We consider the need for our work to be important because it touches upon the educational achievement, mental and physical health and broader cultural / spiritual wellbeing of children and young people. These all form part of a wider package of needs that form a foundation upon which they can build to become happy, healthy and productive members of society.
The UK is, at the moment, experiencing growing levels of xenophobia, racism and cultural parochialism, with the number of hate crimes increasing by 29% in 2016-17, the largest annual increase since records began according to Home Office figures. 78% of all hate crimes were race related. Many children, particularly those living in rural communities with little ethnic or cultural diversity, are not exposed to cultural difference and this lack of exposure can lead to reduced levels of ‘cultural competence’ and increased levels of prejudice and discrimination. Within urban BME communities, youth culture is invariably dominated by gang culture, excessive materialism, hostility towards authority and misogyny, undermining the social fabric and social cohesion.
Research shows that social isolation amongst children restricts cognitive development, contributes to the onset of depression, poor mental health and low self-esteem. A lack of a sense of belonging and social inclusion can lead some young people, particularly those living in deprived urban communities, to join gangs or engage in anti-social or criminal behavior.
A number of school children, particularly the less academically able, struggle with concentration skills, may become alienated or disengaged from school resulting in truancy or disruptive behavior in the class room hindering their and others’ ability to learn. This therefore has a negative impact on their educational achievement and that of other children in the class.
Research also shows that music education in schools can contribute to improvements in academic achievements in other subjects.
Research shows a direct link between a lack of physical exercise on behalf of children and obesity and therefore diabetes and other forms of poor physical health. Levels of obesity amongst 10-11 year olds was 19.8% in 2015-16, an increase of 19.1% on the previous year. Evidence also shows a positive relationship between exercise, improved physical health and improved levels of mental health, happiness and well-being.
More information on how drumming and dance can improve the mental and physical, social and cultural health of young people and other members of the community can be found here.
Meeting the Need
Our outcomes are identified and achieved from over 20 years of experiences of successfully delivering workshops to young people in a way that enables them to engage and participate, and thus gaining the following benefits:
For children and young people they include :
Educational – we deliver a number of educational outcomes that are identified by both the National Curriculum and the Curriculum for Excellence. We have also identified outcomes that resonate with the Curriculum of the Republic of Ireland and the Deutsche Grundschule Lehrplan (German Primary School Curriculum). A creative, enjoyable educational activity has a beneficial impact on children who have become alienated from education, re-engaging with and re-enthusing them in school and learning.
Health – drumming has been shown to deliver a number of mental health benefits relating to stress, anxiety and depression as well as reducing levels of anger and aggression, while improving brain function, improved immunity and endorphin release associated with pain relief. Dancing is an enjoyable and accessible form of physical exercise which is particularly attractive to women who may not be attracted to sports and can be linked to improved holistic health.
Skills – research shows that rhythmical activities such as drumming can improve students’ concentration, listening and team-work skills which help them in the class-room and in wider life.
Integration/inclusion, reduction in stigma and discrimination – our multi cultural workshops help young people to understand and value cultural and racial difference, breaking down negative stereotypes and assumptions. This improves social cohesion in communities and the relationship between communities and their environment. Learning a new activity which brings people together from different cultures and backgrounds can help to support a renewed sense of identity and connection.
Behaviour – Drumming has also been shown to have a significant beneficial effect on young people with behavioural problems, developing skills such as commitment, self discipline, motivation, tolerance and co-operation and reducing their tendency to become frustrated, angry and aggressive.
Building confidence and self esteem – students who may not achieve academically but have good rhythmic or movement skills can achieve and thereby become more confident and happy.
For Teachers and Schools they include :
Improvement of school morale by having an enjoyable and exciting whole school activity.
Learning of new techniques with which to teach rhythm and dance, as well as simple rhythmic exercise with which to improve students’ concentration.
Teachers will use the formal educational work to inspire and inform learning in other subjects, such as geography lessons about Ghana / Africa, history lessons about Black History and so on.
The remedial drumming workshops will give teachers a new way of engaging and connecting with pupils which helps support the teacher/pupil relationship.