Disabled musicians are to benefit from an exciting new generation of adapted instruments, developed with the support of OHMI’s biennial competition.
OHMI’s ambition is a simple one – to allow disabled child and adult musicians living with an upper arm impairment to play the instruments they want to play, when they want to play them. Now celebrating its tenth anniversary, OHMI has gained momentum in its work across teaching, R&D, and awareness raising, counting an impressive 300 instruments and pieces of enabling equipment in its Instrument Hire Scheme.
The competition forms an important part of our work in bringing to life, new instruments and enabling equipment. The 2021 winners were announced at our tenth anniversary event, held at Aston University and live-streamed to a global audience (available to watch here). The winners were announced by Melissa Johns, actor and disability advocate, who has appeared in Coronation Street, acclaimed BBC drama Life, and, most recently, Celebrity Masterchef.
Melissa explains why she felt compelled to support OHMI’s work,
“I’ve never considered being born without a right forearm as a disadvantage. And yet those of us who live with a disability often face the limitations that society creates, simply because we are too often ignored.
“Improving access to the arts is one example. Progress has been made in making it easier for disabled people to experience the arts as spectators. Sadly, active participation can be frustratingly out of reach – simply because there is a lack of awareness of need, and instruments remain expensive to adapt.
“Helping to develop instruments that truly meet the needs of disabled musicians, is a service that is desperately needed, and OHMI fits the bill most admirably.”
The competition attracted submissions from as far afield as the US and Asia, as well as the UK and mainland Europe.
Winners are as follows:
You can read more about the competition here. The next competition will open to entries in 2023
The OHMI Trust is delighted to announce that its 2021 Competition Awards and Tenth Anniversary Celebrations will take place on Saturday, 25th September.
The event is expected to attract musicians and representatives from musical organisations from around the world, who share a passion for enabling people living with disability to access and play the instruments they love.
The event will be live-streamed from 6pm BST and includes the following:
We’re happy to announce that British actor and disability advocate, Melissa Johns, will be hosting the event. Best known for her roles in Coronation Street, absorbing BBC drama Life, and, most recently, Celebrity Masterchef, Melissa will be presenting live from our Birmingham venue.
The live broadcast will allow us to share the celebrations with a global audience, reflecting the truly international nature of the competition entries over the years.
You can register for the event here: https://bit.ly/3ANUZ3A.
We’ve been digesting the contents of the Government’s National Disability Strategy, published July 2021. We’ve been left underwhelmed. Whilst the Government outlines its commitment to widening participation in arts, culture and sport, emphasis has been placed first and foremost on access into buildings and events – namely through the introduction of an access pass.
Sadly, the Strategy concentrates once again on disabled people acting as spectators to, not participants in, the arts. The contrast to the Government’s approach to sport could not be starker. Here, there’s a recognition that practical steps need to be taken to fully involve disabled people in physical activity.
At OHMI, we understand the powerfully restorative impact that music has for us all, disability or otherwise. How it improves mental wellbeing and physical coordination. How it builds creative energy and connects musicians in the most meaningful of ways.
Rest assured, we’ll continue to bang the drum to make sure that, when policy translates into practice, music making for adults and children living with disability is not overlooked!
The Strategy can be accessed here:
Do you think the Strategy goes far enough?
Drop us a line to let us know your thoughts.
To find out the latest development in the development of a 3D printed clarinet please click the link below. To date all of this work has been done by volunteers and good will but we need to find some funds to pay for materials and printing costs of prototypes. If this is something that you are able to help with we would be very grateful! There is a fundraising page set up specifically for this at www.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/OHMIprint3D
Dr Stephen Hetherington, OHMI’s Chairman, comments,
“Andrew has been an avid champion of OHMI for some years, expertly supervising PhD students each summer during their placement projects with OHMI. The first was our 2017 OHMI Competition winner, Duncan Menzies, who created the P-bROCK Digital Bagpipe Chanter, which later featured on BBC Breakfast News. Andrew’s skill in adapted instrument research and production, has, more recently, led to him joining the judging panel for OHMI’s biennial competition. The natural next step was clearly as Trustee, and I’m delighted that he has accepted the invitation.”
“I am very much looking forward to the value I can bring in building greater partnerships between the academic and music communities; making sure that adapted instrument design is based firmly on musicians’ needs, rather than on our assumptions about what’s needed. Our ultimate aim, of course, is to get those instruments into the hands of the musicians that need them, as quickly as possible.”