University of Edinburgh

Music Performing, Creating and Listening

Presented on Wednesday 5 March 2008

Music 5-14 and S3-6 Additional Support Needs

Adapting teaching approaches for 5-14 music.


  • This doesn't vary hugely to what is being taught to pupils with sight. The difference is how you present your material to your child with VI.
  • Always approach the child saying who you are (if you are fairly new to them) and what you are going to do.
  • Allow the pupil to hear the sound of the instrument that you are playing to them, and explain that you are going to give it to them.
  • Give the child time to explore the instrument fully; its shape, size and how it can be played. Don't be frightened to say to them that it is fragile, as they are more than able to be careful with these things. Hand over hand action is required is a child is very unsure about what it is that they are holding.
  • If the instrument is cold, rough, large, heavy etc, explain this carefully as some children are touch sensitive. A negative experience of an instrument can prevent the child from wanting to develop any ability to play it in the future.
  • Always warn pupils if loud music or instruments are going to be played. Children with VI often have hearing sensitivity. Start the music quietly and build it up very gently.


Soundscapes - use songs and stories that talk about sounds that can be represented through musical notation, so the pupils can hear cues for performing directions etc. Use of sound stories / pictures not helpful unless solo work, which can then be adapted through size and use of tactile materials to represent sounds.


Listening must not be done in isolation, but with a physical representation of what is being listened to. Immerse pupils in as much live music as possible; eg: topic on Scottish Music - show them instruments and let them play instruments. Use tactile materials to represent sounds; metal for brass instruments; wood for woodwind instruments; strings for stringed instruments etc.

Access 1 and 2 courses

The requirements for this course are not that the pupils pass any 'examination' but experience and show 'to the best of their ability' an understanding or experience of a variety of musical concepts through their performances and compositions. We have adopted a formative assessment of listening materials that don't require the student to sit a formal examination as such. The pupils are required to have some awareness of concepts through the music they are performing or creating at the time of their performances. This allows the pupil to be aware of the concepts at that time, but don't require them to remember them over a sustained period of time that will then be formally assessed at the end of a year, like the Int 1, 2 and Higher exams.