Inclusion matters, and let me tell you why.

Inclusion is about more than just disability. But socio-economic status, ethnic background, gender, age and  IT-literacy to name but a few. 

So inclusion matters. I think we would all agree, but what I want to focus on here is the two way street. We all benefit from mixing it up, and not just once in a while.  I recently attended the Hackney Learning Trust’s music education conference, and one of the speakers at the event quoted some interesting research about young people in London. The fact that they do not tend to stray off their patch. In fact they tend to stick to their own. This seems counter intuitive in the melting pot of opportunity that is London but in many ways this is how we cope in a cultural melee. We are, after all, creatures of habit.  

Inclusion and Inclusive

As always music can help, acting as a social lubricant and facilitator of cultural exchange, broadening our horizons.  If we can involve ‘inclusion’ and ‘inclusive’ practice more in our music education programmes then it becomes a natural part of young peoples musical view.

Music is for sharing, and it helps us cross the tracks. (A quick nod to Maceo & the Macks here:


Here is an idea for a  ‘Heineken’  inclusion project that should refresh the parts… well you get the idea.  

I can’t take all the credit here as this idea was originally floated by Brian Keachie of Inverclyde council in Scotland.

The idea

Get young GCSE, and A level music students to do ride-alongs with community musicians or music practitioners engaged in special education music projects.  Aside from the many benefits of engaging with this type of project, young musicians will also get to see how else they can apply their skills as musicians, their ‘trade’ if you will, to make a living and benefit their community.  

Whilst it is still highly likely that we will all become rockstars, jazz legends and virtuoso instrumentalists. It is important for our young musicians to see how music works in the bigger picture. With a broader worldview, and how it can work for them.

It will also help them redefine their view of music. To bring it off the page and see it at work as a living breathing facet of human behaviour. To engage with their own musicality.  It is also extremely likely that they will encounter some novel use of technology and learn how to use some new kit as the application of music technology in this area grows and grows.

It will benefit the Special Education project by providing musical role models or mentors that are culturally relevant to the young people involved.

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