We are delighted to announce that Clare Salters is one of three new trustees to join the OHMI Board.
Clare is a former senior civil servant, who worked for many years on the Northern Ireland peace process. By her own admission, it means she can help OHMI on all the ‘nerdy’ governance stuff! She brings a long-standing commitment to improving inclusion in music-making as Chair of a children’s disability charity (Reach, where she created the Reach oRchestRa), teacher at a local music service (Wandsworth Music), trustee of another local music service (Hounslow Music Service) and as a trustee of another music and disability charity (the Music of Life Foundation).
Clare was first introduced to OHMI five years ago when she was looking for an adapted recorder for her friend’s daughter, Maria, who was born with an upper limb difference. (Maria has since moved on to play the clarinet, and joined Clare and fellow musician Rowan to perform as the world’s first trio of one-handed clarinet players at OHMI’s tenth anniversary event in 2021.) Since then, Clare has become a stalwart supporter of all things OHMI, and has been heavily involved in its endeavours to create a 3D printed clarinet.
Dr Stephen Hetherington, OHMI’s Chairman, comments,
“Clare has an innate understanding of our ethos that the art of making music is a fundamental human right. With her extensive background in charity governance and a track record of problem solving and finding ways through (not around) barriers, she will, undeniably, be a wonderful asset to our charity.”
“I see OHMI as the magic wand that transforms people’s lives. The team applies drive and enthusiasm in its approach to complex needs, and artfully brings together engineering, craftsmanship and music to solve problems.
“I’m convinced that, without the work of OHMI, people living with physical disabilities would be excluded from music making. If a child is excluded from full participation in a whole class music lesson, this risks them assuming that they can’t participate in music-making and in turn, feeling that they are somehow ‘less’ and they should lower their expectation of themselves. This diminished expectation risks colouring every aspect of their lives. As well as the impact on the individual, without OHMI the world risks missing out on talented people who, with an appropriate adaptation, can contribute musically at the highest levels. I’m looking forward to helping more musicians get the opportunity to shine.”
Articles on OHMI's two other new trustees will follow in due course.
We are delighted to announce that the Inclusive Access to Music-Making (IAMM) programme has been successful in its latest application for funding from Arts Council England.
IAMM aims to identify the needs of physically disabled pupils, and provide accessible musical instruments and enabling equipment to offer the same music-making experience as their peers, and teachers are able to use uniform pedagogical approaches across a whole class.
As well as allowing us to continue our vital work in this area, this significant investment will help fund the instruments of the future. A third of Arts Council England’s grant will be apportioned to our research into the design and production of a 3D printed clarinet. As well as making the manufacture of the adapted clarinet both scalable and financially accessible, we also expect our research to be applied to the adaptation of other musical instruments.
As the UK’s leading authority on adaptation of traditional instruments, OHMI is uniquely positioned to source and provide the instruments that suit the needs of participating disabled musicians. We’re able to better understand musicians needs because of the work of our project partner Creative United, and the intelligence they capture through their schools survey.
Our music hub partners play an equally vital role. Once the musicians have been matched with the adapted instruments they want to play, our music hub partners Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust (NMPAT), Nottingham Music Service, and for the first time, Services for Education in Birmingham, provide the trained music teachers who can help our young musicians embark on their musical journey.
Rachel Wolffsohn, Manager of the OHMI Trust, comments,
“Applying the principles of 3D printing to a complex instrument like the clarinet is not without its challenges. Working together with Creative United, Plexal, and a very talented band of volunteers including the gifted instrument maker Peter Worrell, we’re seeking to explore how the fabrication process can be improved and supply chain issues addressed. “Like many highly inventive projects, however, the barrier of funding the cost of development time and materials is a significant one. Until now, the project has relied on the energies of it team of volunteers. This injection of support means the project can truly accelerate under the direction of a dedicated Project Manager.”
It is expected that the research will have useful application for the adaptation of other instruments, bringing accessible music-making one step closer for musicians of all genres.”
You can learn more about the IAMM programme here.
The Inclusive Music Consortium has been recognised for its work in inclusive music-making by this year’s Music and Drama Education Awards. The announcement was made by Myleene Klass of headline sponsor Classic FM, at the recent Awards ceremony at the London Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square.
The consortium – which includes the six founder members of Creative United, Music for Youth, Open Up Music, Technology in Music Education (TiME) and Youth Music, and the OHMI Trust – won in the Music Teacher Magazine Editor’s Award category. Editor Harriet Clifford nominated the consortium as her choice after having been introduced to its work when she interviewed Creative United CEO Mary-Alice Stack. Of particular interest was its efforts to support the 31,459 children with a physical disability as their primary need who attend a mainstream school in England (2019 figure, according to Department for Education (DfE) statistics).
Joining forces has long been considered the best way to galvanise the individual efforts of each organisation – whether that be improving participation by under-represented groups including those with a disability, gathering musicians for large-scale performances, work in mainstream and special schools, or supporting the manufacture of adapted musical instruments and enabling equipment.
Rachel Wolffsohn, Manager of the OHMI Trust reflects on the work of the Inclusive Music Consortium,
“The consortium is a real testament to how the whole is greater than the sum of parts. As one example, Creative United were previously working on removing financial barriers to music learning and participation. At the same time, the OHMI Trust were working on removing participation barriers by commissioning the design and creation of adapted musical instruments and enabling equipment.
“Neither of these issues can be dealt with in isolation so coming together in this way – and with the other partners in the consortium – means we can better support at every step of a musician’s journey – from understanding their needs and the instrument they would like to play, to sourcing and financing the appropriate instrument and equipment, matching them with a teacher, and encouraging their participation in wider performances.”
Receiving such national acclaim presents an opportunity for the consortium to reach an even greater audience of musicians and practitioners who are seeking to make music-making truly inclusive for all.
Did you know that March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month? Its aim is to raise awareness for the 17 million across the world who are living with the condition. The awareness month is followed by World Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day which takes place on 6th October each year. In preparation for that event (for every musician knows their performance needs month of practice!), we’ve asked some of the OHMI music-makers who live with cerebral palsy to tell us about their experience of playing a musical instrument.
According to the charity Scope, CP is a condition that affects about 1 in every 400 children in the UK. It is usually caused by an injury to the brain before, during or after birth. It is a lifelong condition that affects muscle control and movement.
As an activity that requires strength, dexterity and coordination, the intricacies of music-making can be problematic for an individual living with cerebral palsy; at least to play to the standard they would like.
That is where the OHMI Trust comes in. The charity, now in its eleventh year, was set up to allow those with an upper limb impairment or weakness to play the instruments they want to play, when and where they want to play them. Through collaboration with some of the world’s most talented musical instrument makers, the charity now has a collection of some 300 instruments and pieces of enabling equipment, ranging from recorders and trumpets to keyboards and bagpipes!
As new instruments have been developed, OHMI has started working with appropriate organisations to teach and promote their use to anyone otherwise excluded by their disability. OHMI’s Music-Makers programme enables and supports one-to-one music lessons as well as participation in ensembles.
Our OHMI Music-Makers are learning on a variety of different instruments. They include one-handed recorders, where keys are interspersed between the tone holes of one hand to facilitate the notes of the other; trumpets and trombones supported on a floor stand; and electronic drum kits which allow the different elements to be repositioned to suit the player.
There is a reason why the Music-Makers teaching programme is so important for people living with CP and other life-long conditions, as OHMI’s General Manager Rachel Wolffsohn points out,
“For many people living with a disability, it’s often the case that they are represented by others in many aspects of their lives. Music-making is one area where it is not possible to advocate for another person; no-one else can play a musical instrument for you!
“It can be considered a human right of the individual to participate in music-making in the along with their peers. Every note, every sound, every effort, is the unique sound of the musician in question. That experience is incredibly empowering and really bolsters a sense of self and liberation, and opens up a whole new sensory world.”
Amongst OHMI’s Music-Makers are a number of gifted individuals from the CP community.
We asked them to tell us more about how playing a musical instrument has enriched their lives. Self-belief, determination and the opportunity to learn new things were common themes amongst the group.
Samiya, who has been playing the recorder for six years, tells us, “Playing the recorder helps with my confidence, so I believe I can do lots of other things.”
For Oliver and Amin, the best thing about playing the recorder is learning new pieces. ‘Sea-glass Serenade’ by Sarah Watts is a particular favourite for Oliver!
For Cian, who has been playing the trumpet for six years, his music-making helps him organise his thoughts. Knowing the difference an adapted instrument makes, we can only echo his wise words, ‘don’t let CP stop you achieving your best’.
You can see and hear some of our CP music community in action here:
The Inclusive Access to Music-Making (IAMM) programme has been led as a partnership between OHMI, Creative United, Nottingham Music Service, and Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust since 2019 and seeks to enable all children learning an instrument through Whole Class Instrumental Teaching to participate fully in the sessions, with the potential to continue their musical journey into elective sessions. This year we are excited to welcome Services for Education to join the partnership as we prepare for the 2022-23 academic year. As the partnership expands, we are now looking to expand the team!
The team of assessors will be responsible for assessing school pupils who have been flagged as possibly benefitting from adaptive equipment before beginning WCIT. These assessments will be video calls of around 15mins each, and involve guiding the pupil through various movements using common classroom equipment to simulate playing an instrument.
This is a paid opportunity which includes a commitment of 6 hours training in May 2022 plus c.20 hours work during the months of June and July 2022 when assessments are due to take place.
Applicants must be able to commit to both the training and assessment schedule to take part in this initiative.
To apply please email Programme Director, Rachel Griffiths - firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
Interviews with candidates will be scheduled to take place during the week commencing 11 April 2022.