Alla Dudina English
The 'Soft Mozart' in classroom with special needs children.
(The report from Materials about 'SOFT WAY TO MOZART' system from the XIII International Academic/Practical Scientific Conference
'Modern Music Education 2014. St Petersburg, Russia. Herzen University and St. Petersburg Tchaikovsky Conservatory)
The statistics are such that the number of children with disabilities is steadily growing. Sometimes, additional problems are added to the existing one and that aggravates the overall condition of the child. Such children are not mentally and physically similar to others. Most of them have speech disorders and weak motor skills.
I am a teacher with 40 years of experience. Over the past 20 years I have been working on correcting existing physical challenges by means of music. Everyone knows the words of the famous teacher V. Sukhomlinsky, who wrote: "The mind of the child is at the tips of his fingers." And it's not just beautiful words. Speech therapists and psychologists are not getting tired of repeating about how important it is to develop fine motor skills - primarily for the development of speech, coordination of movements. Skillful fingers are the guarantee of a full intellectual development (attention, thinking, imagination, visual and motor memory). It is proved that there is a definite connection between the speech function and the general human motor system. Such a close relationship is present between the hand and the speech centers of the brain. Therefore, playing the piano is very important for the development and correction of "special" children.
A year ago I heard about the interactive computer program "Soft Mozart" created by the teacher and a musicologist Hellene Hiner. I realized that this is something that we were so lacking for the children with whom I was working! One academic year has passed and now you can tell about the results of work with "special" children, disabled children under the SOFT MOZART program. The results have surpassed all my expectations! Running forward, I will say, quoting the words of the mother of one child, who is learning using the program: "He really had brains that worked better"!
The center where I work is correctional. Children attending classes have different medical diagnoses and, in connection with this, different forms and degrees of manifestation of diseases. They have problems with communicative function of speech; lack of auditory attention, sometimes they have no speech, absent or weak general and fine motor skills, their coordination of movements is disrupted. Therefore, it is necessary to hold classes with such children individually. Basically, this is one less than two lessons per week. The age of children from 2 to 14 years old (I didn't work with anybody older).
Irochka S., 10 years old. Post traumatic car accident. The grandmother began to bring this girl to class when she was 5 years old. Her life was divided into two parts "before" and "after" the ill-fated car accident. Without the help of adults, Irochka did not move, she did not have speech activity, no coordination of hands; The fingers of her right hand were clenched into a fist.
During the year of lessons on the program SOFT MOZART Irochka had positive results. We started the lesson with a warm-up of the fingers. Playing Hanon, her every finger is forced to "work". The program contains a large number of pieces of music, so there is an excellent opportunity to select for each child, depending on his/her capabilities in conjunction with any task at hand and necessary of any project. As a result, the fingers become mobil, stretchy, hand coordination is improved. Recently we started learning the pieces with both hands. A year ago we could only dream about it!
George, 10 years old, Down syndrome. Weak motor skills, speech problems, unstable visual attention. Of course, I have to select a 'key' to George every time to ignite his learning engine! But over the past year the child has learned a lot. He recently started playing Hanon with both hands, which speaks of the interaction of the hands. He independently performs the piano pieces at levels 5-6. George loves animals, therefore as encouragement, he plays Soft Mozart modules where, as a result of a correctly executed task, pictures are added, as he calls them with "wild animals". Recently he began to listen to classical music, which he earlier categorically refused.
Danila, 12 years old. Autism. He was taking lessons from 5. Virtually no speech! I didn't observe such progress after one year working with Soft Mozart program . The child developed a good steady visual attention span.
The channel "I see" a note on the screen, I "find" it on the keyboard - appears to work! Convenient software helps not only to read music, but also to monitor mistakes. During the performance the child sees his mistakes on the screen and corrects them himself. A unique animated tip is understandable to all children and they quickly learn. Danila, who until recently could not perform even the most simple arbitrary actions - independently corrects mistakes. I believe that for a child with autism, this is a significant achievement!
I want to tell you about another child. Artem, 9 years old, with a lot of diagnoses. After suffering meningitis, he suffered a general muscle weakness. At the age of 9 couldn't hold his head, had complete absence of speech, but his intellect is intact. With Artyom we worked for a long time and I, of course, was always looking for something, but not a single method was fit in this case. There was no question of any piano playing. Hands completely disobeyed and did not want to rise, and weak fingers generally refused to stick to the keyboard. With my help we raised Artyom's hand, but when pressing a finger, the key simply silently fell through. I, frankly, was simply in despair. And, I confess, the first person I thought about when I saw the Soft Mozart program on the Internet was Artem. That's who this program would suit! You will not believe, but miracles happen in our lives. This child constantly adapts his fingers to extract sound. I put up a video with the first lessons of this child. A year later, he can play several notes, independently pressing the keys. We use the program as a simulator for the development of motor skills. Artem always surprise and make us happy with his mother. He likes very much when he is praised, likes to receive gifts. This is his little life joy and I want him to have more of such joy in his life. I constantly encourage him for any success.
Some children "hang" on spiders. And then they do everything to make these spiders appear. We open a school for spiders. We play staccato separately with each finger - we teach spiders to jump. Consecutive game with all your fingers - spiders are running around. If the fingers are weak - put your fingers and teach the spiders to stand on their paws!
I can give you a lot of examples on working with disabled children with the Soft Mozart software! And almost all have positive dynamics. Everyone, regardless of the state of his psyche, intellect, physical abilities, has a powerful incentive to practice - this is FUN. The program Soft Mozart has shown its effectiveness in teaching children with various disabilities and disabled children!
I, as a practical teacher, can safely say that the innovative program Soft Mozart is a great discovery of the 21st century!