This resource is follow-up to an online panel session on Access to Music for visually impaired children and young people. 

Music has always been used to calm and soothe children from an early age. It is a way to express love and happiness and to be able to engage and interact. It can also impact children’s brain development and quite simply bring us joy.

‘Music expresses what cannot be said, and on which it is impossible to be silent.’ Victor Hugo

Panel event: Access to Music

View, copy, download or print the full resource on Access to Music (LOOK: Family Resources)

Our online panel event brought together Victoria Ward from New College Worcester, musical LOOK Mentors, The Amber Trust, plus a blind musician (and her parents) who has found their purpose and joy in life through music.

We enjoyed a pre-recorded piano recital by the pianist, Rachel Starritt who was born blind and is autistic, which you can watch below. She recently graduated with Distinction in a Master’s degree in Piano Performance and is currently working with Live Music Now sharing and including others in music through work in schools and care homes.

More about the panelists and charity partners

The Amber Trust

Joining us from The Amber Trust were Hannah Marsden, Music Services Manager and Angela Voyajolu, CEO.

The Amber Trust provides musical opportunities for blind and partially sighted children, and children with more complex needs, via its Music Awards and Music Services. The Amber Trust provide bursaries and offer services which ensure VI children and young people with complex needs and those with neurodegenerative disease such as Batten Disease experience music and all it has to offer.

Hannah and Angela spoke to us about how VI children with more complex needs can access music. The children they support with their programmes may not reach Grade 8, but music can open up the world to them, and encourage communication and engagement. For more check out the PowerPoint below.

Victoria Ward (New College Worcester)

Victoria Ward shared her knowledge and expertise of music education for blind and partially sighted students. Victoria joined New College Worcester in 2000, initially as Director of Music and she introduced Music Technology to the curriculum. She is passionate about blind and partially sighted students being able to access music exams, theory and performance and the skills that they need to become independent learners. She recently joined the UKAAF Music Committee and is keen to raise awareness of the importance of music braille and help to remove some of the barriers associated with this. You can find Victoria’s PowerPoint from the session below.

LOOK Mentors

As always, we were thrilled to be joined by two LOOK Mentors who shared from their own lived experiences. Our two musical Mentors for this session were Rupert and Siham.

Rupert is a talented musician who enjoys music in his spare time. He talked us through the apps he uses to access music as a partially sighted musician.

Siham is a blind music graduate who now teaches music, primarily braille music. She spoke about her music education and her current role as music tutor.

Click here to view, copy, download or print the Access to Music resource.