On September 7th and 8th 2018, the OHMI Trust, in collaboration with Birmingham City University and Queen Mary University of London, will host a major conference exploring the barriers to music-making faced by people with physical disabilities. The event will also encompass the annual OHMI Competition awards.

The conference will bring together current multi-disciplinary research with, among others, the experiences of disabled musicians, teachers, charities, funders, and government agencies. Recently developed instrument designs will also be demonstrated.

The event will also encompass the 6th annual OHMI Competition Awards. Entrants from across the globe are challenged to develop instruments that can be played without the use of one hand and arm. Successful designs are then used to make instruments playable for a range of disabilities.

The Conference invites abstract submissions on a range of technical, musical, aesthetic, pedagogic, social and medical issues. All selected abstracts will be published in the conference programme.

The Competition will be open for entries between 1st June – 30th June 2018. Details including all the categories and rules can be found at: https://www.ohmi.org.uk/competition-darr.html

The challenge to enable full and undifferentiated participation in music for people with physical disabilities is a subject only recently receiving attention. It is hoped that sharing knowledge through this conference will stimulate further and more rapid developments in the coming years. Tickets are available to purchase here.

About the OHMI Trust

The OHMI Trust was founded by Dr Stephen Hetherington MBE, after his own hemiplegic daughter, Amy, alerted him to the lack of instruments available to disabled musicians. In 2011 he and Martin Dyke, set-up the charity with the stated objective to remove the barriers to music-making faced by the physically disabled; an objective to be achieved through the development and production of suitable musical instruments. OHMI’s instruments are sourced primarily through the annual OHMI Competition.

Other than the previous winners of the OHMI Competition there are virtually no orchestral instruments that can be played without two fully functioning hands and arms. The challenge of the competition is to create or adapt instruments so they can be played without the use of one hand and arm and without limiting their potential for virtuosity. The winning technical solutions can then be reworked for a variety of physical disabilities.

The instruments and equipment OHMI has acquired can be seen on their website: https://www.ohmi.org.uk/

They include many of the brass family, flutes, a clarinet, saxophones, a recorder, a guitar, and even bagpipes! As the instruments become available, the OHMI Trust takes these award-winning designs and collaborates with Music Education Hubs, schools and colleges to teach them through its Music Makers programme. This really does enable people with physical disabilities to participate fully in making-music, whether in school, as active amateurs or virtuoso professionals.

Details about the Competition can be found at:

Information about the Conference can be found at: