Musical Arc’s ‘Equal Sound’ initiative enables mainstream school children to make music and create art with disabled people within the childrens’ own classrooms. Sessions are led by Music Arc practitioners with the disabled volunteers leading sections of the delivery.
One of the key principles of inclusive music making is to encourage disabled and non-disabled children to play side by side. A significant barrier to this is the simple lack of experience and misconceptions that many non-disabled children (and adults) have around disabled people. As the London Paralympics proved, the simple act of shining a spotlight on the lives, interests and achievements of disabled people quickly breaks down these barriers.
Although this initiative does not directly address good practice for SEND children and music it is a positive example of disabled people contributing to the musical learning of children and their teachers in the primary curriculum and advocating Disability Awareness amongst the musicians of the future. One of the key finding from SEN/ Disabled young people in Drake Music’s Consultation into Disabling Barriers to Formal Music Education (2012) was that ‘they want music teachers to demonstrate better awareness of the barriers they face in accessing music, and of disability issues in general.’