The OHMI Trust

The OHMI Trust

At a glance

Causes

  • Arts

Other details

Organisation type: 
Charity
Geographical remit: 
National - Britain

Objectives

Any impairment in an upper limb makes most musical instruments unplayable to any reasonable standard. As a result, thousands are excluded from music-making or from realising their musical potential. The OHMI Trust strives for full, undifferentiated, participation in musical life for disabled people through the creation and provision of adapted musical instruments and enabling apparatus. For more information about our work please see www.ohmi.org.uk.  

Activities

Our Programmes

Instrument development & hire scheme

Since its inception, OHMI has run an international competition to encourage the design of instruments that can be played without the use of one hand or arm. This competition has resulted in the design of one-handed saxophones, clarinets, flutes, bagpipes, recorders of many sizes and so much more. As well as fully-functioning instruments, the competition has categories for design concepts (ideas that could evolve into fully-functioning instruments) and enabling equipment (e.g. stands to support the weight of an instrument).

Delivering fully-functioning instruments is important. OHMI is not about supporting people only to play at the most basic level of music-making, being forced to give up when their instrument runs out of usefulness. We want to provide instruments that enable people with physical disabilities to participate fully in music-making, from beginner steps up to professional careers.

OHMI runs a hire scheme, enabling players, schools and music hubs to hire specialist instruments and equipment rather than having to purchase them straight off, without knowing whether the player will take to the instrument or prefer something else instead.

Research

The OHMI Research Partnership (ORP) was established in 2019 to foster links between the Trust and academic institutions. The partnership links OHMI with researchers at Imperial College London, Birmingham City University and Queen Mary University of London.

In the field of instrument design, the partnership explores the use of digital technology and the applicability of different materials for building instruments.

In the field of music education, the partners look at a range of issues, including teaching techniques for adapted instruments, pedagogic approaches in mixed ability classrooms and how to remove barriers to music education for those with physical disabilities.

In addition, the ORP looks at the development of government policy and seeks to influence this to ensure better inclusion of people with physical disabilities in the world of music-making.

Music lessons

Through our OHMI Music-Makers schemes, we support over 1080 individual and whole class music lessons a year for children and young people aged 5-25 with a range of disabilities, requiring specialist equipment.

We work directly with six music services, to support their First Access whole class instrumental lessons, ensuring that students who need it can access specialist adapted instruments and support equipment, enabling them to participate fully in the lessons. Beyond First Access, we subsidise the cost of music lessons for students learning with adapted instruments. This recognises both the additional lesson time that can be taken while the teacher gets to grips with an adapted instrument, and the value to OHMI of road-testing our instruments against standard curriculum and syllabus materials.

Teacher Training

We offer a range of professional development opportunities for music, education, and health professionals.  This training is built on years of experience of working to enable those with physical disabilities to participate in music-making. Collaborating with individuals with physical impairments means dealing on a daily basis with unique situations and supporting children and adults with a range of physical conditions to flourish in their music-making journey. 

Throughout the year, there are opportunities for individuals and organisations to participate in and commission workshops, talks and host information stands.  These opportunities also provide opportunities for networking with others who are working in the field and keep up to date with the innovative equipment and practices that are available.

Our Professional Development programme supports career-wide development and learning, providing teachers with the opportunity to enrich their professional knowledge, expand their professional expertise and explore new options as they come into the market.

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