SMS DJs Perform at The Sound Lounge
In December 2020, Cognus bid to Youth Music’s Fund A, which aims to support musical projects for children and young people facing barriers. The funding bid proposed a collaboration between the Music and Sensory Impairment Services, where children with hearing and visual impairments would learn to DJ. We were delighted in March 2021 to find out that our bid had been successful, with the Assessment Panel stating that they were impressed with the proposal, which had strong competition.
The bid, supported by Sutton Youth Music Supporters Association (SYMSA), aimed to inform and develop the Music Service’s inclusive practices by learning more about the challenges pupils face with sensory impairments. Since the project began in April 2021, the Music Service has gained a strong understanding of these challenges and how we can adapt our teaching to ensure that all students have access to outstanding musical opportunities.
Since the start of the project, 25 young people in Key Stage 2 have worked with the Music Service’s expert DJ tutor to learn the essential techniques: mixing songs, using turntables, and building a set from scratch. To ensure that the pupils could access the lessons, we had to evolve our teaching practice, often with simple adaptations, that allowed them to make progress. One great initial outcome of the project was that it created an opportunity for the students to meet other young people that share similar impairments and for the parents to meet each other.
On Monday the 9th of May, we held a concert at The Sound Lounge in Sutton, where the pupils performed their DJ sets to a full capacity audience, which would have seemed incomprehensible for nearly all of them at the start of this project. At the beginning, many students struggled to see the screen and hear the beats being played, but they ended up delivering a fantastic performance with confidence. We are so proud of how far the pupils have come over the past 12 months, both with their technical skills and by how their confidence has grown.
Many of the parents shared their appreciation, saying that their children have thrived and their confidence has grown.
In December 2021, we successfully bid to Youth Music again to continue this work. The intention is to integrate more young people into this programme and allow our current cohort of DJs to become leaders in this project. With this work, we will deepen our learning and inclusion practices as we continue on our journey to help all young people in the borough to make the music they love.