It has been another busy year for OHMI and its work in enabling those with physical impairments to participate fully in music-making.
Our 2023 highlights, listed chronologically, are as follows:
January: Awareness day at Lancashire Music Service
A significant part of OHMI’s role is awareness raising. We kicked off the year by running an awareness day for the team at Lancashire Music Service, supporting them in learning about the latest musical solutions for children living with an upper limb weakness, impairment or absence.
February: OHMI shares its work with woodwind students at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
OHMI helped to raise the profile of one-handed woodwind instruments by presenting them at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.
In Tower Hamlets, the OHMI team ran another successful OHMI Music-Makers Try It Day which offered disabled children the opportunity to try out one-handed instruments.
March: One-handed recorder at the Royal Albert Hall
A student learning the one-handed recorder performed as part of an ensemble at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
A much smaller (but equally as important!) gathering was the OHMI Music-Makers Hereford Ensemble Day, which brought together many students and teachers to experience different styles of musical performance from large and small groupings and exploring improvisation techniques.
April: Launch of OHMI’s training course
OHMI’s new training course at Birmingham City University offered an introduction to music-making for physically disabled children. It included demonstrations of the instruments and enabling equipment available to enable children with disabilities to participate fully in musical life alongside their peers.
The course ran for a second time in December 2023.
May: Session for primary school teachers at Leicestershire Music Service
A session for primary school teachers at Leicestershire Music Service demonstrated what can be made possible for children in their music lessons and extra-curricular activities.
June: One-handed recorder put through its paces
The 3D-printed one-handed recorders were put to the test when Sarah Jeffery, one of the world’s foremost promoters of the instrument, accepted our invitation to play the instrument.
Sarah is an advocate for sharing her passion and expertise for the instrument, and posts weekly instructional tutorials on her YouTube channel, Team Recorder, which is followed by an audience of some 190,000 subscribers.
Watch Sarah’s demonstration of the one-handed recorder.
July: OHMI Music-Makers Whole Class assessments
This is our busiest season to be analysing the needs of children in our partner organisations and identifying the best solutions to allow them to participate fully in music lessons from day 1 in the new academic year. We meet the children individually (alongside a member of school staff) in a video call, use some fun bits of classroom kit to understand their fine and gross motor skills, their ability to weight bear and their embouchure (if playing a wind/brass instrument). We can then ensure that the right equipment is provided in sufficient time for their teacher to understand it before the first lesson. It is a quick process that the children usually enjoy and the video process allows it to be more environmentally friendly than driving around to over 400 schools too!
August: Royal Birmingham Conservatoire success
Two OHMI students, Rowan and Antony took part in the National Orchestras for All programme, held at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Young people came together from across the UK for a residential course and much fun was had alongside the fantastic music-making.
September: Role of Chair transfers from Stephen Hetherington to Clare Salters
Stephen Hetherington stepped aside from the role as OHMI whilst remaining active and fully supportive of the Trust’s work as “Founder and Chairman Emeritus”.
Clare Salters replaced Stephen as Chair. Clare’s impact has been made through her significant experience of charity governance and by lending her voice to spreading the word about OHMI through our vast connections across the education and charity sectors.
Surrey Arts Teacher conference
OHMI trustee Emma Brown was invited to be the Keynote speaker on inclusion at the start of Surrey Arts start-of-year training week programme.
Emma worked through some scenarios of examples that teachers may come across when teaching disabled students and discussed approaches to full inclusion that might be taken. Teachers were given an opportunity to ask questions about her experiences as a double below-knee amputee and some shared their stories of how they and family members have experienced and/or overcome exclusion.
Appointment of new OHMI Music-Makers Manager
OHMI announced the appointment of its new Music-Makers Manager, Faye Oakland. The appointment signals a new stage in OHMI’s relationship with music services across the country, enabling it to work with many more to bring adapted musical instruments and enabling equipment to more disabled children.
Learn more about Faye’s role.
October: OHMI gets the key for its first offices and instrument demonstration space
OHMI now has its very own space for people to visit and test musical instruments or supportive apparatus for themselves. Interested parties are invited to contact OHMI to make an appointment.
We were pleased to reach the furthest corner of south east England through the Kent Music Conference, exhibiting our work to a broad audience at the Kent Showground.
December: AHRC project
Together with our research project partners Birmingham City University and Imperial College London, we kicked off a new AHRC networking project at an event on 7th November in the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.
The meeting was the first of four designed to bring together stakeholders to encourage discussion and debate regarding music and disability. It was attended by a range of stakeholders from the UK as well as the Netherlands and Germany, including music hubs, various universities, The UK Association for Music Education - Music Mark and a number of disabled musicians.
To one and all, the team at OHMI send their best wishes for a happy and healthy 2024.