Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Bradley breaks the glass ceiling!

Bradley, our pilot student for our NOCN 'Introduction to Music' Course, successfully passed last week (four units, all at Level 1) This is obviously a significant achievement for him personally, overcoming many barriers along the way, and creating a quality portfolio which is both wide-ranging and musically surprising by turns.

However, his success also plants a clear signpost in the ground for other students to follow. Firstly, he is an excellent role model and a pioneer; he has proven that students facing the barriers he does can independently take accredited music courses and succeed. Next academic year we plan to deliver the course to a class of six students with physically disabling barriers at the same school.

Secondly, the approaches and resources we have used to create the music are now ready for any other student to pick up and use - they won't simply sit there now, in an educational time capsule. The most important task now is to get the course more widely known - and used.

Lastly, it moves the goalposts in terms of music provision in this country for SEN/ disabled students in the UK. Current provision is simply not good enough; we know that educators and musicians and exam boards recognise the need to change this, but it isn't happening nearly as much as it could be. Bradley's success opens the door for professionals to walk through.

If this sounds grand, it really is not; congratulations Bradley!

Friday, 9 July 2010

Wonderful Support for our Curriculum Development Initiative (CDI)

We recently received a very generous donation, made in memory of Jason Morris, to support the development of Drake Music’s Curriculum Development Initiative. The CDI, part-funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, aims to broaden access to the music curriculum in general and to accreditation in music in particular.

Through the CDI we want to ensure that disabled children and young people can pursue the same progression routes as their non-disabled peers, using accreditation as a springboard. As part of CDI, we will support young people with their BTEC in music, and have written and piloted a new NOCN (National Open College Network) course 'Introduction to Music', which will be rolled out nationally over the coming years.

Other key components of this initiative are advocacy, extensive lobbying of key policy makers, and developing a new, fully inclusive music technology exam, working closely with ABRSM.

Jason Morris, in whose memory the donation was made died in 2009. He was a talented, technically adept and very fast guitarist. Music was the centre of his life. He was much appreciated by his peers for the way he shared his knowledge and gave his encouragement, as well as being known for his wit. He participated in Gasfest, a guitar event in support of Drake Music. Jason greatly admired Drake Music's work and this donation is in many ways a fitting memorial to him.

This generous donation – over a four-year period - will have a significant impact, increasing our reach and enabling us to make a step-change in the development and implementation of the Curriculum Development programme.

For more information about CDI, please contact

Jonathan Westrup



Or visit