Musica Case Studies

Three sample case studies from our clients:

CASE STUDY 1 – Parkside PRU – Pupil 1

Diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Acute Anxiety

Severely affected by changes in routine and significant attachment issues
Had intensive support from Amanda Firmin (County Inclusive Resource)
Input from CAMHS on a regular basis. Dr Paul Wendon Blixrud, Clinical Psychologist

Pupil 1 had a very gradual integration into Parkside with support from Amanda Firmin from CIR. As part of his package he was offered the opportunity to join guitar music sessions. For several weeks he refused to engage in these insisting that his own private tutor would suffice. He was also very reluctant to engage with Parkside staff in general and it took some time for him to access lessons with other pupils. Eventually pupil 1 was encouraged to join in Guitar lessons and he progressed to such an extent that he was able to complete the Rock School Course.

In the first term of Pupil 1 starting Parkside he would sit very quietly at break/lunchtimes (often with support staff). But a turning point came for him when he became part of the guitar group. He gradually made friends and would sit in the meeting room at social times. The support he had at social times was relaxed at this time. Over the course of the year he built up enough confidence to play his guitar in front of peers in social times and it was clear that the confidence this had given him had allowed him to form new friendships. He was able to join in with other peers and have something to contribute in social situations (discussions around music/performance/commenting on other pupils playing as a starting point)

He became accepted in a social group and this had a positive effect on all areas of his school life.  Performances were always an issue for this pupil during the first year and he would often not attend when it came to crucial rehearsals/performance days. It was only in the last year and his post 16 year that this pupil began to feel confident enough to perform.

Since then he has gone on to form a band and perform to members of the public and subsequently have a full and varied social life, access further education and be part of society. Something his family weren’t sure he would achieve. He now has the resilience to cope with his anxieties and is more able to manage change.

Key to his success was the continual, reassuring yet challenging work he undertook in his music sessions in a safe reassuring environment where he was able to express himself without fear of failure.

S Swann, Deputy Head, Parkside PRU.


CASE STUDY 2 – PARKSIDE PRU – Pupil 2

Referred to Parkside in 2008.
Diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder
ADHD with anger outbursts, OCD
Anxiety around attending school lead to school refusal (referred to Parkside PRU)
Input from CAMHS Dr Silva/Dr Garfield – Pupil 2 attended from year 9.

When CB first started at Parkside he was very lively. He found it very difficult to focus and engage in activities. At times he would be followed around the building as he wouldn’t remain still. He was very talkative, inappropriately so. He didn’t have any friends and struggled to interact within his peer group.
We offered CB the opportunity to take guitar lessons in our ‘Jigsaw’ sessions at Parkside and the effects were staggering. He enjoyed the sessions and appeared happier. He succeeded in these sessions and over time we encouraged Callum to play his guitar when he needed time out from lessons or as a way of occupying his time at break and lunch times. It was clear that he found this calming and therapeutic as well as satisfying. He formed friendships and his confidence increased. Staff reported that he was more productive and motivated in lessons and was keen to work hard at school so that he could move onto college. CB would often play his guitar at lunchtimes for other pupils to listen to and would help support fellow peers in learning the instrument. He took part in many prestigious performances with Parkside (Snape Maltings Celebration of schools music) and since then he has gone on to form a band and perform to members of the public and subsequently have a full and varied social life, access further education and be part of society. Something his family weren’t sure he would achieve. He now has the resilience to cope with his anxieties and anger .

Key to his success was the continual, reassuring yet challenging work he undertook in his music sessions in a safe reassuring environment where he was able to express himself without fear of failure.

S Swann Deputy Head, Parkside PRU, Ipswich.


CASE STUDY 3 – Stowmarket ASD Saturday Club

“Musica came into our club to carry out a workshop. Tim and George liaised with me many times before the day; this made me feel very comfortable and confident. We worked together to arrange the correct session that the children at the club will be able to carry out, enjoy and learn from.

Stowmarket ASD Saturday club is a club for children with a diagnosis for Autistic Spectrum Disorder this is a lifelong Developmental disability. This affects their social interactions, social communication and imagination. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. This means that most children with ASD have trouble communicating with others, they are very honest and literal. Making friends can be very difficult. Some of the children at the club also have ADHD, OCD, Dyspraxia and other learning difficulties alongside ASD which makes it even more difficult for them.

We provide the club so the children are able to come along and have fun, help them make friends and allow the parents / carers to have a break, When we arranged to have Musica come into the club my initial through was how fun it would be, some of children at the club really enjoyed playing instruments.

The workshop was even better than I thought it would be. Tim and George completely understood what the children needed and were able to bond with the children very quickly gaining there trust. Not only was the workshop fun but the children were able to develop new life skills and achieve small goals.

Tim and George helped the children to write the lyrics to their song that later they would record and preform. This was the part of the workshop I thought the children may struggle with as working in a group can be difficult and having to wait their turn and not being able to do things their own way, But this was an amazing development to watch. I saw a group of children brainstorm and link ideas together, the children would choose and change their song also listening to Tim and Georges suggestions. Together they were able to write their song and come up with a name for the band “Pizza Party.” Carrying this small part of the workshop out helped to boost the children’s self-esteem, building up their confidence even more.

Tim and George then helped all of the children to play there instruments creating a beat and a rhythm and then introducing the lyrics. By this part of the workshop I through some of the children may have been distracted away but Tim and George were able to keep them interested and helped them follow it through right to the end. This is an achievement in its self.

Throughout the workshop children became annoyed with each other but Tim and George were able to suggest things to do to help this stop bothering them. I watched children that would normally kick off and become very angry calm down very quickly and distract themselves away from the problem.

Performing the song ‘Bears in the Deep.’ to their parents / Carers was amazing they were able to see firsthand how effective the workshop had been. The children not only performed their song once but 3 times. I could see the parent’s faces and this will be a memory I have forever. They were so proud and surprised at what their children had achieved, this was all thanks to Musica.

To top of the workshop the children each got a t-shirt and a copy of their recorded track, this made the experience feel real like they really were a rock band and meant that the memory could go on. Each time they listen to their song they can remember what they achieved.

I am so thankful to Musica, this was an amazing achievement and has helped the children at the club become stronger, helped them to build friendships, help the children to learn that they sometimes have to work with people they don’t get on with and to stick at something as they can create a master piece. The workshop helped them all in so many different ways. We ‘will defiantly be asking Musica to come back in the future.”

Leah Bowers