Music for Deaf Children

Music for Deaf children is currently our fastest-growing programme designed and delivered by professional Deaf musicians.

It includes:

• Classroom music provision

• Working in small groups with activities tailored very specifically for the needs of each age group

• 1:1 instrument tuition for KS2 students – currently on piano, woodwind, percussion and string instruments

• Support for schools to enable Deaf students’ participation in major music partnership projects

Ruth Montgomery, the programme leader and creator of the unique teaching method implemented in schools for Deaf children where Music of Life projects are running, is explaining her work:

“My name is Ruth Montgomery and I am a Deaf musician.

I studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama for my music degree doing a wide range of music subjects, with the flute my specialist performing subject. Since graduation over 15 years ago, I have been working in all kinds of educational settings, doing 1-1 and group teaching for all ages, levels and abilities. 

Sadly, in many schools for Deaf children music only comes in the form of one-off workshops. While they are great for short bursts, nothing can compare with weekly lessons for Deaf children.

With Music of Life, my colleagues and I are able to visit schools and work with Deaf children on a weekly basis. The main focus is on language development through songs, so I begin this with Early Years children as it is important to lay the foundations for communication. There are counting songs, props, visual pictures, actions and sign language. The wonderful thing about songs is their predictive nature – a lot of them are repetitive, fun and easy to remember. The children start to have their favourites and ask for more. Music provides emotional, social and language development, so the Early Years foundation stages depend on that.

As we move on to Primary Years we work on rhythmic timing, structuring and the elements of music.  As a Deaf musician myself, I know that so long as I know how music is read and played, it supports my listening senses. So the teaching is very much based on empathy and my passion to see them enjoy and thrive in those activities.

Every child I teach has their own individual hearing level – some are mildly Deaf, some are severe, and some are profound. Some wear hearing aids, some don’t. The main thing is that I work on developing their musicality, through visual resources and showing them how things are done. Classroom working and demonstrations are the best way of doing this.

My rapport with the heads, teachers, teacher assistants and admin staff are all very important. This shows young people that we are all in this together, and I have been very lucky to have their support and involvement. They allow me to use the walls in the classroom to display work. In that way it becomes a reminder of what they have learned and that music is a ‘normal’ part of their school life.”