Inclusive Music Making

Inclusive Music Making

Sutton Music Service’s continued work with Open Orchestra is a vital part of our commitment to inclusion and meeting our core role of providing opportunities for young people to play in ensembles and perform from an early stage. The Sherwood Park Open Orchestra project gives pupils with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) the opportunity to be part of a truly inclusive orchestra.


On Friday 20th May, Claire Cossins, Senior Instrumental Curriculum Leader and Music SEND specialist for Sutton Music Service, presented at Open Orchestras Summer Conference, sharing her expertise in making music with children with PMLD. The event took place over Zoom and featured presenters from other Open Orchestra projects in schools up and down the country.


This event was the second time Claire has represented Sutton Music Service and Cognus at an Open Orchestra conference. She was able to share tips, ideas and insights into making delivery truly bespoke and ensure every child is included and therefore able to make music. The Summer Conference concluded with the Middlesbrough Town Hall Open Orchestra ‘takeover’ session featuring streamed performances of their music and a live Q&A session.

Every Wednesday, Claire visits Sherwood Park School in Wallington and works alongside a dedicated staff member to lead the sessions. The pupils (and their support/nurses) follow a regular structure of a hello song, sensory, playing their chosen piece of music as well as music games. This multi-sensory approach allows pupils with limited mobility to still experience the music and gain some understanding of its structure.

Every child in the Open Orchestra is given the opportunity to make music, which is achieved using and adapting traditional musical instruments and fully embracing technology. Whether the musicians play constantly or once every ten minutes, their contributions are valuable and a joy to witness. We are looking forward to starting our third year of Open Orchestra at Sherwood Park School in September!

#makemusicwithus #cognusandproud