This project is a part of my doctoral research on Music and Disability in the professional music industry. From January to June 2023, I conducted a series of workshops at the Jane-Finch location of Community Music Schools of Toronto (CMST), funded and supported by York University’s Helen Carswell Chair in Community Engaged Research in the Arts. During this process, I worked with groups of diverse number and age of students. The objective was to introduce transformed and adaptive instruments and voice, which allow people with disabilities to perform music, to students of CMST.
The project was very successful and I will work with the school to make sure the workshops can still be offered to the students in the future. The final report can be read on the Helen Carswell Chair’s website (note: the report is in PDF; if you require a different format, feel free to contact me). The website also references a video podcast produced by CMST on the topic of “Accessibility in Music” that can be watched on the CMST YouTube channel, featuring some of my musicians colleagues with disabilities and myself.
This year made me realize that more needs to be done for the inclusion of performers with disabilities in music education and in the music industry. Some organizations such as RAMPD, Tangled Arts, or The Disability Collective, are already trying their best to increase visibility of disable artists. I want to join them by creating a new company called ArtsAbly, that will propose a series of services for artistic ensembles (starting with choirs and orchestras), for music educators and music schools (tailoring the workshops to different needs), and for accessibility related training, online and in person. This company will officially be launched sometimes in September. A dedicated post will follow. For now, I am working with graphic designers (with disabilities) to create the company’s visual identity. Stay tuned for more information!