Arthur Gill

Arthur is a music teacher for special needs children in Islamabad, Pakistan. Mobility First! Special Open Call with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs supported supported his trip to Glasgow, United Kingdom to take part in two weeks of bespoke training for working with music and children with special educational needs organised by Live Music Now Scotland.

As a community music practitioner and teacher, I went on special programme of visits to special schools in the Glasgow area, accompanied by a member of specialist music research team and also by the Chair of the ISME Commission for Community Music Activities who is supporting the initiative of Music in Special Schools in Pakistan. I traveled to various parts of the city, met new people, and made new friend who is an expert of music for children with disabilities.

The methods that I have learnt during the 2 weeks of training equips me to provide  students an intensive professional education in the musical discipline, prepare each student with a solid foundation in music and an expansive education in the liberal arts, develop an informed and inquiring mind that enables each learner to engage the fundamental issues of his or her art and to become an effective cultural leader in society.

Through community and continuing education programs, to offer the highest quality music instruction and performance opportunities for students of all ages. I will also arrange workshops for parents and give them awareness of music education for children with disabilities to help them overcome the challenges they are facing.

Exchanges with these new contacts have resulted in the development of a link between a few special education schools in the UK and Pakistan so we can continue to bring new curriculum, teaching methods and technologies to Pakistan. Thanks to ASEF for this amazing experience and international collaboration which will be of invaluable assistance to children with disabilities in arts education in Pakistan.”

 

The key philosophy of future plans of the project is continued dedication and commitment in the promotion of music education for children with special needs. Specially, the ailing community of Pakistan to connect with the local community and promote harmony among people from different cultures through music education. The outputs of this trip will enable me to create a musical community that is rich with cultural, social, and intellectual diversity.

As a result of this 10 days of training, I have learned about the Sounds of Intent music mapping system and built new contacts for enhancing the music instruction in special education schools in my country (Pakistan). Exchanges with these new contacts have resulted in the development of a link between a few special education schools in the UK and Pakistan so we can continue to bring new curriculum, teaching methods and technologies to Pakistan.

The overall goal is to help to bring new approach of music teaching to children with disabilities from Pre- Nursery through high school in a variety of settings. Thanks to ASEF for this amazing experience and international collaboration which will be of invaluable assistance to children with disabilities in arts education in Pakistan.

 

What are some of the most interesting lessons you have learned during your visit?

At the three Special Education schools I’ve visited, I have met with many experts in the field. I had a tour and introduction to the different areas of the schools such as sensory rooms.

I observed individual sessions with focus on soundbeam., exchanged experiences, views on music and special education.

During these visits I discussed a project, observed theatre company performance for pupils, participated in primary sensory class, led a joint music class and also observed music groups. I also Participated in primary classroom music group, also observed individual pupil currently learning the piano and other instruments, discussed experiences and ideas about music and special education.

I also participated in a 1-day workshop at the Glasgow Conservatory, combining music and dance with parents and children. I led one group in four activities within the workshop for primary school children.

 

What professional & personal objectives did you achieve in this activity?

As a music teacher, I had an awesome experience. I saw a lot of new technology for the first time in my life. My aim was to develop my skills and new techniques in teaching music to children with disabilities. I made professional contacts and literature suggestions to be obtained by me.

During the trip, we have developed plans to form a link between special education schools in UK and special schools in Pakistan through the contacts I have made there. I have also obtained plans for a new music curriculum and been introduced to new music technology such as those in Apple MacBook Pro and other assistive technologies. I have also learned further music teaching methods. The outcomes of these exchanges and collaborations have been the most fruitful experiences for me in my career as a music teacher because I am able to bring everything I have learned back to the special education needs (SEN) community in Pakistan.

Being a music teacher to children with disabilities it was my dream to obtain education in any foreign university which I have not fulfilled due to lack of financial support. I have learnt a lot about music teaching in the field of Special Education which I can use to develop a better program and development of music practice in SEN schools in Pakistan.

Adapting and sustaining the music education profession in Pakistan is not as easy as in other countries. It is a ground reality that Pakistan is one of the most challenging countries of the world for arts and music. Sometimes we have to face harsh reactions from some sections of the society. Some parents do not even allow their children to learn music in the schools.

Considering the importance of music in the education of special children, we are trying our best to use music as an important tool in teaching this population. We have had a little bit of success in convincing parents that music can help a lot in the process of learning and development in children especially those with special needs. Whereas in the United Kingdom, being one of the most advanced and diverse countries of the world, they have had significant success in this area for a long time. I look forward to continue learning from my peers and mentors whom I have met during my trip.

The Mobility First! Special Open Call with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is still on-going!