Music education research in schools for d/Deaf children and d/Deaf resource bases in mainstream schools

A male teacher watches a young boy around 11 years old  playing bass guitar. He is using vibrotactile equipment with his feet so that he can feel the vibrations from the bass guitar. A young girl in school uniform is watching and waiting her turn.. She is wearing a cochlear implant over her left ear.

We are now inviting schools and resource bases for deaf children to participate in a new research study looking at how vibrotactile feedback can contribute to the effective teaching and learning of music in the school classroom.

The opinions of pupils, music teachers and teaching and learning support staff are being sought and we expect to work with up to 180 pupils over the course of the study.

Picture of the musical vibrations schools system of vibrotactile equipment, shown in a classroom setting
The Musical Vibrations system consists of hand and foot ‘shakers’ that convert musical sounds that can be heard, into vibrations that can be felt through the skin. The user places the palms of their hands and/or soles of their feet on the shakers in order to feel the music.

Are there any benefits in taking part?

Pupils will have the opportunity to access sound and participate in musical activities and use instruments in novel ways by using specialist vibration equipment.

During the research, teachers will have the opportunity to gain experience in using specialist vibration equipment and to create musical activities which use the equipment.

A young girl wearing school uniform in a classroom. She wears a cochlear implant over her left ear. She is using vibrotactile equipment with her left hand and looking at a MacBook screen. Another boy is using vibrotactile equipment with his left hand in the background.

What is the ultimate goal of the research?

If the results of the study suggest that the Musical Vibrations system can contribute to effective teaching and learning in the music classroom, we would aim to facilitate the provision of a system for every school and resource base for d/Deaf children.

To do this we would provide information, advice and technical help for schools wishing to purchase a system, and coordinate funding bids from national funding bodies such as Youth Music.

Foreground shows teenage boy in school uniform in classroom, wearing hearing aid, seated in wheelchair, using vibrotactile equipment with both hands.  Behind him are two pupils are seated and are using vibrotactile equipment with feet. A male teacher is walking across to them. A female teacher is watching.

Is our school suitable to take part in this study?

If you can answer ‘yes’ to the following questions then it is likely that your school is suitable:

  1. Do pupils have levels of hearing loss which are classed as severe or profound, whether or not they use assistive technology or have additional needs other than hearing loss?
  2. Is music offered in the curriculum?
  3. Do you have music teachers?
  4. Do you have the space for the equipment to be accommodated for a period of four weeks?

Accessibility

The raised platform allows all pupils to have comfortable access to the foot shakers at the correct height. It is surrounded by a balustrade and has single step access.

Pupils who use a wheelchair may prefer to be supported to access the seating on the raised platform, or to use the foot and hand shakers from their wheelchair.

Teenage boy in school uniform in classroom, wearing hearing aid, seated in wheelchair, using vibrotactile equipment with left hand. He is attracting the attention of a teacher using sign language.

How is the study conducted?

  • The study would last for four weeks.
  • Music teachers would plan and teach four music lessons with each participating class, which make use of the shakers in any way they see fit.
  • We will offer to jointly plan and team teach the first lesson to support teachers in using the equipment for the first time. It is easy to use but can be daunting at first!
  • If they wish, teachers may also allow supervised access to the equipment during unstructured times such as lunchtime, or as an extra-curricular activity.

What data would we gather?

Table showing the type of data collected in the study, from pupils, music teachers and teaching support staff

What needs to be done before the study starts?

  1. Gatekeeper consent: We would first provide information to the head teacher of the school and seek their informed consent to carry out the study
  2. Participant consent: We will then seek informed consent from all participant groups:
    • Pupils: simplified child-friendly information sheet and assent form
    • Parents/carers: information sheet and consent form –we provide both paper and BSL translations of these documents
    • Music Teachers: information sheet and consent form
    • Teaching and Learning Support staff: anyone who is present during the music lessons may participate and give their feedback
  3. Delivery: We will deliver and install the Musical Vibrations equipment in your music classroom/ other suitable location within school for four weeks. It is fully insured
  4. Training: Music teachers who consent to participate will receive training on how to use the equipment

Safeguarding

Black and white picture of woman with curly hair, smiling

The researcher is a UK-qualified music teacher who holds Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and has recently undergone safeguarding update training.
As a working secondary school teacher she is familiar with safeguarding procedures in schools. Evidence of the researcher’s enhanced DBS clearance will be provided to the school.

A pdf of this information is available here

To talk to us about taking part in the study, drop us a line at musvib@liverpool.ac.uk

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