Inclusive ensembles

6 band members onstage in long gold robes playing different instruments

Opportunities for young people to make music together are key to learning and developing as a musician.

There are many established opportunities for non-disabled young people to make music in groups (e.g. joining a youth orchestra), but the same cannot be said for young Disabled people. Often these groups and ensembles present Disabling barriers (e.g. not including iPads as acceptable instruments).

We work in partnership with other music organisations to create new approaches to group music-making with access built in from the start. These include Young DaDa Ensemble, Soundbox and Essex Music Hub’s inclusive ensembles.

Young DaDa Ensemble

Young DaDa Ensemble is a musical group based in Merseyside, involving a mixed group of young Disabled people aged 11-25. It is a partnership led by DaDaFest, with Drake Music, Live Music Now and Resonate Music Hub.

The project has two strands:

  • Explore – Weekly workshops on Wednesdays from 4pm to 6pm
  • Evolve – Weekly workshops on Mondays from 4pm to 6pm

Both sessions are held at Resonate, Liverpool’s Music Hub.

The group make music together using a wide range of instruments and technology and they perform live at different times throughout the year.

Young DaDa Ensemble is funded by Youth Music.


Soundbox is an inclusive music group for young Disabled and non-disabled musicians in Tower Hamlets and East London.

The group meets on Saturdays during term-time to improvise and create new music, to rehearse and to develop their musical skills. The group also give public performances at various points of the year.

It is a partnership project between Drake Music, Tower Hamlets Music & Arts Education Service, Spitalfields Music and London Symphony Orchestra. Each partner brings a different approach to make this a really dynamic and exciting ensemble.

The young musicians play together as a whole ensemble and in smaller groups. The ensemble also includes professional musicians from the London Symphony Orchestra.

They use a combination of traditional instruments, percussion, voices and new music technology and instruments. For example, one person might play a cajon, while another uses eye -tracking software to play notes and someone else sings, plays cello or an iPad.

This partnership has been offering creative music sessions for over 5 years.

Watch Soundbox videos created online during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Essex Inclusion Collective

As part of our Think22 programme we worked with the team at Essex Music Hub to create a new approach to ensembles, with inclusion and youth voice at the core.

Read all about Inclusion Collective here.