Music & Ability

This programme builds on the Music & Ability programme delivered by CBSO musicians in two special schools over the last few years. Thanks to the generous support of Youth Music and a host of local trusts and foundations we were able to develop the programme in 2017/18. Not only has this enabled us to continue to refine the model, further develop the skills of our musicians and school staff in their use of creative music making activities with SEND pupils, but has also provided us with a bank of evidence to demonstrate the benefits of regular engagement in high quality creative music making for children and young people with SEND.

We work with three special schools, and in each school one cohort of pupils works with our team of musicians for the duration of the project, while a further five classes each have a term of activity. These workshops support the musical, personal and social development of these pupils, and we develop approaches to measure the impact that regular creative musical engagement has on these areas of development for young people with PMLD.

This project is not only focussing on the development of the participants, but by the end of the project we aim to have the class teacher and/or other support staff co-delivering activities alongside the musicians to ensure that there is a legacy beyond this project and that creative music making continues even after this funding has been spent!

Throughout this project we also be run a comprehensive CPD programme for musicians and school staff involved to ensure that we are working responsively to specific needs identified by our musicians and teaching staff, and are continuing to develop the skills of the CBSO musicians leading the project.

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The programme concluded in the autumn of 2018 when the CBSO hosted a SEND music conference in partnership with mac makes music. We used this conference to share our final evaluation documents, launch our Toolkit for orchestral musicians and share our learning. The conference also included presentations and practical sessions from other organisations and orchestras who deliver exceptional work with SEND music making.

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Please note that this isn’t an open access programme, and the schools involved have already been selected. However, if you would like to find out more, or explore how a similar programme could be delivered in your school please contact