Home News Equality, diversity and inclusion in music education with Mandy
Posted on: 9 January, 2023

Equality, diversity and inclusion in music education with Mandy

Mandy Sangiuseppe joined the Kent Music Hub team at the end of November 2022 as our Inclusion Development Manager. She’s already making waves in supporting diversity, equity and inclusion in music education in the county!

Mandy tells us about her recent experience at Bower Grove foundation day special school with Open Orchestras in December 2022.

“I’m excited to be a part of the Kent Music team. I look forward to working closely with the team to develop our inclusive working and practice and supporting joined-up music education in and out of schools. We want to make music accessible to all young people!

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Bower Grove Open Orchestra performance at the end of term festive assembly. The school is designated for pupils with learning difficulties, and SEMH needs. Many pupils also have Autism Spectrum Conditions and communication difficulties or ADHD.

The whole atmosphere that morning was a hub of joyful musical excitement. The students dazzled with singing, dancing, group and solo performances. Everyone in the assembly hall fully embraced and supported the Open Orchestra performance.

Toby, creative curriculum lead at Bower Grove says:

“We’re only a term and a bit into starting the Open Orchestra but already we can see how much this opportunity has allowed these pupils to develop as performers both individually and as an ensemble. It’s clear that this experience has also nurtured their passion for music outside of the Open Orchestra sessions and hopefully they’re developing a hobby for life.

If you get the opportunity to start an Open Orchestra in your school, then do it and throw yourself into it. It’s certainly already been a hugely positive experience for us as leaders, the pupils themselves and the audiences that we’ve performed to so far.”

What these young people participating in the weekly sessions have achieved in such a short space of time is something to be truly proud of. It couldn’t have been achieved without the guidance of Bower Grove Creative Curriculum lead Toby Stark, experienced Kent Music practitioner Josh Magill, and of course the students’ own hard work.

Josh Magill, Kent Music tutor and Open Orchestra creative practitioner, says:

“It is clear that the Open Orchestra is allowing these students to access music in a unique way, combining individual growth with comradery within the ensemble setting. We are only five weeks into our Orchestra and have already performed in front of the whole school which has allowed confidence and pride to further the student’s enthusiasm to carry on and continue to develop. So far, the overall experience has been extremely positive and I’m sure this will only continue”

I am excited to see how these young people will continue to grow in confidence, develop on their musical experiences and practice, and thrive with opportunities.

Open Orchestras is behind the largest community of inclusive ensembles in the UK, in partnership with Music Education Hubs and special schools
. With their award-winning programme, learning an instrument and playing with others independently, expressively and in real time becomes accessible to all young disabled people.

Find out more about Open Orchestras in their video below:

If you would like to find out more about ‘Open Orchestras’ and how it can support inclusion in your setting, or visit an active session in Kent to learn more, please get in touch: inclusion@kent-music.com or call 01622 358418.

Resources and tips for Inclusion and Accessibility in Music Education: