90 Minute Music Case Study

Working alongside Young People in Central Doncaster

Introduction

After Speaking with Fran Lightfoot of Astrea Academies, we became aware of a need to help young people in the most disadvantaged area of Doncaster, which is as it stands is the 2nd most disadvantaged area in the country. The School is host to 24 different nationalities and is very culturally diverse.

We worked with a group of 5 Young people age 8 years in the form of an after-school club. They were chosen specifically as they were identified as in need of additional support.

We joined them for six weeks for what they affectionately called “Music Club”

Foundation

On day one It was obvious that there were Children with ADHD or ADD or possibly mild ASD. There was a huge difficulty in focusing and little respect for the feelings of others, they all seemed to jostle and fight when they wanted something, rather than speaking and listening. The young people engaged well, but it was clear that they needed not only our support, but an awareness of the support they were able to offer each other.

Addressing challenges

One of the challenges when presented with a group containing individuals with a hyper focus is getting them to understand that the others in the group can add value to them.

We adopt an incredibly simple method of achieving this through simple counting beats and using our “speak to me session”

We used Acoustic instruments and actively explored the building blocks of music, including Tempo, Dynamics and Melody.

The teachers came in during the second session and took photographs and commented that good progress was being made.

What we did

After 6 weeks of working together, we played together as a band, used Synthesizers and Samplers. We explored world music from India, South America and Africa, taking the opportunity to play genuine instruments from those areas.

We created music from things we had found (Including a shopping trolley and a Tape measure) We used our voices creatively and sang. We used microphones, created DJ mash-ups, and free-styled versions of songs that the children knew. We also composed beats and simple melodies which we recorded.

Data Collection

Collecting data for these young people had to be empirical and qualitative in its nature. I conducted short video interviews which although weren’t in depth, they showed some of the character of the children. We found it useful to collect valuable feedback from the class teachers (below)

What the teachers said about 90 Minute Music.

Over the course of the music sessions, Simon has been fantastic. He has been understanding of the different needs and cultural issues that our school faces. He has also had brilliant communication with not only me but with the children and created a strong bond with them. Each child that has attended has progressed in themselves. (We have added in italic our own 90 Minute Music notes regarding each child)

What the teachers said about the Young Peoples development

GM –

He is a shy young boy who wants attention from all adults he comes into contact with. Over the music sessions he has become more resilient and understanding of other people’s thoughts and feelings. GM has also shown a love for music and asks every day ‘When is music club?’- GM has started to communicate with other people that he wouldn’t normally, and is using vocabulary that he has heard from adult interaction. GMs mum has also expressed how happy she is that GM has found a love and talent for something.

GM was initially shy, but quickly engaged and was very stimulated by the music equipment. He had a clear picture in his mind of how the music should sound and managed to convey it well. He had a strong will for doing things his way and his way only, which we had to work on. He was always happy to join us and after a couple of incidents of pushing and pulling, he showed increasing respect for other members of the group.

BG-

Before BG started music club he had difficulty with concentration and staying in his seat. Since music club has started, he has become more focused in class and will sit down for a longer period of time. This is a big improvement for him. BG has had an improved attitude and behaviour towards learning and school.

(BG) Has really made the most tangible progress, he has a passionate interest in using synthesizers to sculpt sounds and shows great communication skills and empathy. He has taken on a Zen like calmness and shows a lot more patience with others in the group

AR-

AR has poor attendance in school. Since the music club, AR has increased his attendance and has become excited to come to school for music club. AR also struggles with anger. Since the club, he has become calm and able to communicate how he is feeling and when he needs time to calm down.

(AR) Initially Seemed very competitive and reflected a negative attitude towards the only girl in the group. After dealing with a couple of small incidents he became more relaxed and apologised to the others. He showed a more compassionate side in the later sessions and was an enthusiastic member of the group.

DD-

DD has low self-esteem and confidence. The club and Simon have been able to build on this and have welcomed her with open arms. DD is now smiling a lot more and is willing to talk to a mixture of different people that she comes into contact with. This has also impacted her communication.

(DD) was timid and quiet at the beginning, she gave the impression that she needed an environment which was less chaotic and competitive than the one in which we started, we were able to offer that, she thrived, became more talkative and was always smiling.

TS-

TS has struggled with communication and interaction with other peers. Since going to the club he has started to communicate with peers in his class and some from other classes. He has also started to use stronger vocabulary when interacting with adults. We have seen an increase in his participation in conversations and class activities.

(TS) began quite introverted and felt uncomfortable engaging in the hustle and bustle of the first session. He went on to create his own space within the group and favoured the log-drum which is a type of marimba. Using the instruments allowed him to find a voice.

Quotes:

‘I love using the drums and making loud noises’ AR

‘The equipment is brilliant. I want to do more music with Simon.’ BG

‘Making new sounds is great. I like using all the buttons and microphone.’ GM

Impact

The impact after 6 weekly sessions has been truly life changing for these young people. They communicate better, are more resilient, they have a real love of music, and they flourished in an environment where they didn’t have to fight back or bunker down, giving them healthier routes to conflict resolution.

Although it wasn’t a typical teaching environment, for these children it was a catalyst for learning and development. The children were able to retain a lot of the things we did in previous weeks and were always repeating the one rule of 90 Minute Music “We don’t waste our time

All the children wanted to do more 90 Minute Music and we have discussed with teachers the possibility of doing this as they would like to roll it out across the School.

Thanks to our funders.

The impact of this investment goes far beyond positively changing the lives of the young people. It transcends to a more positive family life and has led to integrating and celebration of cultural differences creating stronger more resilient communities.

As a company the funding has offered us an opportunity to be sustainable after coming through the Covid-19 Pandemic. Over the past year we have built capacity supporting over 1700 young people.

Thanks again to Isla Foundation and Well Doncaster.

Thanks to the Staff at Astrea Atlas Primary for inviting us into their School and for making us feel welcome.

Free Music Sessions starting 28th of April!!!

ASKERN NORBRECK CENTRE EVERY WEEK FOR 6 WEEKS. Starts 28th of April
BULLCROFT Memorial Hall Limited places. Starts 28th of April 7.15pm

Book online via the Contact us page for Free Electroacoustic Music sessions.

We focus on health and development and how music can play a part in both. We are supported by Welldoncaster in partnership with DMBC.

We hold the UK Youth quality mark for working with young people.

Active Fusion Easter Camps 2022

Awesome to be asked to return to support Active Fusion on their Easter camps across Doncaster. We delivered to over 350 young people and it was personally rewarding to hear some, who I had worked with last summer relaying information which they had retained from our previous session.

We gave the young people with previous experience a chance to pass on their knowledge, which empowers them and supports confidence building, it was also good to see the Active Fusion staff rewarding this supportive behaviour.

We worked on communication, discipline and explored music from India and South America. 100% engagement. Well done to all who took Part, special thanks to the staff and volunteers who got hands on to make this project successful.

Atlas Primary Academy

Great enthusiasm and expression at Atlas Academy in the heart of Doncaster this week with use of Microphones and Samplers. The students embraced the opportunity to use the technology. Although we bring with us state of the art equipment, we always encourage freedom of expression and in recent weeks we have introduced a shopping trolley, a tape measure and improvised drum kits into our music making.

Thanks to Neil the caretaker for his help, looking forward to seeing you all again next week.

Imagine being somewhere……..

  • Where our differences are celebrated.
  • Where A.D.H.D, Dyslexia and other S.L.D.’s are not a barrier.
  • Where discipline and respect are nurtured within your group.
  • Where health and happiness are addressed as vital needs for development.

What do young people say about 90 Minute Music?……….

“I didn’t like 90 Minute Music – I Loved it” L. G. WEST ROAD PRIMARY

“I didn’t want to come today, I didn’t know it was going to be like this, I’ve really enjoyed it, when I heard it was going to be Music, I thought it would just be boring, but this is awesome, can I come next time?” M. B. TOM HILL YOUTH HUB

What do Professionals say about 90 Minute Music?……..


“Active Fusion has worked with Simon over the last year through our Fusion Camps delivering to 1000’s of children and young people across Doncaster. Simon creatively used music to help children and young people develop their communication skills, discipline and respect. He instantly felt like a member of our team with his infectious ability to engage young people and capture their imagination in minutes. A true professional and pleasure to work with, he has brought a new creative dimension into the work we do in schools and communities.”
Lindsy James – Active Fusion

Simon and the 90 Minute Music team offer some amazing work with children and young people. They work with them inside and outside of schools and really help engage those who are becoming disaffected, often the most hard to reach young people.
I can not recommend Simon and 90 minute music highly enough. He gets results and makes a difference! And always with fun and laughter
.” Clare Galliers – Tutors & Exams

  • 90 Minute Music Hold the UK Youth Quality Mark for working with young people
  • 90 Minute Music are members of EXPECT Youth
  • 90 Minute Music are fully trained in Recognising Specific Learning Difficulties

Highfields Boxing Club

Exploring what we have around us and visualising what may come in the future, recognising family, pets and pastimes as inspiration and support.

We put pen to paper to creatively explore rhythms and the building blocks of Music. The group responded well to more use of the technology this week.

Sometimes my role in 90minutemusic stems from the youth work which started the journey 9 years ago. Back then some of the kids just needed another adult around as a role model, and sometimes to remind them what is good in their lives. I think we did a little of this tonight.

Thanks again to Liz for the venue, the Parents for travelling from outlying villages, and of course the young people themselves, fantastically creative!!!

#dnshowcase2022

We recently attended a celebration of Doncaster Businesses. We were lucky enough to meet David Shaul, Jordan Goldsworthy and Robert Campbell from That Agency Co. They are a Creative Media company based in the Frenchgate Centre.

They created a vlog of the whole event here. https://youtu.be/jJiLt2-OihI

Great to talk to guest speaker Rik Courtney from Be More Social, who have given us business support through the CWB, along with many other wonderfully passionate and creative people. Credit to Doncaster Chamber for organising.

How do we do it?

Simple. We engage and explore.

What does it look like?

A 5 second snip of what we do

How do we get it?

You can contact us at 90minutemusic@gmail.com

Is it really FREE?

Yes….. All we ask is that you fill in a short survey, or video interview, such as the one here….. 90minutemusic.co.uk /2022/01/21/active-fusion-winter-camps/

Active Fusion Winter Camps

Just a quick word from some of the young people who we have been working with in December

Big thanks to the children at West Road for sharing their positive views

Once again thanks to Lindsy and all the wonderful staff at Active Fusion for their support, also the staff and pupils at Kirk Sandall, Windhill, and West Road for their commitment in supporting not only a boost to the education of their children, but much needed support for local families who have been affected by the pandemic.

Highfields Boxing Club

Great engagement, group working, problem solving, lyric writing and composition.

We have been working with young people with the support of the Barrier Buster Fund. This has been an incredible boost to our fightback from the Coronavirus pandemic. We used traditional instruments, samplers and synthesizers to compliment the vocals we recorded. 

The boxing community understand the value of respect and the young people gave us plenty while showing us a few moves that they had learnt. 90 Minute Music is about sharing experience and development, so it felt good to learn, as well as sharing our knowledge.

Thanks again to Liz for allowing us to use this gem of a venue to deliver, and big thanks to Well Doncaster and the Barrier Buster team for supporting the development of our young people.