Monday, 18 May 2015

Special, needs

A good training ride on the bike on Sunday morning, snatched between the downpours. I'm not sure it reaches 1 in 5 for more than a few metres, but it is a steady climb from the A9 up to Findo Gask, on the hill crest where Roman soldiers manned the signal stations two thousand years ago.  Poor guys, they didn't have the option of stopping off at the world's best farm cafĂ© at Gloagburn, as we did.

And Sunday afternoon, as usual, brass band rehearsal with Perthshire Youth Brass. A perfect day!

Do you have children (well, if you don't, imagine you do for a moment)? Which of them are special? And which of them have needs? I'm guessing you'd have to be a hard case not to answer “All of them of course!”.

That's something that any educator understands too. Every child is an individual, with their own unique potential, and the same simple needs - to be valued, to belong, to be listened to, to be treated the same as everyone else, to learn how to be themselves.  For some children, there are extra obstacles that make those needs harder to meet - physical or health problems, trouble with language or communication or learning, 'different' behaviour.

Music can help break down those barriers. Sometimes it just takes an inspired individual with a belief in the child. My fantastic tuba teacher Elaine Moffat is that kind of person. Here are some quotes from parents of her pupils.
  • “an exceptional ability to 'see a spark' which is almost totally hidden, and nurture that into something meaningful”
  • “very unusual for someone to have such high expectations for —”
  • “his siblings can be proud of him for the first time”
I seem to keep quoting Nicola Benedetti! Here she is speaking last week:

  “ is not an isolated subject. It gives you life skills that will help you deal with everything else.”

And only today there is this report on the positive impact of the Big Noise project (Sistema Scotland) in Stirling and Govanhill.

Music can change lives. Every bit of support for our bike ride will help Elaine and her many wonderful colleagues to keep doing that, for more children.

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