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… and to having fun, developing new skills and enjoying different experiences.

There are many established opportunities for non-disabled young people to make music in groups (e.g. joining a youth orchestra). However, often these groups and ensembles are not accessible to young Disabled people. For example, some many not allow accessible tech like iPads to be used as instruments, or they may require the use of musical scores.

We encourage and support the music ed sector to make their whole offer inclusive so they can support a diverse range of young people. One of the ways we do this is through Inclusive Ensembles. We also aim to create resources and share our learning via the News and Views section of our site.

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

The young musicians 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 plays 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. This was piloted in Braintree in Essex and will be developed further in the future.

Read all about Inclusion Collective here.

More resources & sharing