass to special needs kids

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by satchmo shaz, Feb 21, 2006.

  1. satchmo shaz

    satchmo shaz Active Member

    Hi guys, I am teaching brass to a group of special needs kids for one hour every week any tips, ideas etc?
    I have bought some tatty but playable brass instruments which they love!!
    Some kids have behavioural difficulties and some have learning and/or physical difficulties. They arent allowed to take em home for obvious reasons!
    I could do with some very basic handouts/fingering charts etc
    Does anyone else use these or teach special needs kids brass?
  2. jingleram

    jingleram Active Member

    I can't help here, but let me say you are doing a great job...I hold you in high regard for doing this, as it cannot be an easy task, but one that will bring so much joy to these children I'm sure! Keep it up.
  3. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    Sharon, there is a nice animation on here, although it is a bit small. If I was you I would contact the owner (presumably through chapeltown band) and ask him if he would mind you using some screen shots which you could blow up.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2006
  4. super_sop

    super_sop Supporting Member

    Bets of luck shaz!, it really is a hard task, we have one young man in our youth band, who has a few problems, when hes good he's great to work with, when hes not its a huge disruption to the whole band. All i can say is your going to need loads of patience, but stick with them.
    one thing i have learnt is that if they are happy it will be a lot easier.
    keep us posted in how you get on, perhaps you can give us some tips in a few weeks.

    keep up the good work:clap:
  5. satchmo shaz

    satchmo shaz Active Member

    we have a young lad with learning difficuties and short term memory in our training band and I have to write letters and numbers on his music and he sort of "remembers" the rhythm but he is a lovely ladvery well behaved and doesnt run round the room waving a trumpet in the air like some of these at the special school:sup
    BTW they all love the drums too! and the kit gets dragged out everytime I am there!:D
  6. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    Make sure you hold their attention for as much of the hour as posible. This doesnt always have to be music related and I always found stories of things I have done in the past really grab them as they seem to remember them and ask for weeks on end. That gains trust and interest really quickly.

    To start with I would put the desire to teach them to be good players on a backburner and let them enjoy blowing / hitting these new toys. Those with a nutural ability will soon become apparent and then you can start tailoring your lessons to the new levels each has reached.

    Enjoy it yourself, that is the over riding factor in my mind as the kids are not completely stupid and if they see you are doing it as a chore it sonn reflects in their behaviour. You are doing a wonderful thing Shaz, you will no doubt take a lot from this personally as well as giving the less advantaged something that they will enjoy immensely and may even change their lives.

    Awesome :clap:
  7. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    Have you tried sayings?
    When I'm teaching primary school kids (or, sometimes I have used this in secondary too if they get confused!) instead of a rhythm, it's a fruit... two quavers for example is Cher-ry... quaver and 2 semi-quavers is pine-ap-ple... 4 semi's is sil-ly-bil-ly... etc etc etc... It's a very effective way of teaching and fun with the little ones especially and I'm sure this young lad of yours would find it fun and remember what he's doing easier.

    When I was 18 I led a steel band group of 7-11 year olds... One lad who I'll never forget, had behavioural problems and got disruptive at times- some of the other kids would bully him a bit for it...
    It was pretty bad before I took over from the previous leader, who just got him playing junk percussion... I gave him a bit of authority, and let him play whatever drum he wanted to; and it completly changed him...
    He concentrated much more and got right into what he was doing... yes, sometimes he'd go a bit "wild" or upset or whatever, but I'd get him to the front of the group, give him my cowbell and let him count everyone in and *try* to keep time :lol: ... calmed him back down again and I took back the cowbell and sent him back to his drums....

    Obviously a bit different to the brass teaching your doing here, but I'm sure there's some sort of way similar of letting someone have a bit of authority which makes them feel special, even if it's just for 5 minutes...

    I'll have a think for some other ideas, but hope the above helps a bit! :)
  8. horn__blower

    horn__blower Member

    wow, cool for doing that! is that at a school or something?

    Tho its a bit of a difficult mix i think - i know that behavioural and learning difficulties often get coupled together, but i think that the approach and the needs of both can be *totally* different!
    i tried teaching a child with downsyndrome the cornet once, but unfortunately we didnt get very far. she struggles reading, and so teaching a whole new lot of letters etc etc was very difficult at the time and with where she was at at the time.

    i've seen adults with learning disabilities find great joy in listening to brass instruments being played, especially playing really high notes, and making funny sounds.
  9. horn-girlie

    horn-girlie Member

    not brass, but at school we have some special needs children come to do music (mainly percussion), which i know isnt the same but basically i've found its best to keep things as simple as possible! also, i dont know how severe these children are, but the ones we help have varying canditions - audism/deafness/aspergus syndrome etc. It seems really important aswell to treat each child differently - some hate loud noises and some just love to make a racket! But basically the simpler the better and they'll love it!
  10. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    Only if the stories are age-appropriate, mate!

    I have taught a few special-needs kids, but have always found it quite challenging. One fatal error I made when I'd just started teaching was to bring in the child's Mum - he played up even more than usual :(. Experience has led me to try not to pander to the child too much; if they have shown an interest in playing, there is usually consultation between parent and class teacher to determine whether or not the child could cope. If it is decided that the child can cope with learning a brass instrument, then I try to treat them in exactly the same way as I would if they were any other child, but I do tend to slow the process down a little so the information has time to sink in.

    If there is a question mark over the child's suitability to learn, I usually suggest a 'trial' period of 1 term to see how they get on.

    Best of luck!
  11. satchmo shaz

    satchmo shaz Active Member

    Thanks for all your advice ! One parent has asked me if i will teach a particularly disruptive kid on a one to one basis privately................ I told her to ring me next week as its half term:confused:
  12. rutribal

    rutribal Member

    Hello there. I find that it is much easier to create lesson plans when you know exactly what the problem is with the child, this way you can get a rough idea of progress they will make. Not necessarily playing wise but Music helps them develop as people. Have a look on Google for info on Music therapy. You may find some fascinating stuff on there. I know I did for my dissertation. I find the key thing to remember however is that however small a step forward may seem to you, it is a great leap forward for them. It is terribly difficult work but I find the most rewarding.

    Best of luck and don't lose patience, however easy it may seem.
  13. satchmo shaz

    satchmo shaz Active Member

    way hey!! 3 of the kids "played" hot cross buns, ina fashion with me helping them!
    They were so chuffed:clap: :biggrin:
  14. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    That's great news :clap: Hope that they stick at it and enjoy playing.

    All you need now is a bumper pack of neurofen!
  15. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    <random> Cuprofen's cheaper! :p </random>
  16. EflatTenor

    EflatTenor New Member

    Great you're doing this! Lots of kids with a disability find great fun in playing music!

    Well, I don't think I can help you, I 've no experience with children with learning difficulties. I 've played the tenor horn for about 7 years, and I'm blind and spastic (not very bad, but at the moment I can't walk , sit in a ordinary chair or hold my instrument), so if you like to know how I'm able to play in the band, you may ask here or contact me.

    wish you good luck and have a lot of fun with the children!
  17. Ruthierhyme

    Ruthierhyme New Member

    Hi, I'm new to the forum, and just wanted to say that it sounds like you're well on the way :D

    What tips and techniques are you using to help them?
  18. satchmo shaz

    satchmo shaz Active Member

    quick update!
    I am also now doing a percussion workshop at the same school which they really enjoy. I have bought quite a bit of hand held percussion as well as different sticks etc for different sounds
    Regarding brass some of the kids can read music a bit as long as the tunes are familiar and I have to write fingering on as well as the note names but they are gradually remembering more. Some seem to be better on horn and baritone

    any further help and advice more than welcome!!;)
  19. satchmo shaz

    satchmo shaz Active Member

    well, time for a quick update on my special school, I run separate percussion and brass workshops which is better, I keep simple records of attendance, behaviour and progress to feed back to the head, they often behave much better for me apparently!!
    2 of the kids progressed sufficiently to be able to play 2 christmas songs in the school concert, Both school and parents were amazed and delighted:clap: . I have now invited these 2 kids to our training band which they love!!
    Everyone else just enjoys joining in and I have been thinking of starting a singing group there, can anyone recommend some simple songs, at primary level maybe using hand held percussion etc
  20. Di B

    Di B Member

    The only tunes I can think of are this old man and if you're happy and you know it - these can easily be adapted for percussive instruments.

    You might want to use some basic songs but put in your own words.... you could use old MacDonald but sing "(Name of school) had a music group e-i-e-i-o, and in that group they had some (Name of instruments) e-i-e-i-o."
    That way you can get every instrument to play a solo, the kids know the tune, but its their own tune too.

    If you want something more advances than nursery rhymes I remember using percussion instruments with singing books when I was at school - I'd recommend phoning Windblowers in Nottingham and asking them what they would recommend. I'm sure they would be happy to help.

    Finally, if you ever need assistance outside 9 to 5 on this, feel free to call me and if I'm in the area I'll come down. I miss teaching!

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