Data_Sheet_1_The Social Impact of Musical Engagement for Young Adults With Learning Difficulties: A Qualitative Study.DOCX (15.48 kB)
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Data_Sheet_1_The Social Impact of Musical Engagement for Young Adults With Learning Difficulties: A Qualitative Study.DOCX

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posted on 28.06.2019, 09:57 by Graeme B. Wilson, Raymond A. R. MacDonald

There is evidence that music interventions can offer opportunities for creative, psychological, and social developments for individuals with mild to profound learning disabilities, addressing the disadvantages they face in respect of social outcomes. This paper reports on a qualitative study investigating a community music intervention for such a population. Thirty-seven adult service users (12 female, 25 male) took part in weekly music workshops for 10 weeks. Their learning difficulties ranged from mild to profound, and their levels of independence ranged from requiring constant one-to-one care to living alone in sheltered accommodation. Interviews were conducted at multiple time points with music and resource center staff as well as participants and members of their families and other center users; researchers also observed all workshops, taking field notes. Thematic analysis of the data informed understanding of the disadvantages facing participants, their experience of the workshop program and its immediate and wider social outcomes, as well as suggesting key mechanisms for effects. Disadvantages and barriers facing participants included: limited access to enjoying or learning music; boredom, isolation, and limited networks; lack of experience of new social contexts; and an associated lack of confidence, low mood or self-esteem. Participants were found to enjoy and sustain engagement with a program of dedicated group music workshops delivered by staff trained in an empathic and inclusive approach. Impacts included an ongoing enthusiasm to engage in music; wider recognition of musicality; increased self-confidence; being happier, more relaxed, and/or enthusiastic after the workshops; better ability to interact with unfamiliar situations and people; and participation in social activities for an unprecedented length of time. Key factors in achieving those impacts are that participants: had fun and interacted socially; felt secure, welcomed, and involved at all times; exercised choice; worked with others in nonverbal tasks; and encountered challenge while engaging and progressing at their own rate.

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