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by Toni Bunnell PhD

A Practical Guide to Developing Music Sessions with People with Learning Disabilities Review

In this guide Toni Bunnell sets out in clear chapters a guide for starting and running music sessions with people with learning difficulties. The chapters on setting up a group and tailoring sessions provide a good starting point for people inexperienced in running groups for people with learning difficulties  and would also provide a useful working base for leaders who want to expand their work with people with learning difficulties to include  music.

Bunnell is herself very experienced in both observing and running  music sessions. This is reflected in the practical ideas section which provides useful activities which both the new and experienced leader may find relevant and inspiring.  Her ideas about managing challenging behaviour are useful as this is often viewed as an area which can be daunting. Repeatedly the author suggests that individuals who are either not professional music therapists or accomplished musicians can be successful in running music groups and I feel this guide forms a sound basis to anyone inspired in providing musical activities in this area. There are few books on this subject and those that are around are often rather dated and tend to treat the clients as children.

VERDICT: Readable, up to date and useful guide which can easily be skipped through for relevant sections.

Sarah Bennett-Day      Sounding Board Journal (Music Work with People), Spring 2000

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