We measure the success of our long-term provision of music-making opportunities through various methods. Some are focused on actual musical progress; others are about personal and social development and overcoming individual challenges that our students face in everyday life. We are grateful to all our students, their parents, teachers and our own workshop leaders for providing detailed and thoughtful feedback that adds so many dimensions to our understanding about the results of our word and informs our approach.

Here are some of the most recent testimonials we received in 2022:

Miffy and Freddie

“Miffy, 8 and her brother Freddie, 7 both have an autistic spectrum condition. For the past 2 years, Miffy mainly learnt through playing by ear. She has perfect pitch and a very good memory and is very enthusiastic about her learning. Mum is very happy with the lessons and have constantly mention what a positive impact it has to Miffy who suffers from anxiety and usually finds new circumstances or tasks difficult to cope with. Introducing and learning new pieces helps Miffy to learn to overcome this anxiety.

Freddie is very inspired by how well his sister, Miffy plays and so he is constantly very eager and keen to learn. Like Miffy, he will get very anxious when new material is introduced or learning new things. Unlike Miffy, he is a very visual person so he learns notation at a very early stage and is a very fast learner. When I started introducing Piano Star book 1, he was so excited and tried out all the songs at home by himself and less than 2 terms we have completed the book. Freddie got anxious when playing in front of people and so it took us very long time to try to convince him and the summer concert was definitely a confident boost for him when he decided to perform. He absolutely loved it and it’s a big milestone for him. Our current goal is to work on his hand posture and technique. Has has a very poor sitting posture and hand position and I’m constantly trying to correct and remind him, it’s still an ongoing process.”


“Freya is 6, she is learning piano. She is profoundly deaf, has a tube on her neck for breathing and is supported by 2 full time nurses. Uses a wheelchair, but can walk short distances.

Freya has been a delight to teach. At only 6 years old, she is learning to read music and play the piano using both hands. She has a lovely sense of rhythm and plays really well. She was a beginner pianist, and I see this as an emotional outlet and expression. She doesn’t speak (the tubes are in the throat) but her smiles and conversation in sign language are emerging, all from achieving a lovely melody on the piano.”


Millie is 17, she is blind. Millie has performed several times this year including singing in a school vocal ensemble in an SFE Area Gala Concert at Birmingham Conservatoire in April. Millie led the group and sang a solo very confidently. Millie took part in the Music of Life rehearsal day and concert in the Town Hall in June. She sang a small solo in this and performed three songs in the foyer before the concert with another student playing piano. Millie is currently preparing to perform a selection of songs in the foyer before an SFE Youth Proms Concert in Symphony Hall on 18th July.

Millie clearly loves singing and being able to have lessons. She loves learning new music and developing her vocal technique. During Millie’s lessons other pupils and staff at the school often walk past and listen to her singing which she enjoys and this gives her confidence.”


Music in schools for Deaf Children

“The children are so much eager to show off their new skills to their school and parents. They are more engaged with music and have developed skills that help them with learning in other subjects.”
“There has been a vast improvement in the children’s music ability since being part of this project. Pupils can now fully access and participate in sessions. They are being taught by an inspirational Deaf role model which has been massively empowering for our pupils. They are making great progress compared to when they joined mainstream sessions. They are also enjoy learning about music from around the world.”
“Music lessons are fun and creative. The children have learnt how to work together in new ways, for example gently bouncing monkeys on the bed, no over-excitement!”
“Children are more inclined to wear their hearing aids/ implants. They have had a really positive response to music/ communication through music. It’s so lovely for the deaf children to communicate with someone who understand their language, BSL! Also, no barriers in explaining their ideas. Children love going to their lessons and they have helped them to bond. We have seen a vast improvement since we were part of this project.”
Choirs in Special Schools
“The excited buzz coming from the school hall on a Music of Life day is extraordinary! Pupils and staff participate with enthusiasm and everyone has a voice. The social interactions are wonderful to see and after 2 years of being apart, it was one of the first opportunities to come back together. The performance skills of the pupils who were involved in the concert were brilliant, we were all so proud!”
“Students grew in confidence throughout the year, some were able to get up and suggest ideas/stand at the front by the end of the year, something they weren’t able to do in September. Some of our students communicate through song. This helps them with their communication.”
“Pupils from the school were willing to be right at the front of the town hall stage for the final concert and perform solos with microphones. This was not only done because of any expectation but because they really wanted to be involved in the performance and I was blown away by the confidence they had to express themselves to the audience and communicate the sheer enjoyment and passion they had for the music. It was also wonderful to see them working with professionals who they’ve never met before. Pupils have also been willing to share what they have been doing in the school in assemblies.”
“On the day of the Music of Life concert in Town Hall pupils were put in a situation where they had to behave appropriately in a public area. Pupils spoke to unfamiliar adults and children and conversed at different points throughout the day about their experiences. This has been amazing and it fits perfectly with out therapeutic approach to teaching”.