Our schools programme Harmonise inspires collaboration between refugees, asylum-seekers, Roma and children of all backgrounds. The programme increases well-being among all participants, and engages kids who would not normally interact with refugees and asylum-seekers. It helps kids, teachers and the wider community understand who refugees are by working with professional artists who are themselves refugees.
One inspiring participating school, St Josephs in Salford, told us about their Prime Minister project:
The impact of Harmonise has been far reaching at our school. We are currently running a ‘Year 6 Prime Minister’ project where the children were asked to create a political party, logo and manifesto around one issue they feel is most important.
The groups and names chosen all reflected issues far superior to those we had expected with costs of transport, the environment and homelessness a big focus. The two that stood out to me were ‘The Justice Party’ whose focus was on mental health support for the police and on better justice for refugees and also ‘Equal Hopes’ which asked for better equality for men and women, rich and poor and refugee and national.
Harmonise has really opened our children’s eyes to the plight of refugees all over the world and through the visits to our school from the wonderful Sanja, Faz and Jeremie they have been able to ask questions and hear stories that have really developed their understanding. Later this week, after presentations and mini campaign events, KS2 children, our school governors and some local councillors will be attending school to vote for the winning party.
Our school is in an area that is not massively diverse so the Harmonise programme has been integral to help develop tolerance in our community.
I know this project has had such an incredible impact because it is all the children have been able to talk about over the last few months. Whilst on residential over the last few days, the children were chatting with other children from different schools and teaching them the songs and games we had learnt. Thank you to all involved for such an incredible few months, we really appreciate all of the hard work from everyone.
Head Teacher, St Josephs Primary School
We also asked independent consultant Sally Fort to produce a report evaluating the impact of Harmonise on participants, schools, audience members and the wider community. We were overwhelmed by the evidence of the impact of the programme, reflected in detailed feedback and observations around well-being, musical development and empathy. Read the full impact report here
Sally visited a school in North London to find out how the kids got on in our sessions. In this particular group, Harmonise uses music to increase the wellbeing of children who have been in the UK for less than a year. Using the ArtObs wellbeing scale developed by the Royal College of Music, she asked the kids to score themselves on how they were feeling and used detailed observation charts to see if the activities created any changes in wellbeing throughout the sessions.
Children involved in Harmonise experienced between 40-250% increase in feelings of wellbeing.” Sally Fort, Evaluator
Overall, the report found that children felt more engaged, confident and motivated during the sessions. This feedback shows that music is an integral part of wellbeing for children, and the effects can positively affect other areas of their lives too. This is so important for children from refugee backgrounds, who often struggle to feel accepted by their new communities.
The lower a pupil’s wellbeing before the session, the greater impact the programme had.” Sally Fort, Evaluator
Music is an incredibly effective medium. It is non- threatening, accessible on many levels and creative.’’ Teacher
Thank you to all the schools who have been involved with Harmonise, it is with their help that all our programmes with young people – Harmonise, Syria Summer Camp and Everyday People LDN – have been nominated for pushing the boundaries for inclusivity in music education by the Youth Music Awards.
We’d also like to say a big thank you to Cultural Consultant, Sally Fort for her work, these insights help us to keep improving and make sure that school children get the most out of Harmonise.
Take a look at this video about Harmonise and how we are innovating music education.
If you’d like to work with us, check out our Harmonise Resource for schools with video tutorials, sing-along exercises, and stories from refugees we are working with at musicaction.org/resources
We need you to to help us continue this life-changing work. Go to musicaction.org/donate.
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Harmonise is supported by Youth Music and GMCA.