Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000


There are 9.4 million disabled people in England, accounting for 18 per cent of the population. Disabled people face many barriers to accessing the same opportunities for education, employment, a stable economic future and a full life as non-disabled individuals. In fact, disabled people are twice as likely to live below the poverty line as the rest of the population. Disabled adults are twice as likely to have no formal qualifications as non-disabled adults, and at age 16, young disabled people are twice as likely not to be in any form of education, employment or training as their non-disabled peers.

The National Plan for Music Education (2011) ‘aims for equality of opportunity for all pupils, regardless of whether they have special educational needs or disabilities.’ In reality, disabled children and young people often do not participate at all in music lessons. Pupils with special educational needs and disabilities are severely underrepresented in GCSE music exams compared with other arts subjects, and at higher levels of education the gap widens. For many of the children that we work with, their involvement with Drake Music is their first and only experience of making music, and regularly their teachers and families are not aware of what they are capable of achieving with the right support and equipment.

Based on best practice Drake Music models operating in London and Bristol, and a successful digital instrument making competition we ran across the North West earlier this year, we now wish to establish a new Research & Development DMLab in Manchester whereby disabled children and adults co-create bespoke instruments with volunteer technologists, coders and makers.

The creation of new instruments is led by the disabled musician, created in direct response to their musical and access requirements. Drake Music envisages that ownership of the technology used or developed becomes a shared responsibility from a young age between musicians and participants. This will be through the creative workshops connecting with our Research & Development programme strand, aiming to inspire and influence the next generation of disabled and non-disabled musicians.

Drake Music is the leading organisation in music, disability and technology. We create opportunities for disabled people to develop as musicians. In 25 years, we have provided upwards of 100,000 opportunities to increase access to music.

Drake Music has a successful track record in making a difference to people’s lives and the charity plays a significant role in ensuring the creation of accessible and expressive instruments.

One of Drake Music's Research & Development partners commented: 'I've been delighted to have the opportunity to partner with Drake Music on the design and delivery of accessible music technology. Equal access to musical performance tools is a major issue, as very few traditional instruments are usable by people with movement impairments.'

Project Video

Drake Music

Moment of Pride

On the impact of working with Drake Music, artist Kris Halpin says ‘this project has literally changed my life’, referring to the Mi.Mu Gloves that have revitalized his ability to compose and perform.

Location: Manchester