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Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union 

Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union

Making music should be a basic human right

This spring, at the seminar of the G.I.V.E – project in Finland, musicians Juho Lähteenmäki and Marlo Paumo delighted the audience with their musical skills. “Being visually impaired, I can’t read sheet music. I play correctly and precisely because I have an excellent ability to distinguish different notes in music and remember them,” says Juho. Juho plays the guitar and Marlo is the drummer and singer in the Resonaarigroup. This group consist of six musicians defined as disabled people.  Juho and Marlo and two others of the musicians in the Resonaarigroup are hired permanently by the Music Centre Resonaari as musicians, trainers, and co-teachers. The Music Centre Resonaari, located in Helsinki the capital of Finland, is an expertise and innovation center of special music and inclusive music education.

Resonaari started its operations in 1995 and over time it has developed into a respected expert center for special music education, music pedagogy and cultural social work both nationally and worldwide. Resonaari’s director Markku Kaikkonen and special expert Kaarlo Uusitalo have collected numerous awards and recognitions for their remarkable work.

All Resonaari students are diverse learners and do need support in learning. Principle in Resonaari is that everyone learns to play, and it enables participation in goal-oriented and level-by-level education for those at risk of exclusion and groups of different learners who do not otherwise could participate in similar education. Resonaari has nearly 300 active students and 12 teachers. The institute follows the requirements of Finnish National Curriculum for Education in the Arts and consequently enjoys official music school status in Finland. Resonaari Research and Development Unit produces material, organizes courses and continuing education, and keeps network for professionals, associations, polytechnics, and universities in Finland and abroad.

Everyone learns to play with FigureNotes®

The concept of learning in Resonaari is the individual encounter of each learner and the creation of a personal study plan through this. The focus is on finding and utilizing every learning potential. Through learning, the activation of learners is supported both as a musician and as a wider actor in the community. Teaching supports commitment to learning music, utilizing what has been learned and cultural activity.  

FigureNotes® is a system of notating music concretely, using colours and shapes. It gives learners the same musical information as conventional notation. Music therapist Kaarlo Uusitalo brought FigureNotes® to Resonaari in the late 1990s. Today, patterned sheet music is inseparable from Resonaari’s playing lessons, even though some students play traditional sheet music or by heart.  

FigureNotes® also serves learners who have difficulty understanding abstractions. The starting point of Resonaari’s operation is to see musicianship in everyone. Because of this, the potential is seen in every learner to also progress to become a musician and professional in the music industry. Individualisation is done so that the student can develop his skills from his own starting points. Based on this, it is not possible to make a general description or model of the content of a personal study plan, but each study plan must always be created individually. In the personal study plan, goals related to learning can be recorded more widely, but in all cases, i.e., for each student, the plan must include goals related to learning music and developing musicianship. 

The special features related to teaching and learning distinguish the activities of the Resonaari music school from other music schools. Despite this, the teaching follows from the starting point the structures of the broad curriculum of basic art education, whereby the teaching offers a way to apply for further studies in the field of music and, in some cases, training or professional tasks in the fields of music and culture, alongside the hobby of music.

Special music education 

Individualisation in special music education means recognising and believing in the learner’s potential and valuing as a musician already in the early teaching stages. Through this, teaching and teaching goals are music education and work in accordance with the broad curriculum of basic art education. In special music education, identifying general goals that serve the student’s musical and/or artistic development is a key starting point for a personal study plan. These goals should aim at learning or creating learning capabilities. 

The learner’s learning capabilities and the meaningful and best-serving way of teaching progress often become clear only in practice during the teaching process. The individualisation of the curriculum requires continuous evaluation of the teaching and sensitivity to refine or direct the teaching in the direction that best serves the learner and learning. When individualising the curriculum, it is important to note that the learner has found the goals and tasks that best challenge his resources. You must enjoy learning and understand that sometimes learning something new is slow, but at the same time, you must dare to challenge the learner to learn something new. 

Through learning, social skills, consideration of others and, more broadly, responsibility for the environment develop. At the same time, the agency in the cultural field and in the broader community grows, resulting in growth as a creator and user of art and an active member of the community. “Together with the Resonaarigroup, we perform music at various events. In addition, we teach and act as support musicians for our Resonaari students. We also do various music projects, for example, nursing homes and kindergartens. It’s nice to bring joy to people through music”, says Marlo. 

More than 70 different Resonaari music school students performed this spring at the Resonaari soi – concert, which has already been organized eighteen times. Resonaarigroup with Juho and Marlo was also present. You can enjoy this Resonaari soi – concert on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/live/lbsIoV1tgdY 

You can read more about Resonaari in Finnish on their website:resonaari.fi


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