As lead music teacher for SEND pupils, I have been visiting special schools in Ealing this year. I worked in small groups of 6 – 8 pupils, using the Charanga website and a unique instrument called the ‘Skoog’.

Charanga website is a fantastic resource as it has signed (sign language) versions of the songs that are part of the main scheme. I would typically begin a lesson with a warm up where children accompany the Charanga songs on untuned percussion instruments. The signed version helped children to learn the words and concepts of the song.

The Skoog helped children to work independently or with 1-1 support. The Skoog is a rubberised cube with a large button on each of its five sides. A note is played when the button is pressed. The Skoog is Bluetooth linked to an IPad so the pitch and sound of each note can be changed to a different synthesised instrument sound. Skoog software on the I pad means that the children can follow a colour code to play tunes that range from nursery rhymes to famous classical pieces. Over a period of time they became quite fluent at playing a tune on the Skoog.

I found the Skoogs were useful in offering the children something new and technological to engage them in music making. But the Skoogs were not a substitute for playing acoustic instruments, and I found that a balance of both electronic and acoustic was a good recipe for a successful lesson.

Nigel D'Souza, SEND Lead for Music (Ealing Music Service)