The Watson Institute is celebrating Music in Our Schools Month! At Watson we provide students with special needs with a variety of opportunities to learn and work towards their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals. At Watson, we recognize that music education programs can play a powerful role in the lives of young people and can be a therapeutic way of learning and reinforcing skills for students with special needs.
Allison Martin, a board-certified Music Therapist at the Watson Institute’s Education Center Sewickley, wanted to showcase the hard work her students put in during music class and give their parents a chance to see their child’s talents in action. She thought a Talent Show would be the best way to achieve these objectives and would provide another opportunity for our students to work on their IEP goals.
Incorporating IEP Goal Work into Talent Show Performances
Since the beginning of the school year, Ms. Martin has been working with her students to select their act and help them prepare for the performance. Students at the Watson Institute Education Center Sewickley attend music class once a week and for each student, the activities in class are uniquely tailored to help them work on their IEP goals.
Each student was given the opportunity to independently select their act for the Talent Show, receiving assistance and direction from Ms. Martin to fine tune their ideas. Some students needed inspiration so Ms. Martin gave them options to choose from.
Every week in music class, the students who were selected to participate in the show rehearsed their act. They also had five dress rehearsals in front of a group of Watson staff and students so they could prepare to perform in front of a crowd. For many students at the Watson Institute, social interactions and developing social skills are critical components of their IEP goal work.
Student performers represented classrooms all over the school, showcasing the diverse population of students at the Watson Institute. Our performers ranged in age from 4 years old to 21 years old. Since this was the first Talent Show, Ms. Martin selected the group of students who would perform, aiming to keep the show running with 10 acts. You can check out some of the performances in the video below.
The Talent Show boasted singers, dancers, piano players, a bell choir, and a comedian! At the end of the show, there was a surprise closing from Maddy, a student at Watson. She shared heartfelt sentiments about how hard the performers worked to put on the show and moved the audience with her uplifting closing remarks, “don’t let your dreams down and don’t give up on your talents.”
Next month, students at the Watson Institute Friendship Academy will be performing in their school’s Talent Show. Check back here to read more about our students at Friendship Academy and how their Talent Show came together.
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