Have you ever heard of the National Open Youth Orchestra? I hadn’t. Until yesterday. I was listening to a work by the computer Alexander Campkin, a name new to me as well, so I looked him up and learned about this group. Direct from the YouTube page is an explanation of the group:

The National Open Youth Orchestra is the world’s first disabled-led national youth ensemble. It’s a pioneering orchestra where 11-25 year-old talented young disabled musicians and non-disabled musicians rehearse and perform together.

And I’m so very moved and uplifted. So many get told they can’t play an instrument because of a disability. I had a student that, had her parents told me about her issue prior to teaching, I would have turned away (shame on me!). I just didn’t see how she could manage an embouchure when I first met her, but not willing to say something when she arrived at my door we just began lessons. (Never did her parents tell me anything about it, and only when she was with me for a number of years did I feel she and I were comfortable enough with each other to talk about it.)

That student ended up being a very good oboist. Her disability didn’t hinder her … she just formed her embouchure a bit differently.

Don’t tell a student they can’t do something until you know it is absolutely impossible. Even then, perhaps don’t say it: let them figure things out! Young people can do amazing things!

Here the composer talks about his own situation and the work:

And here is the work:

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