Just The Tonic with Katie Derham


A Level Playing Field? with Charles Hazlewood

Season 1, Ep. 5

The People's Orchestra open their doors to anyone in the West Midlands who wants play in their orchestras or sing in their show choirs. Being inclusive is part of their DNA.


There are around 11 million people with a disability in the UK - that's over a fifth of the population - but they are hugely under-represented in the music industry and in music education. So, are we ignoring many talented musicians who don't fit the standard mould?


Disabled musicians face challenges like finding and buying the right instrument, accessing lessons and finding opportunities to perform. There are still concert halls in the UK where a musician in a wheelchair can't access the stage.


Strictly Come Dancing's first deaf contestant, actor Rose Ayling-Ellis is changing perceptions around deaf performers and British Sign Language.


How can we make the music industry a more level playing field for disabled musicians?


Katie finds out when she chats to Klara Filip from The People's Orchestra; Andy Sandham founder member of The People's Orchestra and music teacher in Birmingham; and acclaimed musician and conductor, Charles Hazlewood, founder of Paraorchestra, the world's first fully integrated orchestra of professional disabled and non-disabled musicians.





More Episodes


Inspirational Music Educators with Nicola Benedetti

Season 1, Ep. 6
Katie Derham explores how music education for children can be Just The Tonic. She finds out from Nicola Benedetti how music-making can help young people learn all sorts of life skills. Nicola has long been a champion of making music lessons widely available and, through her Benedetti Foundation, provided a lifeline for young musicians during the pandemic. The enormous benefits of giving children a good music education are well-recognised. Neavan Lobban, twenty-two-year-old principal conductor with The People's Orchestra attended a state school that specialised in music education. He firmly believes that instrumental lessons should be provided free of charge. Sistema Scotland's Big Noise projects have been helping young people in deprived communities in Scotland for a number of years, providing music lessons at no cost. Based on the renowned El Sistema system in Venezuela, their motto is social change through music. Senior musician Jo Ashcroft has worked at the Big Noise project in Raploch, Stirling for many years and she's seen first-hand how children who attend music lessons regularly do better at school. Symone and Scott Hutchison are living proof! They've been attending Big Noise lessons since primary school and now they're on course for a career in music. There are many ways in which making music can have a lasting impact on young people's lives. Find out more when Katie meets inspirational music educators in this week's Just The Tonic.