Taking a chilled approach and using material with a slower tempo and simple structure leaves room for the focus to be on the co-creation and finding ways for people to join in with the session. Often music sessions are quite lively which is fun and beneficial to clients because of the movement and high energy it promotes. The focus is more on the whole group acting together without observing the nuances of each individual. The chilled approach offers something additional and different that you can offer clients on different days or at the end of an activity.
Beneficial for different client groups
There is often high energy and enthusiasm aplenty when working with a group of individuals with a learning disability. Taking a chilled approach finds a way to bring the collective energy to a level where the session is flowing and everyone feels that they have achieved something meaningful together. When working with people living with dementia the focus is more on ensuring that no individual becomes overstimulated or overwhelmed because the session is too busy or complicated. It is also important to think of ways to make the session interesting for people so that they don’t disengage and miss out on the chance to have a meaningful and stimulating experience. Taking a chilled approach also works for children, to help them create something together in a relaxed environment away from the hectic world that often surrounds them.
Taking a chilled approach opens up more possibilities for people to join in and therefore makes your activity more inclusive. Part of this approach is becoming tuned in to more subtle ways of joining in with sessions. There are so many subtle ways for people to join in and contribute to a creative session. People can dance by moving their eyes and eyebrows, making quiet vocalisations or wiggling their fingers. Taking the focus off busy, loud engagement opens up space for the quiet voice and small gesture. Everyone has something to bring to a session. This is what makes it such a rich co-creative environment in which everyone’s strengths and abilities contribute to the many layers of engagement.
Supports working together
Taking things more slowly and quietly gives you space to observe and encourage every individuals contribution to the session. It also helps people to interact with each other in the moment. People are often surprised and enthused by what they have achieved in a session and this can be because what one person did inspired another to do something they wouldn’t normally have done. This is a real, positive social experience.
We’ve had enthusiastic feedback from people who had taken part in our creative sessions talking about the great sense of achievement they felt. By creating a space where everyone is heard and feels comfortable to try out and discover new things about themselves and each other, you are creating a kind of magical joint experience and shared sense of achievement.
Creates another space
Having a chilled creative group session allows space and time out from daily routines and worries. There is more time to use your imagination when interacting at a slower pace. So, you can enhance the experience by coming up with a theme or story together, thus creating more involvement and integrating it into the activity you are doing. Imagine being able to just immerse yourself into making a creative experience together and emerging from the session feeling you have just been to another magical space!
Some individuals don’t want to join in with a music session because there are too many people or it’s too loud and energetic. Offering another calmer way of interacting in a musical activity gives more choice and texture to activities that are available for individuals. Having choice is very empowering so why not add a chilled session to your activity menu. You may be surprised at the regular healthy attendance that you build up.
This chilled approach is not for everyone. Some people may find the pace too slow. However in our experience the majority of people, with a wide range of abilities, have enjoyed the whole session and very few have walked out for good. Also, remember this is an additional option of activity not an alternative. Give it a try and let us know how you all get on. Happy Chilled Jamming!