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Bristol-based arts organisation OpenUp Music was originally founded in 2007 as the MUSE project, and relaunched under its current name in 2014. With Youth Music’s support, OpenUp has helped to transform accessible music-making for young disabled people nationwide with its groundbreaking ‘Open Orchestras’ programme.

Barry Farrimond, OpenUp’s Chief Executive and Technical Director, spoke to us about how Youth Music has supported the organisation over the years.

A powerful testimony that national education policy makers should hear.

I’ve been working a lot recently on problems; not challenges; problems. Things that need fixing. Take, for example, the fact that there are a great deal of opportunities for young people to make music and realise their musical potential. On the matrix of music (don’t ask me to draw it, please) they range from the super-formal, to the mega-zany and include lots of examples of stuff that is in more than one place on the continuum at the same time (which is why I don’t want to draw it). One very significant problem is that there is next to nothing for musically-inclined young people (yeah, I know they pretty much all are) who have a special educational need and/or are disabled. Sure, there is some stuff. Some organisations do really good stuff. But, on the grand scheme of things, it’s just stuff. If the funding stops, so does the stuff.