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I Can Play!

East Riding Project Manager and session leader Mark Howley working with a young Ukulele player

Danny Lane leads training for local music teachers at NCEM

Music4U and Danny Lane on the NDCS Listening Bus

"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 across York, the East Riding of Yorkshire and Hull. It is a collaborative project run as part of the National Centre for Early Music's  Music4U  programme, in partnership with Music & the Deaf, regional Music Hubs and Centres and York Deaf & Hearing Support Service. This project builds on a long-term 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.

York I Can Play! activities are at a really exciting point in their development, after a fantastic launch event that took place at Lollipop in York, in collaboration with Music and the Deaf, York Music Forum, York Music Hub and York Deaf and Hearing Support. Regular sessions are now being held at York Music Forum, a lively and dynamic group of high-quality music ensembles for young people, who have now welcomed the I Can Play! project into their delivery. Music and the Deaf continue to lead these fantastic sessions with a wide range of musical activities and opportunities on offer, for children and young people to get involved with. 

East Riding
Check out some of the I Can Play! activity that has been taking place in the East Riding below. This project has taken a more schools focused approach, which has benefited many children and young people, who ordinarily find the rural area they live in a barrier to music making opportunities. Some of the I Can Play participants were recently invited to go and see Let's Rock at Bridlington Spa, one of our other Music4U projects happening over in the East Riding, supporting young people to perform pop and rock music as solo artists and in bands. Mark, who manages the East Riding I Can Play strand has plans to incorporate the I Can Play group into Let's Rock in the very near future! 

I Can Play! is set to return to Hull this Spring, with exciting plans and conversations underway with Hull City Council, Hull Music Hub and Music Service. If you know someone who might benefit from this project then do keep your eyes peeled for info that will be announced here and on our social media very soon. 

If you'd like to find out about any of our events and sessions across East Riding, York and Hull then please don't hesitate to drop an email to Learning and Participation Manager, Lottie Brook on

Our aims for I Can Play
Through this 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 their local area;
  • 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. The next CPD session taking place will be for the East Riding Music Education Hub in January, led by Music and the Deaf CEO and practitioner Danny Lane. Through this CPD we will connect musicians and teachers with deaf musicians and music leaders, so they can understand more about the training and support that is available to develop their skills in this area. Subsequently, this will develop knowledge and create awareness of the potential barriers that exist for deaf children and young people beginning and continuing their musical journey. I Can Play! hopes to develop new partnerships and connections with families, teachers and carers of deaf children and young people, so that they will have better access to solid communication pathways to encourage and sustain engagement with music making.

I Can Play! is supported by the National Foundation for Youth Music, as part of the Music4U programme.