Inclusion isn’t a choice


With music education finally opening up for disabled people in the UK many disabled musicians are keen to be accredited and assessed in music.

However, there are currently few options which can truly be considered accessible.

Through our Youth Music funded programme, Think2020, we are taking a simple message to conferences across the country this autumn to support accessible, inclusive music making:

Inclusion is not a choice.

When we ask ourselves what ‘inclusion isn’t a choice’ looks like, we aspire to see schools, music organisations and music education hubs working collaboratively with disabled people.

This means collaboratively with children and young people, and also collaboratively with disabled music leaders as facilitators and consultants.


At Music Learning Revolution our Education Manager, Jonathan Westrup and teacher Jocelyn Watkins, will be inviting delegates to explore rigorous pathways of musical progression for young disabled people.

Following this, Jonathan will be speaking at the Breaking the Bubble Development Day with conductor James Rose, taking delegates through a sample lesson of Drake Music’s Compose and Perform course.

When we ask ourselves what our role is in ensuring that inclusion isn’t a choice, we identify the exciting developments in our research and development programme.

We think about the resources that can be made more accessible in our classrooms, and the opportunities that this can create for music making.

We believe that  in order to get creative with accessible, inclusive assessment pathways, you need to also get creative with tech.

With this in mind, we will be at MozFest on the 29th October, hosting a live DMLab workshop and demonstration of how innovative technology can be used in different educational settings.

iPad in use at the Web We Want festival

Join Drake Music Associate Musicians Charles Matthews, John Kelly and Sophie Partridge to explore new technology at this cutting edge festival.

Building on this, the Think2020 team wants to make sure that we are not only using technology and exploring assessable pathways in progression, but that we are ensuring there is a skilled and dynamic workforce to facilitate this.

We are committed within Think2020 to strengthening our own workforce; working collaboratively as disabled and non-disabled people to develop exceptional music leaders within Drake Music.

These music leaders are working across the music education sector and they, through our upcoming conferences and beyond, are advocating to the music education sector to do the same.

On the 11th November, Jonathan Westrup will be at Music Mark, asking how we nurture leadership in music education hubs to support the development of disabled young musicians.

a music leader plays iPad with a young participant

Think2020 believes that we need to support the music education sector in building clear pathways for progression for children and young people in SEN/D settings, and that we must develop an inclusive and stronger workforce to support this.

We will be at the following conferences throughout the autumn term, and if you believe that inclusion isn’t a choice, you’ll join us there.

Music Learning Revolution:

  • Topic: Imagination + rigour: How to assess and accredit music in special schools
  • Venue/Date: Manchester/18th October
  • Presenters: Jonathan Westrup and Jocelyn Watkins (Music Co-ordinator at Treloar Special School)
  • Find out more

Breaking the Bubble:

  • Topic: Delivering a Compose & Perform course lesson
  • Venue/Date: Central London/19th October
  • Presenters: Jonathan Westrup, with James Rose
  • Find out more


  • Topic: DMLab Live!
  • Venue/Date: Central London/29th October
  • Presenters: Charles Matthews, John Kelly and Sophie Partridge
  • Find out more

Music Mark

  • Topic: How to nurture leadership for music education hubs and disabled young musicians
  • Venue/Date: Coventry/11th November
  • Presenter: Jonathan Westrup

Do you agree that ‘inclusion is not a choice‘? How is this reflected in your work?

Leave us a comment to share your views and let us know if you will be coming to any of the conferences we’re speaking at.


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