Adaptive Musical Instruments

Photo Credit: The OHMI Trust

You may remember that in 2018, Music Makers, Music Educators and Music Retailers participated in a major research project aiming to capture a detailed, national picture of the experiences of disabled people regarding music making. This research was published by Creative United, in partnership with OHMI, Drake Music, Open Up Music and Youth Music…

This data really enables you to get a sense of the experiences and participation levels of disabled children and adults. No data of this nature previously existed, despite the fact that there are 13.9 million disabled people in the UK – that’s 8% of children, 19% of working age adults and 45% of pension age adults.

To remind you, here are some of the key findings:

  • 52% of parents of disabled children said that their children experienced moderate or severe limitations to accessing a music lesson of any kind
  • 59% of music retailers said they are not aware of any specialist products or adapted instruments for disabled people
  • Less than 20% of music educators believe that high street music shops generally meet the needs of their students in purchasing what they need for their music making
  • Over 50% of music educators tell us that “difficulty accessing a suitable instrument” is a barrier to their students’ music making

This research lead to a 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. Industry charity Music for All were delighted to donate specialist adapted instruments to support this project, You can read more here

Following the research and the pilot, our partners at Take it Away are putting together a guide of adaptive musical instruments to highlight products, prototypes and adapted instruments that are sold as being accessible that have been designed for disabled musicians.

Can you help? If you have any experience, knowledge or suggestions of items that could be included, they’d love to hear from you! Please email

The MIA and Music for All will be adding this guidance to our ‘Buying a musical instrument – making the right choice’ publication: a brand free, introductory guide to a range of musical instruments, plus some top tips for those starting their musical journeys.

Here’s the guide, take a look! Buying a Musical Instrument – Making the Right Choice

We’re happy to offer this free guide to your business. It can be displayed on your website, social media or sent electronically to your customers. This is a great way to encourage beginners to engage with you, and to show that you’re investing in their musical journeys.

Please email for your copy.

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