In September 2018, Creative United, in partnership with OHMIDrake MusicOpen Up Music and Youth Music, launched a major research project. The aim of the research was to capture a detailed, national picture of the experiences of disabled people regarding music making, and 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.

We asked Music Makers, Music Educators and Music Retailers to participate in this important research by sharing their experiences in a survey.

Some key findings:

49% of parents of disabled children responding to the survey told us that their children experienced moderate or severe limitations to accessing a music lesson of any kind


Less than 25% 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


63% of music retailers said they are not aware of any specialist products or adapted instruments for disabled people


Over 50% of music educators told us that “difficulty accessing a suitable instrument” is a barrier to their students’ music making

The research findings also revealed a number of other disabling barriers such as transport difficulties, finances and a lack of information about the existence of adapted instruments, which all hinder parity of opportunity. Only 25% of Disabled music makers knew were to source an adapted instrument if they needed one and less than half of Disabled music-makers had been able to find a teacher who met their learning needs.


Next steps

The Consortium is working on a number of initiatives to help address these barriers, including the recently announced collaboration with the Nottingham Music Hub, which will pilot a new approach to ensuring that disabled children at mainstream primary schools are able to participate fully in making music through Whole Class Ensemble Tuition.

For further information on the full Consortium research findings or the Nottingham Music Hub Pilot programme, please contact:

Mary-Alice Stack
Chief Executive, Creative United
Direct line: 020 7759 1115