Access and inclusion

Case study: Diversifying repertoire with the Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra

Sophie Anderson, Publicity Officer of Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra (SPO) tells us how the orchestra has managed to successfully diversify its repertoire.


Formed in 1945, the SPO is Sheffield’s oldest leisure-time orchestra, with over 80 members from across the Sheffield city region and beyond. We endeavour to present high-quality, well-attended concerts that engage regular concert-goers, and actively seek to increase exposure to classical music by working with the local community.

Conversations about Inclusion with Dr Diljeet Bhachu: Why an open door is not enough


To fully include everyone in our music activities, we need to understand the barriers that stop people from attending, taking part or progressing. In the Conversation about inclusion series of events, hear about the issues from the perspective of those who directly experience barriers and discuss what we can do to change things from within our own music groups.


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In the spring edition of Highnotes, we explore the wealth of data contributed by our members in the Big Survey 2022, revealing insights about the leisure-time music community. We provide updates on our inclusion project, INCLUDE, and share what the selected groups will get up to over the new year. We also interview conductor Bradley Wilson, who shares his experience of curating a concert experience for a younger audience and the valuable lessons learnt along the way. 

Online member meetup (Wales)

Running your group is a rewarding but challenging role. Our regular meetups are a chance for you to meet and share learning and ideas with other Wales groups facing similar challenges, explore specific issues affecting leisure-time music making in Wales and consider how we can work collaboratively to find solutions and advocate for the sector. 

Stephen McNally, Wales manager, will be leading this session.

N.B. this event was originally scheduled to take place on 24th January but will now be taking place on 31 January.

In this meetup we'll:


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Glossary of LGBTQ+ terms

There are many terms related to LGBTQ+ issues and it might seem overwhelming at first. But fret not - this glossary should help you better understand your LGBTQ+ members as you work on getting your music group to be more diverse and welcoming.

Working with transgender singers

Working with transgender singers in your music group might be a new experience, but breaking it down into smaller steps would better enable you to support your transgender members on their music making journey.

In practical terms, much of the guidance from our LGBTQ+ inclusion guide is applicable when working with transgender singers. This guide, written by Dr Kathleen Cronie and Dr Michael Bonshor, will provide some extra information about the following questions:

LGBTQ+ inclusion guide

Sometimes LGBTQ+ people encounter barriers to getting involved in music making, but by making some simple adjustments to your practice you can work towards creating a more inclusive environment where they can thrive in your group.

Webinar: INCLUDE programme launch

In this recording of our webinar (original event 25 September 2023), Making Music launched INCLUDE, our 18-month inclusion programme where we will work with four member groups to explore what leisure-time music groups can do to include more people, from a more diverse demographic, in their regular activities.

Webinar recording: Social prescribing for music groups

In this recording of our webinar (original event 22 September 2023), guest speakers discussed what it means for a music group to be 'social prescribing friendly' and the rewards and challenges that come with engaging with social prescribing.

Social prescribing is an NHS scheme where medical services can refer patients to community-based activity to improve their health and well-being. It offers a huge opportunity to benefit music groups and positively impact their communities. 

We welcomed:

Making Music census comparison survey

Understanding how the demographics of your members or audiences compare to the make-up of your geographical community can be helpful when planning your strategy, performances, or community engagement plans.  

We have created a census comparison survey to help leisure-time music groups collect data from people who belong to your group, or attend your events, so you can directly compare it to the UK government's Census 2021.