Music School for Children with Special Needs
We support the Otakar Kraus Music School in providing music therapy for students with physical, learning, neurological or psychological difficulties.
“Music is a vital way of communication and feeling safe and calm, I think children with autism particularly seem to really gain from music.” – Parent of Otakar Kraus Music School Student
The Twickenham-based Otakar Kraus Music School has a 25-year history of providing cutting-edge music therapy to children with special educational needs.
But it is currently at its maximum capacity of 41 students, with the waiting list growing every day. The school is so popular that there is an urgent need for more teachers.
Some of the pupils have limited verbal communication. Many are isolated and have difficulty with social interaction, self-confidence and the ability to focus. They lack the opportunity for development and self-expression. For some this can lead to behavioural problems.
With funding from ArtSocial Foundation, the Music School was able to train and employ a new music therapist, allowing 10 new students to join and participate in their life-changing programmes.
The Otakar Kraus Music School has been developed from the principles of music therapy, pioneering the ‘Improvisation, Rhythm, Performance‘ (IRP) Technique that was designed specifically with physically and mentally-challenged children in mind.
“Classes at Music School give me confidence and it improved my voice. I learnt to speak more clearly.” – Student, Otakar Kraus Music School
Its aim is to give children and young people with special needs aged 5-25 the opportunity to learn to sing, play musical instruments and perform in public, and in some cases progress through music exams, bringing huge gains in confidence and personal growth.
“A lot of these children were excluded from activities in school, and nobody expected that their talent would become so beautiful.” – Margaret Lobo, founder and director of the Otakar Kraus Music School
Pupils attend weekly specialised classes during term-time led by a qualified therapist and receive focused attention that would be unavailable to them within mainstream music teaching. The method has proved highly impactful and has significantly improved the children’s ability to communicate and concentrate. By gaining confidence, they develop friendships and take part in community activities. This builds self-esteem, pride in their achievements, and emotional well-being.
“Music gets to my son’s heart, and therefore he lights up and his endorphins flow, helping him to be relaxed and calm. Nothing is expected of him here but he gets everything from it.” – Parent of Otakar Kraus Music School Student