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Musical inclusion projects

Young girl playing piano

SEN/D Musical inclusion conference

Thursday 19 October 2017, 9:30am to 4:15pm

Cost: Free

This Autumn we are running our first ever music education conference focussing on SEN/D children and young people, with content specifically aimed at SEN/D teachers, support workers, as well as musicians and other artists working in the sector.

Attending the conference will be a chance to:

  • Hear from SEN/D music specialist, composer and workshop leader, Sigrun Saevarsdottir-Griffiths, about her innovative work with special needs children, and learn first-hand about some of her most successful projects both in the UK and internationally.
  • Find out all about NMPAT’s fabulous new SEN/D music programme, 'Reach the Stars' and how you can get involved.
  • Meet with our team of SEN/D specialist musicians, music teachers and artists working across Northamptonshire and Rutland.
  • Learn about some of the most successful approaches we are currently delivering in special schools and other settings, as well as some of the exciting new innovations in music technology currently being developed with our partners.

There will also be a chance to talk about the particular needs of the children and young people you work with in your own school or professional settingand tell us how we can best shape music services in the future to create a truly C21st SEN/D music programme.

The conference will be held at our Kettering Road Centre, Northampton NN1 4AZ. 

Places will be limited, so if you want to secure your place, please complete the booking form and return to ltyrrell@nmpat.co.uk.


Below are some projects and activities that we have delivered in partnership with third sector agencies, local authority service providers, or private sector organisations working with specific groups of disadvantaged children and young people on a daily basis. The type of activities we deliver are shaped by the views of the young people taking part.

In Spring 2017, we ran an 8-week after-school club with our partner, Kic.in2.Study, for around 15 looked-after-children (i.e. children in foster care). The project was led by two members of our Musical Inclusion Team, Daniel Johnson and Anna-Marie Whitaker-Johnson, with activities focussing on vocals, song-writing, music production and DJ-ing.

Participants got a chance to try out everything on offer, and were able to record their own songs, produce a short pop video, and take home a recording of the finished product.

These projects are designed for mixed-aged groups, who may have done little music together previously, to try out new musical activities. A good example of a Sonic Safari project was one we designed and delivered together with arts organisation, Salamanda Tandem, and local charity, Northamptonshire Carers, for their group of young carers.

Using hand-held digital recorders, the young people explored the sounds in the NMPAT building on Kettering Road. Sounds encountered ranged from conventional musical sounds such instruments through to more ambient sounds plucked from the environment. They then worked with Salamanda Tandem to create a fantastic piece of participatory sound art performed at the end of the day to family and friends.

​Over the past year, the Musical Inclusion Team has been working regularly with a number of clients, including Hospital and Outreach Education, the Complementary Education Academy and Thornby Hall, to provide regular weekly musical activities for groups and individuals.

The young people in these units typically have a wide range of challenging issues to deal with and our music sessions are specially designed to help them through the day as well as to identify and nurture any musical talents they have, raising levels of self-confidence and enhancing well-being.

young girl playing violin

Many of our projects start out as taster sessions for different groups of children and young people in challenging circumstances (CYPCC) to try out new things in music. But the beauty of the Musical Inclusion programme is that we are able to pick up on the interests of individual young people and direct them through to some of the mainstream provision on offer.


Over the years this has included:

  • subsidising instrument lessons and instrument hire
  • subsidising membership of county groups and/or attending a Saturday morning music centre
  • signposting young people onto one of the project operated by our Hub Delivery Partners

This has led to many disadvantaged young people being able to make substantial progress in their musical education, whether for relaxation or to help them achieve their dream to have a career in music!

One of our most successful projects

These monthly FREE sessions group of people focussing on excited young personare specially tailored towards the needs and abilities of children with special educational needs, communication disorders and other disabilities. But, just as importantly, the sessions are also very much open to all the family (both young and old). Our team of specialist artists lead participants through a wide range of different songs to suit all ages, abilities and interests.

We use lots of different props to make the songs interesting and exciting (e.g. real bubbles with 'I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles') and we have assistive music technology (e.g. digital switches) so everyone can join in. A singer is also present at the session and Makaton symbols are used to help some of the children understand the meaning of the song and follow the lyrics.

To find out more visit Kettering Music and Performing Arts Centre page

We also support the work of Rutland Music, the Music Education Hub for the county of Rutland.  Over the past year, Musical Inclusion Team members, Kate Rounding, Daniel Johnson and a mix of other music leaders, have been working closely with the Aiming Higher Team in the County Council to provide a range of different musical activities including:

  • Visits from the Relaxed Singalong teamfour young people, two using microphones, one dancing and one playing keyboard
  • Musical activities integrated into Aiming High’s sensory days for children with special educational needs and disabilities
  • An ongoing series of regular workshops for the Youth Chaos Group (older young people with SEN, 16+, who are gradually making the transition to independent living) focussing on music technology and percussion, beat-boxing…. and having a good time. After all 'chaos' just means: 'Chatty Happy Activities On Saturdays'

This is our action research project with Dr Rebecca Fiebrink from the Computer Music Department of Goldsmith's College, University of London. Funded through both Youth Music and The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, this project explores new machine learning technologies and musical human digital interface devices to design new bespoke digital musical instruments that help children and young people with special needs and disabilities express themselves through music.

Find out more about Rebecca's work

Rebecca and her colleague Hugo Scurto have published a paper on their work. You can find this in the reports and publications tab on this page.

Below are some reports and publications which have been created for, or are in relation to the musical inclusion programme.

  • In October 2016, the musical inclusion programme teamed up with the University of Northampton and Royal and Derngate to deliver a conference called 'Digital Learning Across Boundaries: Exploring inclusive approaches to learning across the boundaries of physical spaces, across curriculum subjects and across languages and culture." This conference was part of the Eramus funded project exploring the use of digital technology as a tool for empowering young people, especially SEND children.  Our contribution was examining the theme through music. A copy of the speakers biographies can be found below
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