Thursday, 4 November 2010

NW Update

Adult Work:

Sheffield University

Sheffield University are funding one-to-one tutorial support for Ray de Gussa until Christmas. Depending upon Rays attainments this is likely to continue in 2011. One of the main outcomes of the module will be to perform a short improvised solo. This outcome will be assessed by an improvisation test including a practical and song writing component. Ray will be given a stimulus, e.g. a chord sequence, 1 week before his exam. During the exam itself, the chord sequence is played again and Ray will be expected to play a melody over the top of the chord sequence. Fil Hill will be advising the University on how a student using AMT can be measured against this outcome.


Jigsaw is a social and sports group for young disabled people living in Bury. The group caters for around 30 disabled people aged between 13 and 30 years of age with a range of physical, learning and behavioral impairments.

Jigsaw have commissioned Drake Music to deliver an exciting pilot 4 week course for up to 20 members of Jigsaw from October 2010 until December 2010. Following this both Jigsaw and Drake Music will provide feedback about how the pilot went, and Jigsaw will make a decision about whether they wish to purchase 18 further sessions. Feedback so far has been very positive and it’s likely further sessions will be purchased.

Stockport CP

These weekly sessions are continuing to be of immense value to Stockport CP participants. The Prospectors have performed at the Alma Lodge Hotel in October for Stockport MBC “Valuing health, Valuing people” conference. They are also gigging at the Trafford Centre in December 2010.

Ramp it Up Projects

Music Services in St Helens are funding Drake Music to run a 16-week music course throughout the Autumn term for Key Stage 4&5 pupils at a local Special School. The project will involve 15 two hour workshops, 1 performance and 1 recording, training teachers and local music associates/therapists. The workshops will encompass one to one sessions as well as group activities to make certain that all the pupils are meaningfully involved.

An mp3 of the final piece of music created will give participants a record of their achievements, inspire other disabled people and promote both our partner organisations and ourselves.

They are very impressed with the quality of our work and have helped us to source two of the schools we will be working with as part of our national “Ramp it Up” programme.


We have delivered half day training to a special school in North Wales around the Soundbeam and we are in negotiations with St Helens Music Services regarding future training days and/or a conference on inclusive music making.


We have recruited Alison Jones for 5 days to secure money from local/regional smaller trusts and help research sources of funding for Ramp it Up/other projects in the North West. Alison will also be working on an Awards for All bid to develop a programme of work in the North West.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Drake Music student has GCSE success!

Talented Drake Music student Jordan Andow has achieved his goal of passing GCSE Music. Jordan, who attends the City Academy in Bristol, had previously worked with Drake Music (SW) on a range of performing and composing projects. He has been supported over the past two years by Jonathan Westrup, Drake Music Curriculum Development worker.

Jordan’s achievement is made even more remarkable for the fact that he nearly didn’t take the course. A mixture of timetabling clashes and other pressures meant he considered having to drop his favourite subject. However, the school stepped in to fund one-to-one support from Drake Music and the result is a fantastic outcome both for Jordan, and for music education generally in this country. Jordan is soon to start college and plans to continue making his own music.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Drake Music South West Update

Sing Up
Drake Music have been working in partnership with Sing Up to make singing accessible to every child, in particular students who face significant physical or communication barriers. We've made a short film about this work. You can watch it here:

Barrs Court Music Motivator
The Drake Music SW team have completed the Barrs Court Music Motivator project funded by Youth Music and delivered in partnership with Barrs Court School and Music Pool, Herefordshire. Drake Music produced 6 schemes of work for the school. We took 6 units written by QCA and made them more accessible for students and staff by creating supporting resources using Clicker 5 software, Powerpoint and by creating audio CD's containing sound effects, backing tracks etc. The project has also included a considerable amount of staff training on subjects such as using Clicker5 and powerpoint for music making, soundbeam2 and setting up a PC to play and record sound.
Barrs Court have been extremely pleased with the project and have decided to engage Drake Music to complete another 6 units of work over the next year.
We will also be working with Youth Music over the next year to develop access to the resources for other special schools.

Gloucester Music Service
Drake Music SW have been engaged by GMS to deliver participation and training in accessible singing in every special school in Gloucestershire during the summer term. We will also be training GMS staff in accessible singing. We will be reporting back to GMS in August on the best way to deliver music making in these special schools in the future.

RAMP it Up! Real Accessible Musical Participation
This creative music project is running this summer term at St Roses school, Stroud, Claremont Primary and Claremont Secondary. Students at all schools will take part in a series of music workshops and compose and learn a piece of music which will be performed in a sharing at the end of the project. We are also working in partnership with the schools to ensure the longer term delivery of accessible music education and will be training teachers and support staff.
This project will delivered at another four schools in the South West next academic year and we will shortly be inviting schools to apply to run the project in their school.

Emersons Green Afterschool Music Club
A new integrated after school music club started at Emersons Green School in June, led by Drake Music. Funding has been secured from Aiming High funds, South Gloucestershire Council, to run the club until the end of 2010.

Summer Playschemes
Drake Music are running music making sessions during July and August at Briarwood Summer Playscheme and Claremont Summer Playscheme. These sessions are open to all students at the schools and their siblings.

Vocal Force Project
Drake Music SW have delivered accessible singing training at schools in Oxfordshire and Berkshire and trained Vocal Force staff.

We have received generous donations from Serena White and Kitty Cavendish towards our work in the South West who raised sponsorship by running the Rome marathon and completing a skydive respectively. The donations will go towards our core costs and the new work at Barrs Court School. We also received donations from GASfest and Cardiff Legal Services both in memory of Jason Morris. We are extremely grateful for all these donations which make our work possible.

We are currently looking at ways of delivering the NOCN Introduction to Music Course at St Roses and piloting a new accessible BTEC music course at Claremont Secondary, both from September. For more information about the CDI please see the CDI blog

Thursday, 29 April 2010

NW Update - May 2010

Italy Conference

Drake NW delivered a presentation, workshop and demonstration for Cassa della Musica Genova, Italy. Gemma delivered a presentation: Overcoming barriers - an innovative approach to teaching, learning and making music: The thirty-year experience of Drake Music , and Fil ran a workshop and demonstration.

Cassa della Musica has been running since 2007 and is dedicated to music teaching and playing, research and production. One of their directors, Andrea Masotti, has a background in music therapy and was keen to develop links and learn from our experience. Previously, in 2008 they hosted an International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME), organized by Info Mus Lab - Casa Paganini of the Department of Computer and Information of the University of Genoa. This Conference made reference to innovative ideas about the use information technology with disabled people. Following this they were awarded funding to hold a conference about Disability, Music and Technology on 20 March 2010.

The conference had two goals:
1. Elaborate on the potentialities of Information Technology to support music education and to make the approach to music easier for all disadvantaged people;
2. Suggest the use of Information Technology both for music creativity and music therapy studies and practice.

The first part of the conference was hosted in the museum auditorium with about 100 participants. Other speakers included academics from the University of Genoa who spoke about Multimedia technologies for therapy and rehabilitation, and Therapeutic mediation: potential and limits of new technologies. A range of people attended - Health Educators, teachers, music therapists, health workers, and members of disability associations.

The second part was hosted in Cassa della Musica studio and consited of a workshop and demonstration. The workshop was for a small selection of disabled people, and was observed by parents and therapist via a live camara.

Both the presentation and practical workshops were well received and
Cassa della Musica are keen to work with us in again for future collaborations.

Sheffield University

Phil has been progressing well with Rays training program. It is quite apparent that Ray is very determined and committed to learning how to master the software and hardware needed to complete the course, as well as completing his actual coursework. Phil has made sure that Ray is empowered so he can be as independent as possible, but due to the complex nature of the software (Grid2) combined with Rays co-ordination difficulties, Ray will need continuing support both in terms of learning and problem shooting. We feel that Ray will not being able to keep up with
the demands of the course without continued support from an AMT
expert as very often he has come across problems that only
Phil can solve.

Sheffield University are buying us in to deliver further weekly training sessions until the end of this academic year. They will review Ray’s progress over the summer to determine if Ray has developed the necessary skills to formally register for a 20 credit module in September.

Stockport CP

These sessions are going really well, and the Prospectors are gigging as part of the Stockport Beer Festival on June 4th 2010. They have secured John Lewis sponsorship for a concert at Trafford Centre in December and confirmed sessions up until December 2010.

Camarata Project

The culminating cross-artform performance based on ‘songs of the earth’ took place on 26 March as part of Chester Performs 2010. With a brilliant Live VJ and a more inclusive choreographer (from Chester Dance), the finished result was superb. Nevertheless it would have been nice to also use a disabled dancer to empower and create a role model for the disabled children.

St Helens Music Service

St Helens Music Service are keen to develop a long term partnership between Drake Music and the teachers and the musicians already delivering peripatetic lessons etc in the same schools. The have suggested that we deliver a training day for local musicians, associates, tutors, and then possibly a 10 week project which includes teacher training within it – this might be more sustainable in terms of using the equipment in real live workshop situations.

Future work

Two local schools are applying to Youth Music to buy Drake in to deliver projects in September. GN will be approaching BOTW and IMW for future collaborations.