Facing Challenges Through Music (two Saturdays)

  • Goldsmiths, University of London Lewisham Way London SE14 6NW United Kingdom

About the course


Goldsmiths College has a proud 25 year history of training musicians to work in Community and Participatory Music settings. Our alumni work across the country delivering and initiating music projects with every client group imaginable.

We are excited to announce the beginning of a new series of CPD events open and suited to music teachers, community musicians, music therapists and anyone wanting to use music with community groups and individuals.

On this course, the first in the new series, we will look at how music can be of benefit for communication, team working, physical and emotional therapy, cross-curricular learning as well as social and personal development and how through a variety of repertoire, facilitation techniques and leadership skills music can be an incredibly effective tool for impacting on these young peoples’ lives. This is a two-day course but each day can also be taken as a standalone course.

This course is taught by an active practitioner and consultant who works on a weekly basis in schools, special schools, pupil referral units, youth custody centres and across all the contexts that young people find themselves. It will be taught experientially through participation and discussion.

Who is the course for?

The course is aimed at music leaders already practising in this field, music service tutors and music teachers who wish to develop their practice as well as TAs, PRU staff, care staff who already have some interest in music and some level of formal or informal musical skills.

Course schedule and options

This course is in two parts and is taught over two Saturdays.

  • You can also take Part One or Part Two as standalone courses, depending on where your specific interests lie.

Part 1: 18 June

  • Part 1 focuses on working with so-called ‘hard to reach’ young people – those who may be struggling at school, facing or already excluded, at risk or already offending or not in education, training or employment. 

Part 2: 25 June

  • Part 2 focuses on working with young people with disabilities, learning difficulties, cognitive and sensory difficulties and mental health needs. The course will look at how to engage young people in creative music making, how to plan and deliver effective music sessions and how to evaluate the work in a meaningful way. It will be taught through a mixture of discussion and experiential musical learning to develop and improve the skills, understanding and repertoire that can really help to make a difference in young people’s lives through music.

Why take this course at Goldsmiths?

The STaCS department was for 25 years the home of the Cert. in Music Workshop Skills – a programme renowned worldwide for training practitioners in the field of community music. The department retains a commitment for working through music and the arts for the benefit of the most vulnerable and deprived sections of the community.

Music Workshop Skills courses at Goldsmiths are tied very closely to organisations in the field including Sound Connection, Rhythmix, Drake Music, Live Music Now and a variety of Music Hubs. The course will engage with the range of work delivered by these organisations.

Who teaches this course?

The course will be taught by Graham Dowdall – convenor of Music Workshop Skills modules at Goldsmiths. Graham is a very experienced and respected music leader, trainer and consultant working extensively with young people in challenging circumstances.

As well as a leading expert in the field Graham is also a successful performing and touring musician where he uses the same technology as in his participatory workshop practice. He recently produced research into ipad use in participatory music making for Sound Connections which is currently the seminal research in this area.

What will I study on this course?

This course that is taught through a mix of lectures, workshops and discussions.

As a participant on this course, you will have access to a range of appropriate musical instruments and resources including inclusive technology and ipads.

What will I learn?

On successful completion of this course, participants will: 

  • Have a greater understanding of the contexts of the lives of young people in challenging circumstances and how these may impact on them
  • Understand why and how music can be a valuable tool for working with these young people.
  • Have a range of tools and approaches to lead effective participatory music sessions.
  • Have developed their musical and leadership skills in appropriate ways to work in this area.
  • Learn how we can measure and evaluate the effectiveness of participatory music activities with these groups.


  • Two-day option: £150
  • Single-day option: £95 per day

How to apply

To apply for this course, please visit our EventBrite page.

  • The course runs on consecutive Saturdays (18 and 25 June 2016). Please select your preferred option on the Eventbrite page (either both days or the first or second Saturday)


Richard Hoggart Building, Goldsmiths, University of London, Lewisham Way, London SE14 6NW