1st Edition

Addressing Issues of Mental Health in Schools through the Arts Teachers and Music Therapists Working Together

By Jane Tarr, Nick Clough Copyright 2022
    362 Pages 44 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    362 Pages 44 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    This book outlines how teachers, music / arts therapists and teacher trainers have engaged in participatory action research to facilitate regular group music listening and improvisational music making with children and young people in their classrooms, highlighting its impact in addressing issues of mental health and providing social and emotional access to learning.

    The book includes examples of classroom practice, evidencing how safe, inclusive and interactive music making can stimulate experiences that alter children and young people’s moods, enhance their social skills and enable their connectivity with each other and with learning. It describes participatory action research approaches that support inter professional learning between teachers and music / arts therapists. Five narrative accounts of classroom episodes provide a basis for continuing reflection and critical theorising about young people’s relational health and sensory engagement. The book explores outcomes from non-verbal dialogic interaction and attachment focussed practices. It advocates new forms of rights respecting professionalism.

    Providing new frameworks with which to enhance the wellbeing of vulnerable children and young people in classroom settings, the book will be important reading for researchers and students in the fields of inclusive education, music / arts therapy and teacher training. The contents are significant for practitioners looking to support children and young people’s recovery and reconnections in the classroom.



    List of tables

    List of figures

    List of textual outcomes

    List of contributors

    Foreword: Saville Kushner

    Preface: a review of the findings of the book in light of the COVID-19 pandemic

    1. Creating agendas for classroom based research to address issues of mental health

    2. Designing participatory action research approaches to support the development of inclusive practices

    3. Professional learning about group music making and relational health in classrooms

    4. From sensory engagement to self regulation through music and arts experiences

    5. Inter professional exploration of the dialogic dimensions of music based therapeutic teaching practices: towards establishing educational and therapeutic rationales

    6. Creative attachment focussed therapy practices in the classroom

    7. Exploring ways in which music / arts based therapeutic teaching practices exemplify the principles and values of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)

    8. A review of participatory action research as a basis for inter professional learning within the school setting: developing teachers as music makers in the classroom

    9. Exploring how the documentation of participatory action research activities supported professional learning and recognition of young people’s reconnections through music

    10. Envisaging further collaborative music / arts based therapeutic teaching practices within educational settings

    11. Introduction to the Complementary Materials

    CM1: Anna Rita Addessi Developing an observation schedule using Flow dimensions

    CM2: Alexandra Carvalho Entering art spaces with young people where music is playing

    CM3: Elisabetta Colace Strategies drawn from dance movement therapy for working with young people with vulnerabilities in the school context

    CM4: Poliksena Hardalova A sensory journey introducing the new school year

    CM5: Poliksena Hardalova Drama as a journey into yourself: the reflections of a teacher trainer

    CM6: Eunice Macedo with Poliksena Hardalova The wider arts as experiences that support young people and teachers working together

    CM7: Eunice Macedo Teachers’ understanding of the contribution of shared arts experiences to their professional development.

    CM8: Luis Mesquita The application of United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in an alternative educational setting for young adults

    CM9: Francesca Quadrelli Music therapy approaches in the classroom, a focus on group work

    CM10: Sofia Santos Understanding teachers’ competences in constructing a school play

    CM11: Krzysztof Stachyra Group music making approaches to enhance relational health

    CM12: Krzysztof Stachyra Creating a safe environment for listening to music in the classroom

    CM13: Krzysztof Stachyra A creative arts approach to address emotional difficulties

    CM14: Krzysztof Stachyra Exploring the need for arts experiences within teacher education

    CM15: Jane Tarr Choosing musical instruments

    CM16: Jane Tarr Musical elements

    CM17: Jane Tarr Exploring the PACE model – Playfulness, Acceptance, Creativity, and Empathy

    CM18: Jane Tarr The Sanctuary Model and LINK project experiences

    CM19: Jane Tarr Listening to music: guidance and selections

    CM20: Cathy Warner Mirroring and matching through music making

    CM21: Cathy Warner Communicative musicality

    CM22: Cathy Warner Healing brain functions through sensory and relational music making

    CM23: Cathy Warner Insecure attachments: music making as a healing approach

    CM24: Becky White Musical improvisation

    CM25: Barbara Zanchi Music therapy approaches to listening in the classroom for children and young people

    CM26: Barbara Zanchi The value of non verbal musical dialogic principles and actions from the perspective of a music therapist

    Author Index

    Subject Index



    Dr Nick Clough taught in inner urban primary schools before moving into teacher education, first as an LEA advisory teacher and then within the University sector. At UWE, Bristol he became Director of Initial Teacher Education. He currently works as a professional development adviser and community musician. He coordinated the ERASMUS+ LINK Project.

    Dr Jane Tarr taught children and young people with social and emotional difficulties before moving into higher education as a teacher trainer / researcher in inclusive education. At UWE, Bristol, she became Director of Teachers’ Continuing Professional Development. She is a qualified music therapist, currently working with young people in schools and clinical settings.

    "This volume reports on a unique and ambitious project and many years of innovative work in integrating therapeutic and musical pedagogies, working with young people facing challenges in their lives. What Nick Clough and Jane Tarr have achieved through their collaborations with colleagues across Europe is a remarkable set of insights into the power of music and arts therapy in addressing the needs of young learners. The work is rigorous and underpinned by excellent scholarship, and also includes a set of fascinating complementary materials prepared by their colleagues. The book will certainly be invaluable to those specialists working in the field but will also inspire other teachers, psychologists and anyone who has an interest in links between therapy and arts education."

    Ian Menter Emeritus Professor of Teacher Education, University of Oxford, UK, Former President of the British Educational Research Association

    "So often in music education we value aspects of practice we don’t have the language to express. This book, by re-seeing music education through a creative / therapeutic lens, allows us to ‘go beyond’ existing understandings and language limitations to reconsider music’s role in relation to young people’s mental health. It therefore creates significant opportunities for teachers and teacher educators to critically reflect on how we are in the classroom, who our young people are and what they need. Of particular significance are discussions of whole group music making for relational health, the role of non-verbal interactions, the importance of communicative musicality to enable creative attachments, the role of improvisation, and rethinking what we mean by safety in the music classroom. This book, easily accessible through its graphics and descriptions of musicing, gives all involved in music education a very much needed justification to discuss, do and think differently about music education and young people’s mental health."

    Dr Carolyn Cooke, Music Education Tutor, Faculty of Wellbeing, Education & Language Studies, School of Education, Childhood, Youth & Sport, The Open University, UK

    "This thought-provoking book has come just at the right time when music and the arts are seemly undervalued and concerns about the mental health and wellbeing of children are at an all time high. Running throughout is the importance of teachers’ actions and reflections in providing safe spaces for ‘music and arts based therapeutic teaching practices’ as a starting point for learning. Drawing on participatory action research (PAR) within an ERASMUS + funded LINK project, Nick Clough and Jane Tarr provide detailed graphic and narrative accounts of inventive classroom practice, accompanied by theorised professional reflections, that reveal the significant role of music and the arts in class-based shared recovery. This original book contains a wealth of practical ideas that will support teachers’ professional capacities and confidence to develop inclusive practices across different age ranges."

    Dr Corinne Woodfine, BA Primary Progamme Leader, Faculty of Education, Manchester Metropolitan University

    "The release of this exceptional book could not be timelier. As the mental health of young people continues to deteriorate in the face of multiple societal emergencies, teachers are increasingly charged with the task of including learners who have significant social, emotional, and mental health challenges, in their classrooms. Clough & Tarr powerfully demonstrate how interprofessional collaborations between teachers and music / arts therapists can lead to safe, inclusive, and sustainable classroom teaching practices which enhance children and young people’s resilience. The inclusion of "relevant and reusable products" generated from Participatory Action Research, has resulted in an extremely practical as well as informative resource. I highly recommend this text to educators in schools and universities, as well as music / arts therapists and other mental health workers, throughout the world."

    Dr Daphne Rickson – Associate Professor of Music Therapy, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

    "I was highly impressed with the outcome of the inter professional collaborative work by a group of teachers and music/arts therapists in producing this edited book. When the world is challenged by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, "addressing issues of mental health in schools through music and the arts" is a must read. Not only is it great for teachers and arts/music therapists…it is also a wonderful resource for anyone working with young people who want creative, innovative, and engaging methods of teaching that can maximise students’ motivation and make learning more fun and meaningful. As a counselling psychologist and a counsellor educator who enjoys watching "The Sound of Music", a classic musical, I also enjoyed reading this evidence-based book, a rare gem in the midst of world crises. I support the book mission to get teachers and therapists started on a journey of creative and innovative teaching approaches through arts and music. I confidently recommend this book to Malaysian teachers and therapists because I know it will inspire them.

    Dr Rafidah Aga Mohd Jaladin, Author, Scientist-Practitioner, and Director of University of Malaya Family Research and Development Centre (UMFRDC). , Malaysia

    "The impact of the covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the lives of children and families globally. Much has been written about the disruption of education caused by this disease and there is now an increased awareness of the fragility of mental health that has resulted from social isolation and the stresses associated with the challenges of accessing academic and emotional support. Some professionals, including the editors of this book, have been advocating the need for a radical reappraisal of the ways in which emotional wellbeing is ensured in children.

    Music can play an important part in supporting children and families experiencing difficulties. The chapters of this text provide examples of innovation and reflection on the use of music as part of an integrated approach to addressing the challenges inherent in those social, emotional and mental health problems. Drawing upon expertise from four European countries the critical appraisal of these approaches will be greatly appreciated by educators, therapists and others working to support vulnerable children."

    Dr Richard Rose, Professor Emeritus of Inclusive Education, Faculty of Education , University of Northampton

    "This important book invites and guides the collaboration between classroom teachers, music teachers, and mental health professionals in the critical endeavor of supporting children's mental health needs in the classroom. It is child-centered and emphasizes the inter-relationship between mental health and school achievement. As a school-based mental health consultant, this research-based approach will inform and enrich my work with teachers and therapists."

    Alisa Crovetti, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist/Certificated School Psychologist, School Psychology Clinical Faculty, University of California, Berkeley, USA

    "The book opens to the reader the value of music / arts based therapeutic teaching practices in school context. I attach particular importance to the detailed descriptions and illustrations that make the authors' approach easy to understand and follow. The rationale behind suggested music /art activities is explained in the context of UNRC principles and evidence from music therapy, neuroscience, and educational research. Thus, the book can be used as a handbook for teachers, musicians, music therapists and other specialists with or without prior music makers’ experience. There is a challenge to the customary practice of teachers and therapists, which is softly grounded with the guidelines how to apply their professional knowledge and experience in collaboration to help students to achieve educational goals. The book contains a wealth of examples and international project experiences from the professionals involved in the project."

    Eha Rüütel, Ph.D., Professor of Creative Arts Therapies, psychotherapist and creative arts therapist. Tallinn University, Estonia

    "This timely and highly reflexive text offers news ways of teaching, seeing, and being in times that are and have been difficult for many. It’s novel approach to working art music as an art and therapy practice opens opportunities for important forms of expression and learning that are much needed today as we seek to produce alternative educations and futures"

    Distinguished Professor Heila Lotz-Sisitka, Environmental Learning Research Centre, Education Department, Rhodes University South Africa

    "This book comes at a critical time when, more than ever, teachers are called to support young people’s mental health. It introduces music / arts based therapeutic teaching practices; combining theory and evidence based research in an easily accessible way to support young people’s mental health. Fascinating insights from real examples of classroom practice invite the reader to understand how music therapy and the arts can inform and support our teaching and develop young people’s social and emotional access to learning. Relevant theory is weaved into evidence based research making this an ideal tool for trainee, new and more experienced teachers alike."

    Dr Verity Jones Lecturer in Music Education, Department of Education and Childhood, UWE Bristol

    "Including and empowering diverse young people in school systems has never been more important. This text illustrates how and explains why music can be used to create opportunities for flow, dialogue, attachment; opportunities that make a difference in young people’s lives. Grounded in thorough explanations of research process and collaboration between music therapists, teachers and teacher trainers, the result is highly informative, immediately applicable, and makes a contribution that school leaders can action with confidence."

    Dr Katrina Skewes McFerran Professor of Music Therapy, University of Melbourne, Australia

    "This important research offers creative approaches and exciting opportunities for music therapists and teachers to collaborate more extensively. The resulting vision of more integrated interprofessional practice will have lasting implications for therapeutic work with children and young people with social, emotional and mental health concerns in educational settings."

    Dr Philippa Derrington MSc Music Therapy Programme Leader, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, Scotland

    "It is a timely, informative and thought-provoking book and constitutes a very welcome addition to both the music therapy and education literature … As a music therapist and a teacher myself, I found this book extremely useful as it can be used both by music therapists to create new job opportunities in schools and by the teachers or school managers to ask for skill sharing projects in the classroom settings … It is also innovative as it relates to the clear gap in music therapy literature in terms of inter-professional work between teachers and music therapists in the classroom context. I hope that this book inspires other such projects in this field of work."

    Eleni Tsolka, Metropolitan College, Greece