The Accessible Instrument Challenge | IAMM Hackathon Project

Music is a universal language – or at least it should be. But what if having a physical disability makes it difficult – or impossible – for someone to learn and play a musical instrument?

In 2018 we launched the beginnings of what has become known as the IAMM (Inclusive Access to Music Making) initiative, which sees Creative United and Take it away work closely with partners from across the music, tech and music education sector to raise the profile of music making by disabled children and adults, increasing awareness of the opportunities and sources of support available to enable more people to access music.

This has resulted in the formation and work of the Take it away Consortium, the Nottingham Music Hub Pilot Programme, and most recently the brand new Guide to Buying Adaptive Musical Instruments.

The research and projects undertaken have clearly shown us that, although there are lots of adapted instruments out there, many are prototypes or bespoke. For example, the one-handed clarinet provided to Nottingham pupil Redeem is one of only two in the world and takes many months to create. What happens when five one-handed clarinets are needed for other children to start learning with their peers at the same time?

With examples like this in mind, Creative United and partners have created The Accessible Instrument Challenge – an online collaborative project that aims to address the accessibility challenges of people who want to play or produce music but find it physically challenging to do so.

The Accessible Instrument Challenge aims:

Aims of project

Bringing together expertise in digital innovation and design technology, musical instrument making and lived experience of disability, multiple teams will build on existing work and aim to take further steps forward in making adaptive musical instruments more affordable, music education in schools more inclusive, and uncovering new solutions that haven’t been tried before.  

From supply chain issues to making production software accessible for visually impaired musicians, find out more about the challenges each team will be undertaking.

Find out more

I’m up for a challenge! Can I join a team?

Absolutely! We’d love for you to get involved and join us. Here’s an overview of who we’re looking for to make up each team:

Disabled and non-disabled musicians — Instrument makers — Designers — Manufacturers — Technologists — Inventors — Innovators — Music teachers — Academics — Students 

Are you one of the above?

Join a Team

Applications close on 17th July – please get in touch if you’ve got any questions.

Get in touch

Our Partners 


Funded by Arts Council England, the project is designed to raise awareness of the challenges facing people with disabilities playing traditional musical instruments and find practical solutions that will enable them to participate fully in music making.


Plexal is the innovation centre and coworking space that believes in the power of collaboration. We’re building a diverse innovation ecosystem to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing society –starting with cybersecurity, mobility and inclusion.

Our innovation team delivers programmes for clients like Innovate UK and Transport for London, and specialises in forging connections between industry, academia, investors, startups and scaleups.

Our workspace is home to LORCA: an innovation programme that scales the cybersecurity solutions needed most by industry to make the internet safer for everyone.

In the inclusion space, we run the OpenDoor accelerator and are working with partners like UCL and Disability Rights UK to optimise our workspace for accessibility and champion disability-led innovation.

Our team is also bringing about a mobility future that’s sustainable, personalised, accessible, smart and secure. We’re working directly with government and industry to test, scale and deploy solutions that will radically transform the way we move.

And as well as hosting events – anything from meetups to large conferences – we’re home to over 900 innovators who are working in areas like mobility, AI, healthtech, cybersecurity, fintech, the Internet of Things, VR and more.

They enjoy community events, access to the EagleLab at Plexal makers’ space and services designed to help them scale.

The OHMI Trust

The OHMI Trust works to remove the barriers to music-making faced by people with physical disabilities. Any deficiency in an upper limb makes nearly all musical instruments unplayable to any reasonable standard. As a result, thousands are excluded from music-making, including most disabled children.

The OHMI Trust strives for full, undifferentiated, participation in musical life for disabled people through the creation and provision of adapted musical instruments and enabling apparatus. It also undertakes and commissions research into pedagogic practises, instrument design, and manufacturing methods.

Hobs 3D

Creative. Collaborative. Comprehensive. Hobs 3D offers one of the most complete ranges of 3D services in the world. We bridge the gap between digital and physical 3D creation, employing a select and diverse team of 3D printing specialists, model makers, product designers, 3D digital artists and MIxed Reality XR/VR/AR immersive storytellers.

We employ our creativity and technical expertise across multiple industries, working with the world’s leading companies from art & fashion to architecture, from computer gaming to construction, and from marketing to healthcare. We work closely alongside our clients as their creative department to envision, enhance and actualise their projects to the highest standards.


UCL is a diverse global community of world-class academics, students, industry links, external partners, and alumni. Our powerful collective of individuals and institutions work together to explore new possibilities.

Our distinctive approach to research, education and innovation seeks to further inspire our community of staff, students and partners to transform how the world is understood, how knowledge is created and shared, and the way that global problems are solved.

Creative United

Creative United is an independent Community Interest Company that provides finance-based products and services designed to deliver economic growth and social impact to the arts, creative and cultural sectors.

The Take it away scheme is one of its flagship programmes, which supports participation in music by providing interest free loans for the purchase of musical instruments, equipment and software to enable music making at every level.

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