Young lady playing the guitar and singing

Accessible Music Learning


At Nordoff Robbins we believe music education should be accessible to all and are committed to overcoming the barriers to musical learning faced by many people with diverse learning abilities.

Learning a musical skill can help provide a meaningful and focused activity during this time

Particularly at this time when current pandemic and lockdown present additional difficulties to those living with challenges of disability or illness we believe that learning a musical skill can help provide a meaningful and focused creative activity to help people develop both musically and personally during this time.

What is accessible music learning?

With their specific focus on learning a new skill, our accessible learning sessions differ from music therapy. However, our music therapists are using their skillset to meet people where they are and encourage their interest in and engagement with music in whatever way is possible for them. By applying their specific skills, our therapists can enable effective musical learning to people who may find traditional music learning methods less accessible.

Who are the sessions aimed at?

In particular they are designed to support people living with:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Mental health problems which affects their confidence and engagement in meaningful activities 
  • Neurological disabilities 
  • Dementia 
  • Life circumstances that make engagement in musical learning difficult (e.g. they may be asylum seeking refugees, homeless people).

(Please note that participants need to be able to concentrate for 30 minutes)

How do I know if accessible music learning is right for me?

If traditional methods of learning an instrument present a challenge for you, then accessible music learning could be a suitable option. You can ask for a trial session to decide whether this way of learning works for you.

Please note that to get the most benefit from the sessions, participants need to be able to sustain concentration for 30 minutes and have enough understanding of speech to work with our therapists’ instruction, even if they themselves have limited speech. 

What instruments can I learn?

We can offer opportunities on most instruments people may want to explore – from piano, clarinet, and guitar, to drums, the ukulele and of course, the voice. Our therapists are trained to engage people musically to enable the best musical outcome for them whatever their life circumstance or learning ability. They listen to and follow a person’s lead, offering them the space to shape their own musical journey and learn and develop into what they feel passionate about.

Do I need to be able to read music?

No – there is no prior experience necessary. All you need to bring is your interest and enthusiasm and our music therapists will work with that to help you learn.

Do I need to have an instrument at home?

Yes you will need an instrument available to you if you wish to learn it, however, we know that accessing an instrument can be challenging and sometimes expensive, so do let us know if this is the case and we will see how we can help. If you are more interested in singing – then you have everything you need already to start your sessions!

I don’t know which instrument to choose, can you help?

Yes, we can. All you need to do is come with some ideas of music you like and what instruments you have access to, or are interested in and our music therapist will work with you to help you choose the best option for you.

How will the sessions take place?

These sessions will be delivered through a video conferencing format to keep everyone safe – we will send you all the details you need to be able to log in easily.

How much do the sessions cost?

Our accessible music learning is free of charge for the first block of 4 sessions, after which an assessment will take place. If the sessions need to continue to support your learning a further block of free 4 sessions will be arranged. Following this, any additional sessions will be charged at £15 per half an hour, but if this cost presents a financial barrier for you to participate, we will discuss this with you.

If you think that you, a family member, or someone you care for could benefit from accessible music learning opportunity, do not hesitate to get in touch.

Register your interest

Please provide your name and contact details below and we’ll be in touch with an application form to collect the information that our therapists need to understand how the service could help you.

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
    (If you're getting on touch on behalf of someone else we'll collect their details at a later date)
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
    We'll co
  • Hidden
    Please tell us here if so

Support Nordoff Robbins

For us to be able to provide this free of charge service to those who need it most, we are relying on donations. If you would like to support us in helping others through music, you can donate here:

Make a donation