Here are some things to keep track of if you want really successful listening work with children with complex needs.

The listening environment

Any sound that you are listening to is best placed into silence so that the work is focused. The acoustic of the room you are working in will have a strong effect. Boomy sounding rooms can also mean that music can often be quite unpleasant to listen to. The kind of interference you get from external noise or distorted sounds can make it impossible to assess a child’s responses to music.

The quality of your sound source

If you are using recorded music, or playing amplified instruments, use the best speakers you can get hold of – it makes a huge difference.

The consistency of the music

The importance of music that does not change too much cannot be overstated. Even if there is no visible response to the music, just let it roll without too much prompting. Stillness is often a lovely feeling.

Accept all sorts of responses

In common with most work with children with complex needs, a “negative” response is not necessarily a bad response. Music can be a very comfortable place to express anger and all sorts of difficult emotions. A lack of focus on one day may not imply a lack of focus the next day.