Music of Life provides over 600 individual music lessons per year for children and young people aged 7-25 with a wide range of disabilities. We carefully match our students with highly-qualified teachers and monitor their progress closely through our evaluation programme.
In addition to lessons, our support includes provision of professional accompanists, contribution to the cost of instruments, music software, subscriptions to specialist music & academic resources, exam fees, adapted transport and access costs.
Music of Life aims to introduce a growing number of highly regarded, experienced teachers to working with disabled students and offers support and guidance to those who are new to it.
In addition to lessons, we offer performing opportunities both at our own events and through placements with external performing groups.
Imagine, you are a parent of a child who is in a wheelchair, or is autistic, or blind, or deaf, or is suffering from a genetic condition. You are a parent who is struggling, because raising a child with disability is on average 5 times more expensive than a non-disable child, you may be unable to work because you have to care for your child 24/7; you may be disabled yourself. You can’t afford music lessons. They are expensive. Good teachers are hard to find. Taking your child to lessons is not an option, it’s too difficult.
And imagine, your child is given a chance to learn an instrument or learn to sing. A knowledgeable, experienced, enthusiastic teacher arrives into their life, and you see you child begins to flourish. The lessons are arranged around your requirements – it can be home visits or school, or whatever works for you. The lessons are free, regular and rigorously monitored and evaluated to make sure the student, parents and teacher are all doing well together.
And very soon you begin to see how much these lessons bring into your child’s and your own life in addition to the musical skills they are learning. Things we hear from parents most often are not about music – we have our teachers to report in that area. They are about improved medical conditions – like speech development in previously non-verbal children; expanded lung capacity, which is crucial for wheelchair users; better coordination in children with dyspraxia and motor disorders; easing of depression and phobias. We hear how autistic children find it easier to cope with new environments, how teenagers who used to behave aggressively and self-harm are learning to channel their emotions into creativity and become keen and enthusiastic band members.
We always follow the student’s personal musical preferences, so our individual projects range from basic drumming to learning a classical instrument to a professional level and from sound-mixing and music technology to composition.
And now a question! As a parent of a child who has been given such opportunity, what would you think would be a reasonable length of time for them to keep their lessons going? A term? A year? Two years? We all know that if we find a really good teacher we want to stay with them for as long as we need them, and that’s our answer. We are a small charity, but we need to grow, because this is what we say to our students: we’ll be with you for as long as you need us. Some students stay with us for 3, 5 or even 8 years. And we are saying this to all the students we take on, so any new student we are taking is not replacing someone from last year, they add up. So, we need to raise more money each year to sustain our promise to all of them.
I just had to write to tell you how fantastic Amy is with Martha. My daughter’s confidence has never been so much nurtured… She is attempting things and taking more risks…the lessons, the opportunity to perform, and all that this entails, have had a positive effect on how she feels about herself. Various professionals say she can sing, it’s a good boost.
– mother of a Music of Life beneficiary who has a visual impairment and autism and has been receiving singing lessons with a Music of Life teacher for 2 years
“Kali has made massive improvements. Initially she would find anything in the room distracting, try and draw staff into unrelated conversations, damage instruments, draw on things etc. Now we are able to do up to 1 hour and 20 minutes of focused work! I use her attempts at distractions as inspiration for our composition. That way she isn’t really rebelling, but rather being creative.”
– teacher of a 15-year-old beneficiary with a learning disorder, behavioural and emotional difficulties.
“I often wonder where my son would have ended up without his music lessons… He is so proud he can play guitar and drums and is always up to something with his teacher. He used to be restless and withdrawn at home, now he often wants to play to us what he learnt in the lesson”
– parent of a 14-year-old beneficiary with an autistic spectrum disorder
If you would like to refer a potential student or teach for Music of Life please email Maria Teterina, CEO, on firstname.lastname@example.org