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Recommendations from Reshape Music

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Musicians playing bassoon and tuned percussion, others looking on
From an LSO project funded by Youth Music. Photo by Kevin Leighton.

The findings from Reshape Music tell us that a number of changes are required to make music and music industry careers more accessible to Disabled people.

Drawn up in consultation with the co-researchers, the Reshape Music recommendations are designed to achieve:

  • Improved access and choice for Disabled musicians.
  • Increased representation of Disabled people in the paid workforce and positions informing policy and practice.
  • Increased knowledge and skills among the workforce to better support Disabled musicians.

The recommendations are as follows:

  1. Music education and music industry organisations must increase the representation of Disabled people, with an action plan and timescales in place.
  2. Recruitment should state explicitly where there is an underrepresentation of Disabled people, and opportunities should be targeted to reach Disabled people. This includes salaried, freelance and contracted positions, as well as voluntary roles.
  3. Spaces need to be fully accessible for Disabled musicians, performers and audience members. This includes venues, education spaces and retail outlets. Organisations should routinely seek to understand and address the broad range of access barriers.
  4. Music education and industry organisations should work closely with Disabled musicians to better understand the barriers they face to progress in their music and careers. They should involve Disabled people from the outset in all work that is designed to support them. This includes research, teacher training, curriculum development, access audits etc.
  5. Specific budgets should be put in place at an equitable level to ensure Disabled people can fully participate in music education programmes.
  6. The social model of disability should form the basis for music education approaches. Supportive environments should focus on broadening skills and experiences and not focus on what people “can’t” do.
  7. Music Education Hubs should connect with Disabled people (and their parents, guardians or carers) in their local area to find out how they can be more accessible. Schools should support Disabled students to engage with Music Education Hubs.
  8. Accessible instruments such as the Skoog and Clarion should be seen as instruments in their own right. Their use should be mainstreamed across all music education programmes as a way of opening up access to all students. Music Education Hubs should start to increase their stock of adapted instruments.
  9. Funding application processes should be made more accessible through flexible deadlines, accessible language, multiple formats for all forms and written information, Easy Read guidelines, and 1-to-1 access support.

    a. Disabled people should be involved in decision-making for funds targeted at Disabled musicians.

    b. Access funds should be made available as part of application processes.