Music is used to validate cultural preferences without censorship, share current music choices and sing perform them. Group work games are used to build relationships, create safety and minimize competition within the group. Collaborative listening and writing techniques are used to build lyrics and music lines, often using technology as well as acoustic and electric instruments, to facilitate full participation of all parties, regardless of music experience and technical skill. A CD of the work is produced and sometimes the music is performed for family and friends. A Skype project between a UK and a USA based school for children and young people with additional learning needs and disabilities created new music and peer teaching opportunities.
Due to short term funding, generally projects run 10-20 weeks. Through expressing themselves in creative music making, songwriting and beat based spoken word, young people learn to work together and to find new avenues for self-esteem. Sometimes their work is accredited through the National Arts Awards scheme (part of the UK’s National Qualifications Framework). The Arts Award has been a valuable validation of the work of the young people in our programmes, for some the first formal qualification they have gained. Young people begin also to value their voices and choices in a broader sense.
CRISP also runs similar programs for adults, with the aim of reducing isolation and enhancing wellbeing and community cohesion. These are funded by churches and government bodies. Other adult programmes include contributing to the Sidney de Haan Centre Guides for the development of Singing for Health conditions, and we hope to find ways to continue to make a difference to our challenged community.