Making music for all children a reality: Pilot gives more city pupils a chance to play musical instruments


A quietly confident young man, Redeem is an Year 6 pupil at Westglade Primary School who started learning to play the clarinet two years ago with his class.  Although he enjoys playing the instrument, due to limited mobility in his left hand, he has had a more challenging time than his peers. This year though, things are going to be different…

Music for All are proud to have supported this wonderful initiative. 

This year, there is a one-handed clarinet, especially designed for people with physical disabilities, that he will be learning to play.  The clarinet is one of only two in the world currently and it is incredible that a Nottingham pupil has access to it!  It is more suited to Redeem’s needs and enables him to play the full range of notes that his peers can.  Emma, a Nottingham Music Hub woodwind teacher, has spent time figuring out how to play the one-handed clarinet, which comes with a stand to improve accessibility, and is excited about the opportunities this offers Redeem.  As his teacher, she is impressed with Redeem’s motivation to learn and spends additional one-on-one time with him each week to accelerate his learning.

Redeem’s instrument was provided as part of a city-wide pilot project, a collaboration between Creative United, the OHMI Trust and Nottingham Music Hub, to make Whole Class Ensemble Teaching (WCET) more inclusive.

The pilot started in June with an online questionnaire that was sent to all 76 Nottingham City Primary Schools.  Redeem is one of 78 primary pupils across 25 schools who were identified as benefitting from additional support with WCET.  The project has enabled the needs of all those children to be addressed with specific, individualised interventions to enable them to play alongside their classmates.

The interventions range from large print resources and accessible teaching techniques to provision of specialist adapted instruments and carefully selected music technology solutions, made possible thanks to generous donations from Music for All, OHMI and Clement Pianos, a Nottingham-based retailer that is also a member of the Take It Away scheme.

Ian Burton, Chief Executive of the Nottingham Music Hub, says “Inclusion is one of our core values and we work very hard to ensure that all children in Nottingham City can experience the joys of making music with others.  This initiative helps further our mission and we are so pleased to be working with such fantastic organisations to make music make a difference.”

Like all new projects, there is an adjustment period, especially with the more specialist adapted instruments, however the programme holds a lot of promise and potential for children in Nottingham City to fully experience the joys and benefits of music making with others.

“I want to continue playing my clarinet,” Redeem said when asked if he could play any instrument which one would he choose.  He wants to be a police officer when he grows up, possibly playing in a police band so that he can continue with his music too!