ams online mental health blog

Music, Mental Health and Creating a Safe-Space with Online Learning

It might seem like a paradox. The use of an online space as an area of solace and recuperation for those with mental health issues, when so much of the online world and modern technology has been criticized for contributing to today’s mental health crisis. However the reality is that an alternative online education often strikes a perfect balance for those who wish to study at their own pace, in whatever location is best suited to them, on their own terms.

AMS Online provides a digital learning resource which has all the academic benefits of a conventional, physical University, but instead is delivered on a personal, one-to-one basis where students can learn in an untapped variety of locations. Being an Online Music University means that our students can study from whatever location best suits their needs or existing commitments, not having to travel at all for one-on-one tuition with industry professionals. For working musicians, who make up a large proportion of AMS students, the flexibility of online learning means that they can take their work with them on the road, on gigs and tours no matter where they are in the world (check out our recent student interviews on this). However, the comfort, flexibility and adaptable nature of online learning also has huge benefits for music students suffering with mental or physical health issues.

YouGov.co.uk has stated that “one in four students suffer from mental health problems” and while a mental health crisis in young people is evident, new flexible, low-pressure and versatile learning spaces can work to combat this. The Independent claims that University lifestyle itself can often induce anxiety in young people – “studying combined with life changes can lead students to feel overwhelmed and stressed – and many students report high levels of anxiety and distress.” In the modern world, flexible and mobile study might provide a healthy antidote. Or at least an attractive alternative.

The online learning community can provide a low-pressure, all welcoming, and inclusive environment for those who work best from home, in a space which is comfortable and suited to their needs.

Study from home can be comfortable and convenient, providing a digital safe space not just for mental health sufferers, but for anyone seeking an alternative to convention University lifestyle. For those who suffer from mental illness, such as anxiety or other – online learning can be a versatile way to learn within a familiar environment already adjusted to a student’s personal needs, one that also included direct and regular contact with course tutors via Skype tutorials or message communication.

“The one learning community can provide a low-pressure, all-welcoming, and inclusive environment for those who work best from home”

Music can often be an independent and cathartic process – traditional education methods or facilities simply do not suit everyone. AMS Online promotes the ability to learn on your own terms at your own pace, with reflective and personal tuition.

Although it is important for students with disabilities to be fully aware of both the benefits and considerations of online learning, before deciding if it is the best fit for them or not, it is arguable that in the modern world, where online facilities are becoming more and more popular anyway (stat and example), provision, one-on-one teaching and flexibility can be found more readily in online resources.

Online Education provides:

Convenience & Flexibility
So long as you have a laptop, you can study anywhere. An online degree means that you can study at your own pace, at whatever time of day suits you. Deadlines still need to be met, but unlike conventional study, you can dip in and out of lectures and readings, and take the work at your own pace. At AMS Online we exist to support those who already have a busy music work life, are touring, or simply need some extra time to create their best work possible (try our Part-Time study options).

Learn in a comfortable environment
For students with physical or mental disabilities, the option to study within a familiar or adaptable environment is often a huge plus.

One-on-one tuition
Expert tuition from working professionals and musicians is delivered through Skype and online, giving you person one-on-one tuition from the comfort or convenience of your desired location.  Our industry professionals work with us to deliver the most personal, specific feedback possible, and are always at hand to address or talk about your needs – musical or otherwise.

Break away from convention
Many universities have recently been criticized for not offering adequate mental health support to it’s students, University lifestyle itself often contributes to the problem, but there are also social pressures to remain in a physical university structure. The growing success and popularity of Online degrees suggests that there is another option. Learn and achieve on your terms, with the time and space to include degree level study in your life whilst not sacrificing a lifestyle that best works for you.

Disabledworld.com claims that “An online education might be preferable to an ‘in-person’ education for a student with disabilities for many reasons. One of the main reasons being that the school will be able to accommodate the student better. From a more suitable student/faculty ratio, so they can get more one-on-one help, to the fact that the student will have to do less traveling, there are a large number of factors that can make an online education a better choice for these students.”

The music industry needs to do its bit and adapt to mental and physical health needs of fans and artists. It’s #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek and we’re upping the ante on our social media to broaden the discussion around this. Recently Academy of Music and Sound (Edinburgh) Alumni and chart topper Lewis Capaldi announced that he was introducing support workers, gig buddies and an ‘escape room’ to his gigs. Plus AMS Online and our counter-part The Academy of Music and Sound have been posting a lot on gig accessibility, mental health within the music industry on our social media, so keep your eyes peeled, and keep the conversation going.

7/05/2019
Words: Izzy Trott

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