• Music disability charity OHMI celebrates ten years of inclusive music-making

    Music disability charity OHMI celebrates ten years of inclusive music-making

    Disabled music charity The OHMI Trust, is celebrating its tenth anniversary in matching disabled musicians with the adapted instruments they need to make music.


    The charity was established in 2011, with no money, only two trustees, and two volunteers. Fast forward ten years, and this small but ambitious charity has much to celebrate.

    It is unique in the breadth of support it offers to disabled child and adult musicians, with its impact felt across teaching, research and development, and awareness raising. The charity’s biennial competition, which supports the development of musical instruments that can be played without the use of one hand or arm, attracts entries from across the globe. Its popular Music-Makers and Inclusive Access to Music-Making programmes gain momentum each and every year, reaching new musicians across England and Wales. Its hire scheme offers an impressive 300 instruments and pieces of enabling equipment; a number that will only grow through the development of further instruments through OHMI’s research partnership with Queen Mary University, London and Birmingham City University. It is this wide-ranging work that led to the charity receiving recognition in The House of Lords.

    These impressive milestones will be marked at OHMI’s 2021 Competition Awards and Tenth Anniversary Celebrations, taking place on Saturday, 25th September. The event, which will be held at Aston University, will also be live-streamed from 6pm BST, and is expected to attract musicians and representatives from musical organisations from around the world.

    The event will include performances from the talented OHMI musical community, as well as an announcement on the winners of the 2021 Competition, along with demonstrations of their equipment.

    Melissa Johns, British actor and disability activist, best known for her roles in Coronation Street, BBC drama Life, and, most recently, Celebrity Masterchef, will be hosting the event.

    As Rachel Wolffsohn, OHMI’s Manager, explains,

    “Melissa is a proud champion of the rights of disabled people, so she was the perfect choice in helping OHMI to bang the drum for inclusive music-making. Hosting the event, for the first time, as a blended live and broadcast event, will allow us to share the celebrations with a global audience, reflecting the truly international nature of the competition entries over the years.” 

    Registrations for the event can be submitted here. 

    Tell us what you think @takeitawaymusic

  • In the Spotlight… Forsyth Music Shop

    Forsyth Music Shop In The Spotlight

    Based in a beautiful five floor building, Forsyths is a family owned and run music shop that’s been in Manchester since 1857. This month, we interviewed Emma Loat who, together with her brother Simon, is the 5th generation of the family.

    Emma and Simon Loat

    What is the story behind Forsyths?

    Forsyths is still a family owned and run business having been at the heart of music in Manchester since 1857. My brother Simon and I are the 5th generation. We were originally established by James and Henry Forsyth as a piano shop as well as managers of the newly established Hallé Orchestra. We have been in our current premises since the 1880s. Forsyths expanded into a wider range of musical products including orchestral and folk instruments as well as printed sheet music. We also established our own publishing house which is still in operation today.

    What can customers expect when they come to visit you?

    Forsyths Pianos

    We are a large independent music shop spread over 5 floors (15,000sq ft) with a wide range of interesting stock for beginners to professionals alike. We also have in-house workshops where we restore and repair acoustic pianos, we also have in-house guitar techs as well as string and woodwind repair specialists. Our depth of stock in sheet music is unrivalled. Customers come from far and wide to spend a day browsing our extensive stocks as well as attending one of our many events for music lovers.

    Have you got an unusual instrument in your shop?

    We have always stocked a wide variety of acoustic pianos and like to have unusual pianos on display – they don’t always have to be black and shiny! We have a very unique piano currently in stock – the only one in the UK – a beautiful Bubinga Schimmel grand piano K189T – it is stunning as a piece of furniture and a superb musical instrument too!



    What additional services do you offer?

    Alongside the wide selection of stock we have available to browse and and purchase we offer a comprehensive servicing and repair service for most instruments. We also offer in-house tuition for piano, woodwind, string instruments and guitars. We offer private piano practice rooms equipped with high quality Schimmel grands and uprights. We also have an ongoing series of recitals in our piano showroom – twice per month as well as participative events such as monthly ‘Lets Play the Piano!’ meet up groups.

    Forsyths Sheet Music


    Go on, tell us about your most famous customer…

    We have a very wide ranging customer base and had many a celebrity customer through the door. From Gary Barlow and Billy Bragg to Eric Cantona (trumpet) and Gary and Phil Neville as well as many international professionals such as Katherine Stott, Ben Frith, Murray McLachlan to name but a few.


    How do you get involved in your local community?

    We are very much involved with the local musical community supplying many schools with instruments and sheet music. We work with Chethams’ School of Music particularly and support many of their events throughout the year including their International Piano Summer School where we supply many of the pianos and have a pop-up sheet music shop in the school as well as offering in-store workshop tours etc. We also have a ‘street piano’ which lives outside the front of our shop when we are open and is enjoyed by a wide range of passers by – some of which have gone viral on social media with their performances!


    In one sentence, why do you think music shops like yours are vital to your community?

    Forsyths provides a vital role for musicians and music lovers alike – a resource that is valued by our customers and the wider public. We help to keep the high-street vibrant and alive – an interesting place to visit!


    This past year and a half with the pandemic and the fallout from Brexit has indeed been a tough one for retailers. Please do continue to support and visit your real ‘bricks and mortar’ music shop as it is a real tangible resource which can never be substituted by buying on-line.


    Why do you think payment options like the Take it away scheme are of value to your customers?

    The Take it Away scheme is a really useful option to help young people buy an instrument that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford, from flutes to grand pianos!


    Thank you, Emma!

    Visit Forsyth Music shop online at: https://www.forsyths.co.uk/

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    Tell us what you think @Takeitawaymusic