Music with deaf students

Sounding out is a three-year research (2015-2018), funded by the National Foundation for Youth Music and managed and coordinated by the London-based charity Creative Futures, providing a weekly music and music therapy programme based on movement and the use of the voice and instruments. It is for children aged 10-12 years who are affected by hearing impairments and attend two secondary schools in London. The project is organised by Creative Future in collaboration with a research group directed by Professor Deborah Vickers of The Ear Institute and the Professor Graham Welchdal of University College London and the Institute of Education UCL.

The project proposes to investigate and evaluate the following:

  •  hearing and perception of range of sound
  • appreciation of music and musical progress
  • non-musical progress (other types of learning)

The research is based on a pre-existing programme developed during previous research conducted in a primary school in London. In this research, the results suggested that a programme of musical training that involves singing also improves aural perception as well as the perception and production of language in students with hearing impairments. Furthermore, it helps to improve their vocal capacity and communication skills by encouraging simplified access to the source of sound as well as the enjoyment of the music.

At the end of the second school year, Sounding Out students participated at the Wandsworth Music Festival at the Royal Festival Hall, with a performance in collaboration with the theatre group and the set design group of their school.

A toolkit for teachers and educators working with deaf children has been released on Creative Futures website, with tips, activities and videos describing the research, written by Tiziana Pozzo and Dr Kathrine Mason.