DOWN SYNDROME, MUSIC AND EQUALITY
Music promotes equality
Music is a universal language. By its very nature it promotes equality. Anyone can have access to music on any level. Now it is time for the role of creative music making and performance to be a way of exemplifying real equality, inclusion, empowerment and self advocacy for people with Down Syndrome for whom finding a voice can be challenging. I want them to feel that tremendous sense of self when they hear their own work and be able to say “Yes, Listen to me, I have Down Syndrome and I wrote that.”
Down Syndrome and writing music
Composing music provides a portal for self-expression, self-understanding and self-belief. Good foundations for artistic practice balance instinctive creativity with a knowledge about the technique that is necessary for building a musical composition. It is as important to know how to compose technically, as well as being inspired to say something meaningful.
The nuts and bolts of perfection
Writing music involves a number of layers, skills and ‘tools of the trade’. In recent decades the idea that music needs to be written down in musical notation is only part of the picture. Advances in technology, specifically in music-software makes it conceivable and extremely viable for individuals with Down Syndrome to write their own music- to learn the core building blocks of composing and to capture unique imaginations.
Music and making decisions
Learning how to make decisions about defining artistic musical material can affect positive choice making in other aspects of an individuals’ life. A significant number of young people I encounter with Down Syndrome have low self-esteem and are perceptive and aware of the limitations associated with their disability. Often this is a psychological perception and not based on actuality. Traditional teaching and mainstream education settings are good at including individuals but people with Down Syndrome are often all too aware of the gap between themselves and their peers. Therefore positive reinforcement can go some way towards reducing this psychological anxiety therefore reinforcing their self-confidence.
An open opportunity for young people with Down Syndrome
What are you waiting for? During the past ten years the Venus Blazing Music Trust has grown a small community of families who have made strong connections. We challenge and move our members forward. Our participants have grown in confidence and want to explore the world as equals. We are now inviting a new cohort to join us. Check out our website and get in touch if you want to be involved in a charity which is a living example of what music and theatre can give to a young person with Down Syndrome.