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Project information

The Music Man Project in Africa

We want to deliver music workshops and donate musical instruments to disabled children in care in African countries. We want to inspire schools and communities that do not have access to the musical activities, opportunities and resources currently enjoyed by their British counterparts.

January 2016 - October 2016

Charity information: Southend Mencap

Southend Mencap logo
  • Need


    Children with learning disabilities in residential care in African countries don't have access to adequate wheelchairs, let alone any musical resources or opportunities to enjoy the tremendous benefits of music. Comparatively, their British counterparts enjoy far more opportunity and equal access because of our relative affluence. Our chosen residential school in South Africa doesn't even have a pair of drum sticks, yet our own UK students recently performed to 1000s at the London Palladium!


    The Music Man Project will deliver workshops to schools and care homes during our 10 day visit. We will donate instruments, teaching materials and resources, with the long-term aim of establishing an ongoing international relationship. We want to understand the additional challenges faced by people with disabilities in Africa and to support a growth in the musical resources and opportunities available to them. What impact could our kind of musical enrichment have on children in care there?

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To provide musical enjoyment and enrichment for children with learning disabilities in South Africa.


    » Donate a range of new instruments and resources for the children to use, including a drum kit and PA system.
    » Deliver live music workshops to the children. This will include singing and playing the newly donated instruments.

    What success will look like

    As demonstrated through video evidence, feedback from staff and our project evaluation report. We hope residents will take part in the workshops with enthusiasm and enjoyment.

    Aim 2

    To train and support teachers in South African Care Homes and Schools.


    » Provide teaching resources, instruments, schemes of work, backing tracks and strategies for the non-music-specialist teachers to use after our visit.
    » To provide model lessons for the South African teachers to observe and email mentoring support after the visit.

    What success will look like

    Success will be ongoing communication from the schools, demand for mentoring from teachers, future exchange visits and a notable increase in musical activities after our visit.

    Aim 3

    To establish a model that can be replicate in other parts of the continent and world.


    » Evaluate the project and produce a report to help other organisations and improve the effectiveness of future projects.
    » Send the outcomes to the International Society of Music Education, the Indiana State University in Terre Haute and the Royal College of Music.

    What success will look like

    We expect other visits to different regions to follow. This will contribute to research at the Royal College of Music through a Music Man tutor who is studying for a PhD there.

  • Impact


    The opening up of opportunities for people with learning disabilities to demonstrate their unique musicality. Currently this is very restricted and there is no equality. Music for the learning disabled is often considered only as Music Therapy. Our work shows that fun music education is equally applicable to these people as to the "mainstream". Success will be demonstrated by performances in world famous venues around the world, just like we achieved at the London Palladium in the UK.


    Our tutors could become unavailable for the visit: We have dealt with this by arranging back-up musicians on standby who could take their place. Power could go down at the residential care home (a frequent occurrence): We have dealt with this by finding a digital piano powered by batteries. Staff in South Africa could be difficult to communicate with: We have dealt with this by linking with a school with 2 English-speaking teachers who are known to us and who now volunteer in South Africa school


    Formal written report, photos and videos. A dedicated page on our website and regular blogs and news statuses on social media.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £7,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £3,000 Travel Cost Flights to South Africa for 3 tutors
      £2,000 Instruments Donated drum kit, keyboards, percussion instruments
      £1,500 Music Workshops Holding 5 workshops across care homes in schools during 10 days
      £500 Admin Organisation of trip, communciation with staff in South Africa, reporting, online presence

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Rod Smith (Clyde's) £100 Guaranteed
    NJ & S Hooks £300 Guaranteed
    Waitrose Leigh on Sea £528 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Our project will take us to visit Sizanani Children's Home, Bronkhorstspruit in the province of Gauteng, South Africa. It is an hours drive from Johannesburg airport. The home has 49 children and then in a nearby township there is a home for 11 girls. In addition to these residential facilities there are also three day-care centres in the surrounding townships, each catering to 15 children on a daily basis. We will deliver workshops and donate instruments to all these locations during the 10 days


    Children with moderate to profound disabilities. The age range is 5 - 39 because of the classification of children in these institutions. The area is poor and often without electricity. There is one wheelchair per 20 residents.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Music Man Project is the UK’s first full-time music service specifically for children and adults with learning disabilities. Our specialist teaching, training and original resources have been commended by the Prime Minister and described as Outstanding by OFSTED. In 2015 The Music Man Project was shortlisted for the final of the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence, recorded its own charity single, released an e-book and performed in its West End debut at the London Palladium.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    David Stanley MMus BMus PGCE NPQH, Founder, Director

    As founder of the Music Man organisation, David Stanley is the project director and lead tutor. He will lead delivery, organisation and fundraising.

    Jenny Hitchcock, Regional Director

    Jenny is a regional director for The Music Man and will visit the care home as lead vocalist, lyricist and co-tutor for the workshops.

    Natalie Bradford BSc (Hons) BA (Hons) MMus, Regional Director

    Natalie is a regional director for The Music Man and will the case home as violinist and co-tutor. She is fundraising and helping with organisation.

    Marc McOwens, General Manager, Southen Mencap

    Marc is responsible for finance and administration as General Manager for Southend Mencap, the charity which runs Music Man and all our activities.

Truly Inspirational

Derek Lewis, Chair of Royal Mencap