Industrious – Music Projects for Children and Young People in Challenging Circumstances

Projects and initiatives dedicated to helping disadvantaged children and young people across Northamptonshire and Rutland  access music in all its many different forms!

We are continuing our activities through the pandemic and lockdown although sessions are mainly taking place online using Zoom. Contact us to find out more!

This programme focusses on providing access for those living in the most challenging of circumstances and who, consequently, may not have the same opportunities as others to take part in high-quality music activity.

The children and young people we work with include:

  • looked- after-children or those who have experienced the care system in some way
  • young carers
  • those suffering from mental ill-health or with emotional/behavioural problems
  • those with special educational needs including physical and mental/learning disabilities and communication disorders (e.g. autism, ADHD, etc.)
  • visually impaired and deaf children
  • those attending pupil referral units
  • those who are not in employment, education or training (NEET)

Projects are often undertaken in partnership with other organisations – for example: third sector agencies, local authority service providers, special schools/DSP units, alternative educational providers etc.

The activities we deliver are always shaped by the views of the children and young people taking part.

“Industrious” is the name of our current programme funded through Youth Music. The aim is to develop a sustainable musical infrastructure across Northamptonshire and Rutland, reflective of the music industry in the C21st, dedicated to nurturing the musical and creative talents of children and young people in challenging circumstances with musically inclusive practice and diversity embedded at its core.

For further details about this area of work please contact Simon Steptoe, Musical Inclusion Programme and Partnership Manager on: or through the main office on or 01604 637117.

Examples of our work

Participants usually work with us over 3 days, developing and writing lyrics, then crafting these into a completed song alongside professional musicians. On the final day, the songs are recorded on-site using state-of-the-art recording equipment and then streamed on Soundcloud and available for participants to download.

This new initiative, funded through BBC Children in Need, is based in Wellingborough and takes place after-school on a Monday evening. Currently meeting online, this group is open to any young person who enjoys making and playing music and developing their creativity in a group setting.

These free monthly sessions are specially tailored towards the needs and abilities of children with special educational needs, communication disorders and other disabilities. However, the sessions are also very much open to all the family (both young and old).

In the session, 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 signer 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 contact

We also support the work of Rutland Music, the Music Education Hub for the county of Rutland.

Over the past few years, we have been working with Rutland County Council’s Aiming High Team to provide musical activities for their Youth CHAOS group (over-18s with special education needs and disabilities) as well as groups of young carers and looked-after-children.

Sound Control is expressive music software for children and young people with special needs and disabilities

This is our action research project with Dr Rebecca Fiebrink who is currently a Reader in Creative Computing at the University of the Arts London’s Creative Computing Institute. Rebecca has also worked with companies including Microsoft Research, Sun Microsystems

Research Labs, Imagine Research, and Smule, and previously taught at Princeton University and Goldsmiths University of London.

Originally supported through a “Test and Explore” grant from The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, this initiative has developed a new piece of interactive music software designed to help children and young people with special needs and disabilities express themselves through sound and music.

You can download the software here:

From time to time we have additional resources available to support and subsidise other activities. This can include instrument lessons, instrument hire and membership of county groups and/or attending a Saturday morning music centre. We can also provide activities for those interested in music production and DJ-ing.

Our activities have enabled many disadvantaged young people to make substantial progress in their musical education, whether for relaxation or to help them achieve their dream to have a career in music!

Our supporters

Thank you to the following organisations for their continued support of this programme:

"All children should have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument" - National Plan for Music Education

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