Projects and initiatives dedicated to helping disadvantaged children and young people access music in all its many different forms.

Our musical inclusion activities focus 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 young people we work with include:

  • looked after children (i.e. in foster care)
  • 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
  • NEET (Not in employment, education or training) groups

Projects are often undertaken in partnership with a third sector agency, local authority service provider, special schools, DSP units, institutions offering alternative educational provision or private sector organisation who work with specific groups of disadvantaged children and young people daily. The type of activities we deliver are shaped by the views of the young people taking part.


A new 3-year project building on the achievements of Music Forge. 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 (CYPCC), with musically inclusive practice and diversity embedded at its core.

INDUSTRIOUS consists of the following key initiatives:

  • ‘Music Production Teams’ and ‘Open Gigs’ together will:
    • Provide regular sessions for CYPCC to create, produce and record their own music in a studio production environment
    • Create opportunities for young people to showcase their achievements either through live performance or, where possible, online (e.g. recordings uploaded to Soundcloud / YouTube).
      recognise achievement through access to accreditation
  • ‘Progression Routes’ supports individuals to take up one to one lessons and opportunities elsewhere in NMPAT and the wider Hub.
  • ‘New Partnership Work’ expands our collaborations with organisations across the East Midlands to enable more CYPCC access to our work.
  • ‘Modern Musician’ builds our expertise across modern styles and genres, providing music leaders, emerging young talent, and project participants with access to industry specialists, training and mentoring opportunities.

INDUSTRIOUS is integral to the evolution of our new Musical Inclusion Strategy and provides the foundations for embedding musically inclusive practice across the Hub.

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.

Inclusion projects

A list of 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.

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.

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!

A very successful and popular project.

These free monthly sessions are 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 NMPAT Kettering  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 team.
  • 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.

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.

  • Research paper by Dr Rebecca Fiebrink and Hugo Scurto from Goldsmith’s University, which sights our ‘Sound Control’ project as part of the research.
  • Artists In Learning ran a training programme to explore inclusive musical practices, for working across a range of children with challenging circumstances. Here is the evaluation report.
  • 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
    • Conference Notes 2 October 2016 (PDF 519KB)

Our supporters

The programme will be supported by these organisations for 2018 to 2019.

"All children should have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument"

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