Arthur Gill, Music Educator from Pakistan, completed the first of three modules on the Postgraduate Certificate in 'Sounds of Intent' at the University of Roehampton, London - the only course of its kind anywhere in the world. Arthur received the taught input while in the UK to enable him to complete the other two modules in the spring and summer terms of 2015 back in Pakistan. The course promotes reflective practice among those working through music with children and young people with special needs, introducing them to key theoretical concepts from the field, and encouraging them to consider their own teaching in the light of these. As well as attending and participating in the formal parts of the course over the three months he was in the UK, Arthur networked effectively with colleagues, and was able to spend time observing practice in a range of settings. The qualification he will receive at the end of the course in the summer will give credibility and weight to the incredibly important and pioneering work he is doing in Pakistan, promoting the use of music with children who have learning difficulties, in a context which is often sceptical and sometimes downright hostile. To put this in perspective, on one occasion Arthur was told to stop his music making at a school at gunpoint.
In Arthur's words:
Sounds of Intent Course attended at Roehampton University London by Arthur Gill, Pakistan.
Sounds of Intent framework is a fantastic approach to understanding and categorizing the communicative function of behavioural responses to music education in any setting. It is a much needed and methodical approach for educators to understand the variety of ways in which students with moderate to severe disabilities relate to all of the major areas associated with a music education experience. Specifically, the music classroom setting, materials, music genres and styles in relation to the student’s responses and the classroom setting all are covered in the Sounds of Intent approach for understanding student responses to music. How a student varies the difficulty of their interaction and responses to music and music teaching can be categorized and charted for growth over time. Since returning to my respective country I am intent on expanding Sounds of Intent with my students in all special schools in my city. I believe this approach solves the primary issue music teachers in Pakistan tend to have with understanding the student responses to music and incorporating the inclusion of participant’s profound disabilities in music education.
I have also gained additional professional insights into how to extend the project activities in Pakistan into appropriately supportive music making at home by the parents of the disabled children, thus enriching the place of music in their lives beyond the school.
Ideally, I would like to begin this next phase of musical development and implement Sounds of intent framework to the five special education centers in January 2015 but as a recent attack at a school in Peshawar city by the Taliban the security situation is not good here these days. We have serious threats of attacks on schools by the Taliban in Punjab province so all the schools are still closed since December till now and hopefully will be opened with in few days. The Government wants complete security measurements in all the schools.
As a result of this SOI training I have learned about the Sounds of Intent system, creating excellent contacts for enhancing the music instruction in schools. The overall goal is to help to bring SOI approach to music educators of children with disabilities from Pre-K through high school in a variety of settings during the course till June 2015. Thanks to ISME and SEMPRE for this amazing experience and international collaboration, which will be of invaluable assistance to children with disabilities in arts education in Pakistan.