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Released: Think2020 Paper – Disabled people in the music education workforce

22nd November 2017

Drake Music has today released a paper looking at the representation of disabled people in the music education workforce. The paper looks at findings from a small research project undertaken by Drake Music’s Think2020 team over summer 2017.

The research looked at statistical sources of data on the music education workforce and attempted to generate new information using data from music education hubs.

Key Findings:

  • Disabled people are under-represented in the music education workforce
  • There is little available data on the music education workforce
  • The landscape of the music ed sector is complex, which may make strategic, structural change difficult
  • There is a wide range of understanding of disability
  • Music Education Hubs are at different stages in their journey to making their music offer more inclusive

What the research shows is that the music education sector can, and does, employ disabled people, but also that there is significant room for growth. The head of a music service based in London commented: ‘Disabled people are certainly under represented in the music education sector and I would be interested to see the results of your survey.’

It is important to note that, despite the challenge of collecting data, many music hubs recognised the issue and were supportive of both the conversation and need for change. As one respondent said: ‘You are opening up a discussion we need to have.’

What next from here?

The Think2020 team will be advocating for change in the music education workforce over coming months and supporting this to happen with a series of events, discussions and resources.

Music Mark

The team are speaking at Music Mark 2017 Annual Conference, with John Kelly giving the keynote speech on Saturday, followed by a panel discussion with members of the Think2020 team, disabled music leaders and Music Hub lead Peter Bolton from Kent Music. This will provide opportunities to discuss these findings and the topic of inclusion in music education, both in the workforce and in practice.

For anyone not attending Music Mark, please join in the conversation on twitter using the hashtag #DMPanel.


Next will be a webinar, open to all working in music education, on 6th Dec 2017. Find out more.


Last, but not least, our Think2020 programme will culminate in We All Make Music – An inspiring, inclusive music ed conference festival!

Taking place on 9th March 2018. Put it in your diaries now, more info and early bird tickets coming soon.