Inclusive music-making: How Jack made his sister’s wedding day so special

When Jack, a man with PMLD who I support, couldn’t attend his sister’s wedding in New Zealand earlier this year, I got together with his family and friends to make a plan on how we could include him in the party – from the other side of the world!

Jack LOVES music, so it was a no-brainer: let’s perform a song that will celebrate his very special bond with his sister Jenny. I spoke to Jack’s mum to gather stories and memories they shared together, and then wrote a few verses to the tune of one of Jack’s favourite nursery rhymes. I sang the song to Jack and it seemed to be an instant hit! Over the weeks that followed, many of us shared the song with Jack until he instantly recognised it and responded with that beautiful contagious laugh of his.

As the wedding day drew nearer, I met with his family and friends, and my colleague James recorded us singing these gorgeous memories that Jack shares with his sister. Jack listened intently and giggled a lot as we finished the song. His laughter was so wonderful that we used it throughout the recording!

Needless to say, Jenny was over the moon on her wedding day when she was surprised by Jack’s song projected on to the big screen, with Jack joining in by Zoom. This was one of the most rewarding music activities I have ever taken part in, and it’s an idea definitely worth sharing! Do you support someone who loves music and is missing someone very much? Why not help them to write some simple lyrics to one of their favourite songs and record the result for an absent family member? In these strange times, sharing loving memories and wishes can literally mean the world to those involved.

If any of you reading this feel inspired, I’d love to hear your finished songs- please do share them with me here or on Twitter!


Making simple musical instruments at home!

If you’re interested in the Zoom music sessions I’m running – or even if you just want a quick, fun crafting activity to do at home – why not make your own instruments from everyday objects? Here we’ll focus mainly on percussion instruments that help teach rhythm, just as we would do in a face-to-face session.

Shakers (think of them as makeshift maracas) can be made from absolutely any container you have lying around. Coffee jars or tins, plastic detergent and chocolate boxes, pop bottles, anything – the options are as endless as your imagination!

Continue reading “Making simple musical instruments at home!”