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Music leader from Drake Music teaches budding young musician

Music-making for young people with disabilities and special educational needs was given a big boost today when Drake Music, the national organisation that seeks to break down disabling barriers to music, was awarded a significant grant to support its work.  The National Foundation for Youth Music is giving £83,700 this year with further grants of up to £185,300 being made available over the following two years.

The national charity announced today that Drake Music is one of 13 organisations around the country that has been selected to become a strategic partner. Over the next three years, Drake Music will work with Youth Music towards its aim of creating a musically inclusive England where every child can access music-making opportunities, regardless of circumstances.

Many of the young people Youth Music supports face significant challenges in their lives. These may arise from economic issues, from disability or lifelong health conditions, mental health or behavioural issues and from other life circumstances including living in rural isolation, being a young carer or refugee.

Drake Music specialises in music, disability and technology. Over the coming three years,  they will be working with music hubs, schools and other organisations across England to contribute to the vision of every disabled young person having the opportunity to make music. Without a cohesive plan for music education for disabled young people, many miss out on the chance to connect with music and express themselves creatively. Drake Music’s research has shown that many of the 1.67m disabled children and young people in England do not engage with music lessons at all, and are severely under-represented at GCSE level and above.

Over the 3 year period Drake Music will deliver a national programme of infrastructure building to address that gap. Disabled musicians will be at the centre of the work and it will include training for teachers to build a ‘Community of Learning’, strategic planning with music hubs, hands-on workshop delivery in schools and the development of new instruments & technology.

Matt Griffiths, Chief Executive Officer, Youth Music said:  “We’re really delighted to be working with Drake Music as one of our strategic partners to deliver an exciting programme of music-making opportunities for disabled children and young people across the country. We want to see all children being able to access music-making opportunities and we’re sure that Drake Music will make a great contribution towards achieving this aim.”

Carien Meijer, Chief executive of Drake Music said: “This strategic delivery partnership with Youth Music is a huge step forward in creating a consistent approach to music education provision for children and young people who face disabling barriers. We believe everyone has the right to access, and progress in, music-making. This funding will go a long way to making that a reality. With over twenty years’ experience of making music accessible through technology, we can share this specialist knowledge and expertise, which is not readily available elsewhere, to open up opportunities for disabled young people to play and write music. We are excited to be able to work strategically with music hubs and many other organisations across the country to advocate for, deliver, train, share and embed best practice in SEND music education over the next three years.”

For a full list of grants awarded see http://bit.ly/YMgrantsApr15

Youth Music is supported by Arts Council England, People’s Postcode Lottery and by charitable donations, including money raised through its Give a Gig fundraising initiative.