Blog

TEAMWORK for children with additional needs

Some notes from Flavia Capoano, our psychologist and ABA therapist working with our children with additional needs.

Flavia is supporting children’s development in their homes and nurseries.

Teamwork is essential for us to help the families creating a great learning path for their children with special needs.

“I’ve just finished my morning session with one of the lovely child met thanks to Tiziana Pozzo. He used to have and, of course, he’s still having music therapy session with her in her place, Music Tree, and we are now incorporating these sessions with a behavioural therapy.

He has ASD and I am working with him in order to improve his language and his social skills at nursery. He is doing a great job and we are super happy about what he is learning and the way he is doing that!”

COUNTDOWN – 3!

Highbury Park Music will become… ?????

A couple of days ago I started sharing the history of Highbury Park Music, the music school in London that I co-founded with Samuel West Music. Soon it will change its name and identity.

Let’s carry on with the second chapter 🤣

So, here I am in London with this crazy guy called Sam.
May 2017.
He’s just incredible: charming, smart, fun… yes, it’s definitely love at first sight.
Soon we understand that we want to live together and share our common passion for music, people and education.

After few months he brings me to this amazing place in Highbury Barn, an incredibly beautiful Georgian townhouse at the end of a lovely street with shops and restaurants that reminds me a bit of Italy for its community life. I fall in love again.
The house is really old though (1829) and it needs to be refurbished but we can already see a music studio there, where I can teach and Sam can write music.

So we say yes! We go for it and we live in the house during the refurbishment process, with builders in and out of the house, no kitchen, no floor, no furniture, no bathrooms… Well, just the minimum to survive 🙈

But we feel we’re really lucky and enjoy this new adventure (not without fights, eh!).

After four months, many trips to Ikea and a really bad sprain in my ankle, I have my first piano class in the studio.
After a couple of weeks also the babies arrive for their classes and I have to understand how to create a safe room for them that would also allow Sam to have his recording studio … So I invest some money and I buy good mats to create protection for the children all around Sam’s desk and the rest of the space. That’s why there are always purple mats in my pictures!

January – July 2018, 7 months and 20 students are coming regularly to the sessions.
September 2018-July 2019 we are 60!

Do you think it’s been easy?
Oh no! I had a lot of worries, lots of doubts, a lot of work! Prepare the classes, answer the emails, work on the website, teach… Ahhhh if only I had a secretary at that point!

But here we are now, ready for the next step because the community around Highbury Park Music is growing! -3!

Tiziana

COUNTDOWN – 5!

🌟Highbury Park Music will become… ?????

When I arrived in London 4 years ago, I had to learn how to survive as a self-employed teacher in this huge city. Not an easy thing, trust me!

I had to discover how to find the schools to work with; how to move quickly between my classes; how to carry all my instruments with me whilst travelling on buses and metro… and OH! I had to learn English in the meantime!

I have to say that cold and rain were certainly the hardest parts of the job in the UK at that point!
Little by little I’ve learnt that umbrellas and coffee are the best friends of a London teacher 🤣🙈!

After two years of back and forth in the city, I was so tired that I decided to go back to Italy and give up with all my dreams in the UK.
I was spending most of my days alone – well, with the children or travelling to Italy to run my training courses – no friends to share any quality time with…
The only good thing at that point was the research Sounding Out with deaf students (my dream) so the decision was really hard to take….

Until one day, when I met Sam … well, tomorrow I will tell you a little bit more about the history of our music school Highbury Park Music why in 5 days it will officially change its identity! Stay tuned! 

Tiziana Pozzo, Co-founder of Highbury Park Music

Music and attention

Music develops our attention and concentration in many different ways.

Today I’d love to speak about the ability to pay attention to auditory stimuli that musicians’ brain develops and why this is so important.

Our daily life subjects our brains to a huge amount of sound stimuli simultaneously. Our brain performs very complex operations to discriminate the sounds it wants to pay attention to, using cognitive functions related to the temporal lobe and the frontal lobe.

The ability to discriminate sound stimuli allows us, for example, to be able to direct our attention towards the sound of our friend’s voice in a noisy room.

Musicians can discriminate between different auditory stimuli better than non-musicians.

The Kraus lab at Northwestern* performed an EEG study and found that musicians had better auditory attention scores than non-musician counterparts when listening to various sources of speech. The main difference was presented in the musicians’ prefrontal cortex. The latter is often associated with attention and control, as well as personality and values.

The most fascinating part of this study was that the magnitude of the effect correlated to how long the musicians had played music.

People with more years of musical training had a prefrontal cortex that “paid better attention” than people who had fewer years of musical training. It seemed that people who had spent more time training their brains via musical study had prefrontal cortexes that were better at locking their attention.

Playing music alters the prefrontal cortexes and therefore influences the capabilities to pay attention to other activities in life. Being able to attend to different auditory stimuli can be helpful for a multitude of people; students might better be able to focus in school, sports players might hear each other over the sounds of the stadium and ground crew at airports might hear orders more accurately over the sound of airplane engines.

So, it seems like the time to recognise the importance of music in our daily life has finally come.


*Strait DL, & Kraus N (2011). Can you hear me now? Musical training shapes functional brain networks for selective auditory attention and hearing speech in noise. Frontiers in psychology, 2 PMID: 21716636

Musicians’ understanding of non-verbal communication

“One of the most interesting characteristics of musicians is their need to precisely anticipate not only what is going to happen, but when.

As the reader anticipates the words whilst reading, so the musician anticipates another musician to play together.

Think for example of a string quartet. When the first violin “gives the signal” to begin, the delays of the rest of the group are all inferior to 10 milliseconds. Moreover, during the performance, their synchronisation improves.

This ability of anticipation and coordination is absolutely extraordinary, even more, if we consider that it’s not just about playing a note together, but also playing it appropriately, with the right expression which is also dependent on the changing context.”*

How does this happen?

Our auditory system is able to synchronise with the temporal structure of the music stimulus, due to its rhythm and regularity.

Not only this but also other areas of our brain synchronise with the music, especially our motor system.

A musician, to be able to play together, literally learn how to “read” other musicians during a performance, recognising their littlest movements, their way of breathing and feeling the sounds of music.

“It is important to remember that, despite the age, the practice of music seems to facilitate:

1. the creation of a coherent relationship between the external world and brain activity

2. the communication between the different brain regions.

The consequence of the first aspect is to allow a more precise interpretation of the outside world, in particular, the world of sound.

The consequence of the second aspect is more far-reaching, considering that cognition, in general, seems to depend on the good communication skills of different brain regions, like a good government requires parliamentarians to communicate well with each other.

Beyond our current knowledge, a corollary of these two aspects could be that the practice of music facilitates a common vision of the world around us, through a better synchronization of the brain activities of different individuals, and a better sharing of reality.”*

*D. Schön, “Il cervello musicale. Il mistero svelato di Orfeo”, Il Mulino 2018