Accessible Instruments Challenge

  • Sophie Ogunyemi
  • Mary-Alice Stack

Music is a universal language – or at least it should be. But what if having a physical disability makes it difficult – or impossible – for someone to learn and play a musical instrument? In 2018 we launched the beginnings of what has become known as the IAMM (Inclusive Access to Music Making) initiative, which sees Creative United and Take it away work closely with partners from across the music, tech and music education sector to raise the profile of music making by disabled children and adults, increasing awareness of the opportunities and sources of support available to enable more people to access music. This has resulted in the formation and work of the Take it away Consortium, the Nottingham Music Hub Pilot Programme, and most recently the brand new Guide to Buying Adaptive Musical Instruments. The research and projects undertaken have clearly shown us that, although there are lots of adapted instruments out there, many are prototypes or bespoke. For example, the one-handed clarinet provided to Nottingham pupil Redeem is one of only two in the world and takes many months to create. What happens when five one-handed clarinets are needed for other children to start learning with their peers at the same time? With examples like this in mind, Creative United and partners have created The Accessible Instrument Challenge – an online collaborative project that aims to address the accessibility challenges of people who want to play or produce music but find it physically challenging to do so. Bringing together expertise in digital innovation and design technology, musical instrument making and lived experience of disability, multiple teams will build on existing work and aim to take further steps forward in making adaptive musical instruments more affordable, making music education in schools more inclusive and uncovering new solutions that haven't been tried before. At the end of the challenge Plexal will host a showcase event where teams and other contributors will come together to share their ideas, solutions and responses to our challenges.

Project Tags


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    Creative United

    • Arts and Culture
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    • U

      UCL Innovation & Enterprise

      • H

        Hobs 3D

        • T

          The OHMI Trust