Connecting SEN and mainstream learners

Gobsmacked is a wordless choral project which aims to integrate students and pupils from SEN and mainstream education to work together with music professionals, school staff, and the members of the local community.

The project aims:

  • To introduce all students to extended voice techniques as a way developing notions of 'singing'
  • To increase listening and concentration skills of all students by including the immediate environment and group improvisation as features of the work
  • To challenge commonly held mindsets about ‘voice’ and ‘singing’ and allow unheard voices to be seen and heard.
  • To promote contact and understanding between SEN and mainstream
  • To affirm SEN students' sense of self by using their vocalisations as an integral part of a vocal piece

The project was initially launched in 2009-10 through a programme of workshops and performances featuring singers from Beaumont College, Skerton Primary School, Moorside Primary School, Sir Tom Finney Community High School and Dot Crochet and the Raging Harmonies, an adult community choir. The work was led by Steve Lewis and Beth Allen, both of whom have extensive experience of working in various special needs settings.

The video clip below shows the performers in action.

What's more?

Gobsmacked is an ongoing project and new participants are always welcome. If you'd like to find our more about how we can work with you, your learners or your institution to extend new voices and inspire more people, please get in touch at