Students at LVS Oxford enjoyed a carnival atmosphere recently during a special samba drumming workshop delivered by Ola Samba. The session, designed to build confidence and aid communication and teamwork skills, left students excited and happy to have tried something new.
During the day students were able to play traditional, Brazilian-made samba drums and percussion instruments under the expert guidance of David Walter, founder of Ola Samba from Cheltenham. They also learned carnival songs, which they sang in Portuguese. For the finale, the whole school came together and performed in the hall. Several students felt confident enough to lead the rest of the group, drumming tunes that everyone else then performed in unison.
Music is a method that young people with autism often find it easier to relate to each other through, and helps them express themselves more openly. It is just one of the many different techniques LVS Oxford uses to help students develop social skills that will help them to live independently in the future.
Sixth former Caitlin said: “I felt great at the end of the session, really de-stressed and energised. It was fun to learn music from a different culture. When I was younger, noises like a hand dryer or hairdryer really bothered me so I was pleased I was able to cope in the hall even though the music was loud when we all played together at the end. I think it is very important to have some hobbies that are therapeutic and I’m now thinking I might take up drumming next!”
David Walter from Ola Samba was impressed by the LVS Oxford students’ passion. He said: “It was wonderful to see the students’ confidence grow as they warmed to the activities and developed their skills with the drums and other percussion instruments. These workshops aim to give students a taste of a different musical culture and a feel for the energy of events like the Rio Carnival. I introduced them to some singing in Portuguese and several students led drumming sessions in the afternoon. Both the leaders and the followers did fantastically. We ended the day with a very energetic finale and smiles all round.”
LVS Oxford Head of Centre Louisa Allison-Bergin added: “Creative workshops like this are a wonderful way to help our students to gain self-confidence and skills such as listening, concentration, leadership and teamwork. The drumming day was a fantastic start to a busy term with a range of activities planned for our students linked to World Book Day, British Science Week, Red Nose Day and World Autism Awareness Week.”
My vision is employability and independent living skills for students with learning difficulties.