Shining the Spotlight - Soundabout

We are really proud of our members and will jump at every chance to shout about them and their achievements! This is a dedicated place to showcase members and to shine the spotlight on their projects.

This time we're looking at Soundabout

How it works

Soundabout’s mission is that everyone with a severe or profound learning disability can access music as a means of communication We use music to empower and unlock the potential of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, and train teachers, parents and carers to do the same.

Soundabout works across the UK, running specialist group music making sessions in schools and community settings, individual family sessions in the home, and training sessions at schools, colleges and other educational institutions.

Our practice is s built around the use of intensive interaction with music, and underpinned by Sounds of Intent – an assessment framework for the musical abilities of children and young people of all abilities (

What has been achieved?

Soundabout’s recent research report “Sounds of Intent In The Early Years”  revealed how targeted music sessions for children in the early years in area of high deprivation can ‘close the gap’ in terms of meeting their age related expectations, especially for children with complex needs. We were delighted when Tracey Brabin MP, Shadow Minister for the Early Years, recently asked a question in Parliament about plans for music provision in the early years citing our report. 

Soundabout recently launched Oxford’s first Inclusive Choir which we run on a monthly basis, and has really taken off. The purpose of the choir is to build a community around Soundabout’s families, bring people together and remove the barriers to participating in a choir for people with learning disabilities. Earlier this year the BBC released this film about one of our members - a young man called Sam with Downs Syndrome, and the moment he stepped up to do a solo.

Earlier this year we also recently launched our #ShareTheLove campaign which raises awareness of the importance of music as a form of communication especially for people with complex needs. It involved some of the world’s top composers including John Rutter and Dame Evelyn Glennie - please take a look here

Next steps

We are currently able to reach 2,000 people directly through our work, but aiming to double our reach over the coming three years. We are doing this by working strategically with music education hubs to help them deliver inclusive music provision for children with PMLD in their area

In addition, this is in the first year of Building Bridges, a new three year project funded by Youth Music and Global’s Make Some Noise, which will see our music practitioners working directly with individual families to help them strengthen communication with their young children in the early years and when they are ready to leave school or college. The charity is currently working to develop online and hard copies resources to help families to continue to make music with their child between practitioner visits.

Alongside this work, we are working to grow our successful Oxford-based Soundabout Inclusive Choir and to establish similar choirs in regions across England.

Finally, the charity’s Sounds Wild sessions combine music and nature to inspire and instil a sense of wonder and appreciation of the natural environment for pupils with special needs. We encourage and provide opportunities for creating child-led multi-sensory music making experiences in outdoor environments. We are working to secure the funding to be able to deliver these sessions more widely across England.









More information


Twitter: @soundaboutuk

Facebook: @soundaboutuk