In 2020, Creative United published the first edition of the Take it away Guide to Buying Adaptive Musical Instruments distributed in partnership with Normans Musical Instruments and the Musicians Union.
What is the guide?
This guide includes details of over 80 musical instruments and products, from prototypes and bespoke to commercially available and common accessories. Many have been specifically designed to make learning and playing musical instruments of all kinds as accessible as possible for disabled players of all ages. The aim of the guide is to provide a central resource that can be referred to as guidance and ideas for all - individuals, parents, teachers, schools and retailers.
How did it come about?
The guide was created as a counterpart to Music for All's guide to Buying a Musical Instrument and in response to research undertaken by the Take it away Consortium (a partnership between Creative United, Drake Music, Music for Youth, The OHMI Trust, Open Up Music and Youth Music) in 2018, which identified that a significant barrier to participation in music for disabled children was a lack of knowledge about the existence of adaptive musical instruments and assistive equipment.
The research findings showed major gaps in the access to, and knowledge of, where to find adaptive musical instruments;
- 63% of the music retailers said they were not aware of any specialist products or adapted instruments
- Only 54% of music educators and less than 25% of parents with disabled children agreed with the statement “I know how and where to source an adapted musical instrument”
The publication of the guide aims to directly address these issues by raising awareness of the extraordinary range of adaptive instruments that are currently available, with the hope that this will inspire and encourage many more disabled people to be confident of their ability to learn and play music.
Where can I read it?
You can read and download the accessible PDF document on Take it away's website. The Guide is currently in its first edition as a working document. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list as new products and prototypes are constantly being developed and launched.
Take it away would absolutely love to hear your thoughts, personal experiences and suggestions of instruments to include in the next edition!