As much of the UK is beginning to unlock – although the extent of this varies greatly for different client groups and in different localities – we are being asked to come to terms with a “new normal.”

You have the knowledge, skills and experience to keep music an integral part of this new way of supporting the children and adults you care for. But resources and stamina might be a different matter!

So here are three things which might help with this:

1) The Musical Instrument Fund is still open for applications. Several of you told us that having too few instruments was preventing music sessions, as passing round instruments risks cross-contamination. It might also be the case that you don’t have the right kind of instruments, and would like some that can be held onto for a whole session by each individual participant.

2) Launching our 3rd Activity Book: Interactive Music-Making for the U5s
Early years practitioners may be looking for methods to work with vulnerable children who need help settling back into nursery or whose social and emotional development has suffered during Lockdown. This 3rd Activity Booklet sits alongside our Activities Booklets for working with adults with learning disabilities and people living with dementia).Find it on our Resource Page.

3) Videos to remind, refresh and inspire your music session leadership

Be inspired by how Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust Music Therapy Service use traditional tunes from different cultures, such as The Mango Walk, Soualle (an African lullaby), Head Shoulders Knees and Toes, and Little Brown Jug.

Remember how effective targeted songs can be: a Hello Song (and a more lively version), Activity Song, Listen to Everyone and Goodbye Song.

And – a familiar face to many of you – refresh your use of some familiar Interactive Music-Making activities by watching Linda Mitchell in action:

Session 1: Are You Ready to Hide?
Session 2: Shake shake shake!
Session 3: Old MacDonald

Session 4: The Grand old Duke of York
Session 5: Row Row Row the Boat/Twinkle Little Star
Session 6: Interactive Music-Making recap session

Not what you need? In recent months partners have asked for help developing their music sessions to work alongside COVID-19. This has included ideas for bringing together children who don’t know each other well, and in sessions when you were trying to avoid using musical instruments. However, nursery life – and life in other settings – may look quite different now. So, how can we support you right now? Please get in touch to let us know if you’d like activities for a particularly challenging aspect of care, or you’d like to chat with a music therapist or any of our Partners who might be using music in similar situations to you.

Peer Experience Meetings: Some of our Early Years Practitioners got together with Alexia Quin via Zoom last month and we hope to meet in person next term (at James Wolfe School, Tuesday 16 November, 4-6pm). If you would like to share experiences with other practitioners using music with young children, you can sign up here! If you’d like to share experiences with people using music with a different client groups, let us know.