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Self-directed Study Sheet 9

Context: ‘A’ has severe learning difficulties and has no expressive language. She is in a session with her music therapist.

  1. Observation: Think about what you see and hear in the video.
  2. Interpretation: What can you reasonably infer about the person's musical engagement?
  3. Assessment: Suggest a Sounds of Intent Level and Domain.

The music therapist plays an A above middle C on the piano, and ‘A’ approximates to it vocally, with a sustained vocalisation that starts above the note, drops down to it and then descends further. The music therapist contextualises the pitch harmonically with an F major chord on the piano, and she joins in the vocalising with short, imitative improvised melodic phrases. ‘A’s second vocal contribution starts on the target pitch (A above middle C) before moving down, after which ‘A’ smiles and makes eye contact. This suggests that ‘A’ is developing the ability to match pitches vocally. Evidence of her intentionality is shown in her smiling and eye contact when she produces the ‘correct’ pitch straight away on her second attempt. This musical engagement is at Level 3, Interactive (I.3): ‘copies other’s sounds and/or is aware of own sounds being copied’.