Sound Connections Reflections – Inclusive Practice in Action


Sound connections logoOn March 11th and 12th 2021 our friends at Sound Connections held their annual Inclusive Practice in Action Conference . This year it focused on Diversifying the Music Education Workforce; billed as an opportunity to pause and reflect on the benefits of embracing diversity and inclusion for music education organisations.

This issue is very close to Drake Music’s own work and what we are aiming to achieve, both within our own workforce, as well as through advocacy campaigning and workforce development with partners in music education and beyond.

In 2018, following our report on this subject – which concluded that despite there being little available data on the music education workforce, Disabled people are under-represented in the music education workforce – we published the We All Make Music Guide on workforce diversification. This is a key element in the work we are doing with Hub partners.

Illustration by Lewis Heriz with the words We All Make Music and colourful abstract instruments and people

Think22 at Sound Connections

Representatives of Drake Music attended the event, as we have done for the last few years, including Disabled musicians and educators from the team. We did this as part of our Youth Music funded Think22 Programme , which aims, at strategic and delivery level, to advance the inclusion journey in the music education sector by working closely with Music Education Hubs in England.

The Sound Connections event opened the platform to people with lived-experience of exclusion and a history of campaigning and working to advance diversification.

It offered a set of important messages:

  • the opportunity and benefits of inclusion to all
  • the shared responsibility to be proactive in taking action to address underrepresentation and exclusion
  • the need to ask ourselves how we exclude or are part of the structures that exclude
  • the need for a real and significant shift in the power imbalances that maintain these exclusions

I know that the SC team endeavoured to develop, design, deliver and present the whole conference in this spirit and it resulted in an event that was refreshing, powerful, challenging and impactful. Everyone that I have spoken to who attended has been affected by taking part.

A mug and computer screen with zoom event visible
Image: Chris Montgomery

Today we are pleased to share a selection of four reflective pieces written by four Disabled musicians who have worked with us and are part of our extended Drake Music network. We invited musicians from our DM family to attend the event on behalf of Drake Music and to share their responses and reflections afterwards, bringing their personal perspective to the topic. These four musicians responded and joined us at the event. Each focused on different parts of the day, and their posts share insights into their experience of attending (it was by necessity online) and on the content, design, presentation and presenters.


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