Emergent: A Music Legacy is a Drake Music programme funded by Help Musicians UK and The Wingate Foundation to provide opportunities, support and greater profile to advance the next generation of Disabled musicians in their music careers.
The project has two strands;
- developing new work by Disabled musicians (latest commission opportunities open now!)
- training new Disabled music leaders
In the first year of the programme we commissioned three musicians, Ben Lunn, Luke Lundin and Louis Walkden, to create new work around the theme of ‘Music and the Environment’.
Working in partnership with Brighter Sound, Funky Llama Theatre Royal Plymouth and Carousel, each musician was provided with one-to-one mentoring and were invited to attend group training events covering a wide range of topics including
- Disability Equality Training
- The use of technology in music
- ‘We All Make Music’ event all about inclusive music ed
The musical styles and approaches to the theme varied and included exploring tension and discord in music and nature, as well as championing charity shops and recycling.
One of our commission winners, Ben Lunn, created a piece dedicated to the disabled victims of the Nazi operation Aktion T-4 and Tory Austerity. He recently performed his work at Band on the Wall in Manchester as part of a Brighter Sounds showcase gig.
“For me, what has been most beneficial has been the opportunity to be completely shamelessly disabled. As a composer, this is something I have never had the space to be allowed to do in quite the same way. To write a piece that explores personal identity is always a profound experience, but when the industry as a whole blocks a part of you, the chance to explore yourself is even more magnificent.
I have been very fortunate to gain all of this support from Drake Music and Brighter Sound throughout the commission, and ultimately it has helped me understand a bit more about what it means to be a disabled adult in this world”.
The aim of the trainee programme was to focus on the portfolio career development of Disabled musicians.
The strand provided five Disabled musicians the opportunity to develop their skills of music facilitation and teaching through paid trainee roles within Drake Music’s Learning and Participation projects, whilst receiving group training and individual mentoring focusing on facilitation and personal development goals.
For this strand we worked with the following Disabled musicians: Oliver Cross, James Rose, Kris Halpin, Sarah Fisher and Nick Bignall.
Oliver reflects on the programme:
“Michael has introduced me to a whole new way of working. I can see how to incorporate my harmonica with accessible instruments via the iPad and skoog. It’s a real pleasure to see the Eastway Care group respond to my input and make their own music. This programme has given me an insight into how to lead a group in accessible music and I hope it’s the start of a new career path for me.”
The first year of Emergent: A Music Legacy has demonstrated that excellence in music and facilitation can be achieved through providing professional support and commissioning opportunities to emerging Disabled Musicians, which in turn helps the promotion of Disabled musicians.
This approach builds a foundation on which to engage more Disabled musicians across the country and an advocacy tool which demonstrates the need for a more inclusive music and arts sector.
We are excited to move into year two of the programme, getting underway from May 2018, and to work with a new cohort of Disabled musicians across the country.