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I Can Play!

Danny Lane leads training for local music teachers at NCEM

Music4U and Danny Lane on the NDCS Listening Bus

Music4U supports a young drummer from Sirius Academy IPaSS Unit

"Hearing loss shouldn't be a barrier to enjoying and making music. It is proven that participation in music can play a crucial role in a person's development: it promotes inclusivity, teaches young people how to work together, builds confidence, develops communications skills, and provides a vital outlet for self-expression" - Music and the Deaf

I Can Play! is a project that helps deaf children and those with a hearing impairment to access music making opportunities in the City of York. It is a collaborative project run as part of the National Centre for Early Music's Music4U programme, in partnership with Music & the Deaf, York Music Hub and York Deaf & Hearing Support Service. This project builds on a four-year programme of research and development activity, investigating the levels of provision and barriers to making music for deaf children and young people in the Music4U region, and exploring ways of enabling greater participation.

I Can Play! has grown from this R&D and aims to develop routes through which deaf young people can access the wealth of opportunities to learn to play an instrument that exist in York. During this 7-month progression project, deaf children and young people will have the opportunity to:
  • Try out instruments and participate in music-making activities and workshops;
  • Find out about the opportunities to access instrumental learning and music-making in York;
  • Meet instrumental tutors and increase their knowledge and confidence about making music;
  • Be introduced to role models in the music-making community, including professional deaf musicians and music leaders;
  • Participate and perform through music workshops and sharing events;
  • Share the experience with their families, teachers and carers, who will also develop their knowledge and confidence around accessing music-making opportunities.

Music4U understands the need to also support professionals, ensuring they have the confidence and skills to provide excellence in teaching deaf young people. Through the I Can Play! project, local music teachers and community musicians will:
  • Have the opportunity to take part in training and shadowing activities in order to develop their knowledge, skills and confidence in working with deaf children and young people;
  • Connect with deaf musicians and music leaders, and understand more about the training and support that is available to develop their skills in this area;
  • Develop their knowledge of the potential as well as the barriers that exist regarding deaf children and young people beginning and continuing their musical journey;
  • Support deaf children and young people to access the range of instrumental learning opportunities that exist;
  • Develop new partnerships and connections with families, teachers and carers of deaf children and young people and have access to better communication pathways to encourage and sustain engagement with music making among deaf children and young people.

So far in 2017, we have:
  • Delivered a training event at the National Centre for Early Music for instrumental teachers and music leaders, providing them with expert guidance from Music and the Deaf's Danny Lane, developing their skills and building their confidence in helping deaf children and those with hearing loss to explore and enjoy playing music;
  • Delivered a music workshop for deaf children in the city, in which they worked with professional deaf musicians Danny Lane and Ruth Montgomery, alongside instrumental teachers from York. The children had a fantastic time and had a go at playing several instruments, from the flute to ukulele, and even learnt to read music - all in the space of 2.5 hours!
  • Begun to support attendance for deaf young people at regular Saturday music sessions at York Music Centre, through Open Day tasters and ongoing discussion regarding access support needs.
  • Welcomed Music and the Deaf back to York on Monday 15 May 2017, for a special Music Inspiration Day, as part of Deaf Awareness Week. Children ranging from pre-school to secondary age had the opportunity to experience and take part in an array of music making activities at Hempland Primary and Archbishop Holgate Schools.

Next steps:
  • Further developing links to ongoing provision via York Music Centre, through an Open Day taster session 9.30am-1pm on Saturday 23rd September 2017, and via continued consultation between project partners and local families and young people.
  • Music leaders who wish to improve their awareness of the needs of deaf children and young people are invited to sign up for the York City Council Deaf and Hearing Support Team training day. The training will take place on Monday 9th October all day at York Customer Centre City of York Council, West Offices, Station Rise, York YO1 6GA. Places can be booked through the Workforce Development unit at

I Can Play! Is supported by the National Foundation for Youth Music, as part of the Music4U programme. For more information or to get involved in this project, please contact Project Manager Emily Penn