First impressions from our resident artists …

Text over a dark grey background that says Resident Artists Updates.

We are excited to bring you the latest updates on our resident artists, Daisy Higman and Ysabelle Wombwell. Daisy has been busy shaping her workshops and projects, collaborating with Lisa, our Drake Music Project Manager, to refine her ideas and make them more accessible through Emergent Bursaries.

Meanwhile, Ysabelle has been exploring the realm of music technology, looking at ways to adapt instruments for greater accessibility and seeking potential collaborations with fellow musicians. Both artists had the exciting opportunity to participate in sessions at Drake Music HQ, broadening their horizons and gaining new insights.

Join us as we take a closer look at their progress and highlights over the past month.

Text over a dark grey background that says Daisy Higman with a photo of a woman wearing bright pink dungarees holding her hand up using an accessible instrument that looks like a theremin.

First up we have Daisy Higman. Can you tell us updates about your project / workshops? 

It’s still early days but I have lots of thoughts percolating away. I’ve started compiling a long list of provocations for the workshops, which I’ll be honing down with Lisa’s help over the next month, and we’ve been reviewing the application process for the Emergent Bursaries, so that we can make it as accessible as possible.

What do you have planned for next month? 

I’ll be learning more about the Think22 education project, and I think we’ll be launching the Emergent Artist callout this month as well. I’ll continue developing the workshop offers and I’m hoping to spend some more time planning my project.

What have you learned so far? 

The OrchLab and DMLab sessions introduced me to some incredible bits of kit that I hadn’t come across, including adapted instruments and accessible apps. I also really enjoyed hearing about how Dev leads a workshop with participants and experiencing some of the activities firsthand.

(I’ve also learned that GDPR training is much more exciting when delivered through Star Wars metaphors!).

What has been a highlight over the past month? 

Visiting Drake Music HQ for the OrchLab and DMLab sessions, and meeting everyone in person!


Text over a dark grey background that says Ysabelle Wombwell and an image of a women wearing black dungarees and a white top playing with a trombone on a table.

Next, we welcome Ysabelle Wombwell. Can you tell us updates about your project / workshops? 

I’ve done some more research particularly about music tech and instruments that can be adapted so they can be more accessible. I’ve considered how this can be used in my project to expand who I can collaborate with. I’ve had some conversations with different musicians about ideas and potential collabs.

What do you have planned for next month? 

To start making connections with collaborators, more research and thinking how I can creatively link separate elements and strands of my work to create something really exciting and powerful.

What have you learned so far? 

I’ve learned a lot about midi controllers and how they can be adapted in so many ways. That there’s a huge music community that I didn’t really know about.

What has been a highlight over the past month? 

Meeting everyone at DM Lab.

DMC Creative Session and DM Lab Event


Getting creative together  

 At the end of July, Daisy, Yssi and the rest of the DMC project team came together from all over the UK (Plymouth / Hull / Northampton/ Newcastle) to Rich Mix in Bethnal Green, London. For most of us it was the first time coming to the Drake Music Office and meeting the whole team in person. 

 In the early afternoon we joined a creative session led by Drake Music Associate Musician Dav Sheil. We used iPads to explore the IOS music making app Thumbjam – using the same interface to each play the sounds of a different instrument. We also enjoyed discovering that you could add vibrato by wiggling your finger on the screen or tilt the iPads to add dynamics and other effects.  

 We then created a piece of music together, based on the Rites of Spring by Stravinsky – a piece that Dav has been using in the sessions he runs for the Orchlab project.  

 Next we had a look at the adapted instruments that have been created through DMLab and Orchlab. There was a trombone, an oboe, and a harp, all connected to midi sounds. These instruments can all be played through touch, without needing to pluck or blow into them.  

 We also explored instruments made by other developers. This included the Soundbeam, which uses infrared sensors to detect movement, so you can wave your hand over it to create sounds. We also played with Oddball, an app connected to a ball which creates different sounds when you bounce the ball.  

Exploring accessible music technology 

In the evening we headed up to the 4th floor of Rich Mix for the re-launch of Drake Music’s DMLab London project. DMLab is a project bringing together Disabled & non-disabled musicians, technologists, & makers to come together & explore accessible music making. 

 The evening started with a taster session exploring the potential of using AI for designing accessible instruments, led by Hugh Aynsley (University of West of England) and Dave Meckin (Royal College of Art). They talked everyone through the process of making a new instrument by using AI to offer possible designs based on various specifications. After tinkering with different possible ideas, they would then 3D print the instruments as prototypes. The DMLab team plan to hold a workshop later in the year, in which participants will be able to explore 3D printing different AI generated ideas.   

 Next was Andre Louis (aka Onj), who was involved in the Drake Music Collective in 2022 as an Emergent artist. Andre demonstrated Ableton Note and its audio description capabilities. Impressively, he then created a track live using the Ableton Note IOS app, a music making app created by Ableton for the Iphone.   

 The last presentation came from Si Tew of Digit Music – who demonstrated Digit Music’s accessible gaming-style music-making instrument CMPSR, which is based on the shape of an electric wheelchair joystick. 

 The event closed with networking, and the opportunity to have a go on a selection of accessible instruments and apps from the DM Accessible Musical Instrument Collection (AMIC). These included CMPSR, the Linnstrument, the Roland Handsonic HPD-20, and the Vochlea Dubler 2.