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Disabled children learn on adapted musical instruments in S4E Music Service programme

Disabled children learn on adapted musical instruments in S4E Music Service programme

For the first time anywhere in the world, disabled children are being taught on a range of adapted musical instruments capable of leading to their full inclusion in musical life – whether at school, for fun, or as future professional musicians.

In a pilot teaching programme that started this week, the OHMI Trust and Birmingham Services for Education are using instruments developed through the OHMI Trust specifically adapted for disabled people. All traditional instruments need two hands and arms to play. Until now, that simple fact has excluded anyone with an upper limb deficiency, whether through a congenital disability, or a stroke, injury or perhaps even the onset of arthritis. This has prevented millions of disabled children participating in any normal music-making – in orchestras, rock groups, brass bands, jazz bands or any other musical ensembles.

The pilot programme also incorporates research, commissioned by OHMI from Birmingham City University, on special teaching methods and instrument design.

Ciaran O’Donnell (Head of S4E Music Service) said “Services for Education as a charity supports excellence in the teaching, learning and well-being of young people. Within the Music Service, we felt that we were leaving some children behind – those children disadvantaged by a physical (upper limb) disability. It has been a great privilege to work with OHMI to identify these children, train our music service staff and commission specially adapted instruments to break down this barrier for children in Birmingham. I see it as a crucial pilot towards a wholly inclusive offer for young people”.