Carrie Lennard, Special Needs Music Consultant.

I recognise the extraordinary impact that iPad technology has had on the special needs world.  Its highly accessible and interactive interface has created a metamorphosis in the learning environment and no less so than with music creativity.  Add to this the music-making app, ThumbJam and suddenly, new and exciting opportunities are accessible to children and adults with profound and complex disabilities.

I’ve been a special needs music teacher of children and young people with severe, profound and complex learning disabilities for 38 years.

For the last 5 years my students and I have been exploring the ThumbJam app on our iPads and produced some amazingly harmonious music together.  I use specific setups in ThumbJam and have composed accompanying music that harmonically “fits” with notes being played by the students.

As one member of staff noted, “I’ve observed first hand the approach being used with children with profound and multiple learning disabilities who have very little movement but have found the motivation and strength to play along.  I’ve watched their faces light up when they realised they were the ones making the harmonious sounds, it was pure delight!”

The Improvise Approach is the result of this work.  It enables everyone to create great sounding music in both solo and group settings, regardless of abilities.