The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools, Lord Nash, praised the inclusion practices of the In Harmony scheme during a debate at the House of Lords on 30 July.

Lord Nash’s comments were made as a response to a question by Lord Lipsey, chair of the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, about the steps taken by Her Majesty’s Government to encourage music education for children with physical disabilities.

“In Harmony is transforming the lives of children through community-based orchestras for music-making in six areas of exceptional deprivation

[…] we are aware of excellent inclusion practices,” said Lord Nash.

“In a participating Nottingham school, a child with muscular dystrophy has had a half-size guitar adapted so that it can be tuned to the correct pitch, enabling her to carry out pizzicato alongside her classmates. In Newcastle, In Harmony has helped a child with a very severe speech disability to excel on bassoon. He has performed solo at Newcastle’s Literary & Philosophical Society and is now attending the Sage Gateshead centre for advanced training,” added the Parliamentary Under-Secretary.

Later, addressing comments about the benefits of music as therapy and its ability to break down barriers, Lord Nash said: “This is evident in the work of programmes funded by the department. In Cambridgeshire, there is an established music therapy programme providing clinical interventions, while Telford and Wrekin’s In Harmony programme has a specialist nurture group.”

In Harmony founder and Sistema England chair Julian Lloyd Webber said: “We are very pleased to see this recognition of all the hard work that the In Harmony programmes are doing to bring positive change to the lives of children across England. We are hopeful that this will lead to expanded and sustained support for Sistema-inspired work in this country so that more children and their communities can benefit from this life-changing programme.”

The In Harmony scheme is part-funded by the Department for Education and Arts Council England through the National Lottery.