Music of Life provides music lessons, performing opportunities and group workshops for children and young people with disabilities and special needs

We are passionate about the power of music to help children and young people to flourish and believe that disabled children should have those opportunities too. However, schools can lack the expertise to run fully interactive and integrated workshops for children with disabilities and orchestras and other performance groups are often not very diverse. Families can find it difficult to find musicians who are confident and experienced in working with disabled children and also struggle financially and with issues such as organising appropriate transport.

Music of Life works with children and young people with a wide range of disabilities and special needs on a long-term basis, aiming to improve their quality of life through music. We use regular engagement of our beneficiaries in high-quality musical activities as a proven method to support their education, help them achieve recognised qualifications, improve their chances of employment, raise their expectations of life, boost their confidence and social skills and make positive changes to their medical conditions.

Music of Life changes perception of disability amongst professional musicians, music groups and organisations by enabling them to work closely with our beneficiaries and overcome the barriers of uncertainty, fear and misconception that often are caused by lack of practical experience of working with someone who has a disability.            

Maria Teterina CEO with a group of Music of Life students
Maria Teterina, CEO, with a group of Music of Life beneficiaries after the concert in Temple Church, London  

Latest news

Music of Life is currently looking for new trustees. If you are interested in finding out more about the opportunity to join our Board and become a trustee of a small and focused charity dedicated to providing high-quality services to its beneficiaries in the long term, please use the link above to download additional information. 

Music of Life has been taking part in the Royal Parks Half Marathon
for 2 consecutive years. Both times our teams of just under 20 runners managed to raise amazing £16-20K for the charity. This year we are recruiting runners again for the race that is taking place on Sunday 11 October 2015. If you are a keen runner and would like to sign up for the race, please get in touch! 
(Click here for further information on how to get involved in Royal Parks Half Marathon).

We look forward to our Summer term's Children's Concerts - the opportunity to perform for children of all ages and abilities! Come along to our next concert on the 16th May or sign up to play in our Children's Concert on the 21st June!

We are also updating our website and will be launching a new site in the autumn. If there is anything that you would like to see in particular, please let us know by sending an email to mofl@mofl.co.uk
This short film about Music of Life was made a long time ago. Many of the young people featured in it have gone on to live busy professional lives, both as professional and amateur musicians. Some have become successful teachers who mentor disabled and non-disabled students as part of their careers. We hope watching them at the very beginning of their journey will inspire more people to try and knock down barriers that limit involvement of disabled people in music-making. 

Schools workshops



We place our highly-qualified music tutors in schools for children with disabilities and special needs to run motivational singing workshops. Our aim is to help schools continue to run these workshops themselves once our programme of work finishes so that pupils up and down the country can benefit from our inclusive approach to engaging disabled students with music. Sometimes, we also find pupils who we can support through our individual music lessons.

Our workshops are long-term projects the benefit many children with special needs, especially those who face isolation, social deprivation and have low self-esteem. Each school or disability organisation takes part in our programme of workshops for around two years’ continuously working alongside professional singers, to cultivate the children’s abilities and skills, encouraging them to be ambitious about their future. 

In addition, smaller groups of the most talented students are offered further training in separate, more frequent sessions. These groups work on specific elements such as breathing and singing techniques.  

"Some students have sensory difficulties – they are overcoming them in this setting. They are communicating through music and producing something together." (Teacher)

"I found out I was brave like taking part with the singers, and say what I feel." (Student)

We're always happy to discuss ways we can collaborate. Please email Maria Teterina, CEO, on mofl@mofl.co.uk to enquire about us running a workshop in your school.

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Music lessons


Individual lessons with Music of Life tutor

Individual music training is at heart of everything we do. Music of Life provides over 400 individual music lessons per year for children and young people aged 7-25 with a wide range of disabilities. We carefully match our students with highly-qualified teachers who deliver weekly or bi-weekly lessons at students’ homes, schools or music studios and monitor their progress closely through our evaluation programme.

In addition to lessons, our support includes provision of professional accompanists, contribution to the cost of instruments, music software, subscriptions to specialist music & academic resources, exam fees, adapted transport and access costs.

Music of Life aims to introduce a growing number of highly regarded, experienced teachers to working with disabled students and offers support and guidance to those who are new to it. 

In addition to lessons, we offer performing opportunities both at our own events and through placements with external performing groups. 

I just had to write to tell you how fantastic Amy is with Martha. My daughter's confidence has never been so much nurtured... She is attempting things and taking more risks…the lessons, the opportunity to perform, and all that this entails, have had a positive effect on how (she) feels about herself. Various professionals say she can sing, it’s a good boost.”

(Mother of a Music of Life beneficiary who has a visual impairment and autism and has been receiving singing lessons with a Music of Life teacher for 2 years)

If you would like to refer a potential student or teach for Music of Life please email Maria Teterina, CEO, on mofl@mofl.co.uk


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Children's Concerts Spring and Summer 2015



At Music of Life we recognise that it can be very difficult for families with disabled children to find opportunities for them to perform. Many venues are inaccessible, travel is costly and suitable occasions are rare. The Children's Concerts organised by a small and dedicated group of professional musicians and teachers, inspired and led by Music of Life's CEO Maria Teterina, provide our beneficiaries with regular opportunities to perform in public concerts alongside able-bodied children and professional musicians in a family-friendly atmosphere.

In our concerts we welcome any child regardless of age or ability, to share their passion for music with others and enjoy the unique sense of achievement that only a live performance can bring. Children and young people with and without disabilities perform together and professional musicians are taking part as accompanists and to end each concert with a fine (and fun!) selection of classical music.


Concerts are held twice a term at an accessible venue in Central London near Baker Street. Forthcoming concert dates are:


Saturday 16 May

Sunday 21 June (applications closing date 5 June)

All concerts start at 13.30, approximate duration 2 hours without a break.

Venue: The Theatre, Rudolf Steiner House, 35 Park Road, London NW1 6XT

Each concert stages up to 20 individual or ensemble performances. We accommodate the needs of all performers - from little ones playing twinkle-twinkle-little-star with one finger to conservatoire-standard players and anything in between!  

What is so special about our concerts?
 •  any child regardless of age or ability can share their passion for music with others 
•  children and young people with and without disabilities perform together
 •  there is no selection process, no membership fees to pay
 •  the application process is quick and easy
 •  we do anything and everything to accommodate the needs of any performer
 •  there is no competition, or comparison, just loads of encouragement and support
 •  in the audience, we welcome families with children of any age, including babies.

Places are allocated on a first come first served basis. Closing dates for applications for each concert are shown below. Remember places are limited and so apply early to avoid disappointment.

Spring and summer term 2015 concert dates:
Saturday 16 May
(applications closing date 1 May)
Sunday 21 June
(applications closing date 5 June)

Tickets: £10 adult and £5 child can be purchased on the door (cash only)

Timings: All concerts start at 13.30pm. Approximate duration 2 hours without a break

How to apply
1. Entry is free subject to availability and open to children of any age, instrumentalists or singers, including ensembles. (Please be reasonable and only submit entries for children who will be confident enough to finish their piece)

2. To enter please email to Maria Teterina at mofl@mofl.co.uk and tell us:
 •  your contact email and mobile number
 •  the musician's full name, age, instrument(s) and level
 •  the selection of pieces to be performed with approximate timings
 •  the number of tickets you require
 •  any special / access requirements
 •  whether an accompanist is required (subject to availability and enough notice)

You will receive confirmation of your entry and tickets by email. Nearer the date of the concert you will receive further information about the programme order and rehearsal times.

We look forward to welcoming you to our concerts.

Guildford Choral Society


Through an exclusive collaboration young Music of Life musicians 16+ are able to join the Guildford Choral Society as regular members of the choir and perform in all their concerts at some of the most prestigious venues including Royal Albert Hall, Guildford Cathedral and G-live. They perform with leading UK orchestras and participate fully in the busy life of the choir mastering complex and exciting programmes. 

"To start with, Claire didn’t know where to sit. She was unsure of what to do with her score, but she picked this and many other protocols up with the support of individuals in the choir, along the way, encouraging and showing her the right way to do things. GCS has been the most successful project for Claire so far resulting in increased confidence as well as better understanding of social situations."

Natalia Doran, mother of Claire Doran, Music of Life beneficiary who has been member of GCS for over 5 years. 

The collaboration was acknowledged by the Mayor of Guildford’s Award for Access, in recognition of the effort made to promote and create opportunities for people with disabilities in the Borough of Guildford. 

If you are a parent/ teacher or a young singer with a disability wishing to join the project, please contact Music of Life to find out more about the requirements and your commitment. Email to mofl@mofl.co.uk to find out more.       
                      

Apply to Music of Life


We are always on the look out for:

- Potential beneficiaries 

- Teachers who want to work with individual students

- Workshop leaders for our school projects 

If you would like to refer a potential beneficiary, teach for Music of Life or suggest a school that would benefit from our workshops, then please email to Maria Teterina, CEO, on mofl@mofl.co.uk                
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‘Pupils are generally more enthusiastic towards music as a result of Music of Life workshops... They are much more confident and enthusiastic in lessons, leading to greater participation. Apart from developed skills in singing, listening and memory, pupils have had an insight into the musical world e.g. music as a profession, music as a positive experience.'

Head of Music at Round Oak School, Warwick


Get involved

We help children and young people to realise their musical dreams. But we can't do it without your support. Please get involved with our charity so that more children with disabilities can take centre stage.

Claire Donovan singing at our February Childrens Concert
Claire Doran, who we've been supporting since 2008. 

Our commitment to children and young people like Claire above is for the long-term. We want to be with her at every step of her musical journey so she receives the support she needs to realise her ambition. She was born with a love and talent for music and a passion to make her musical dreams come true.  She was also born on the Autistic spectrum. We've been able to be there for Claire thanks to support such as yours. We'd like to be with her for as long as she needs us to be.

When we first met Claire she would only sing in the shower. Eight years on, she studies with Christine Cairns, professor at Birmingham Conservatoire, sings solos with choirs and orchestras and learns operatic arias in four languages. She travels to rehearsals independently and she smiles all the time!

" I have two mottos: just do it, and take every chance you get. Music of Life has both given me chances and helped me to take them and make them my own. I've not looked back."

Please help us help more musicians like Claire. You can listen to Claire singing here.

The picture is of Claire singing at one of our Children's Concerts - Claire is also with Music of Life for the long-term. She is now inspiring other young musicians and helping them to live their musical dreams.

Music of Life students

The way we work


Performing

Vision


For children and young people with disabilities and special needs to benefit from the
life-changing impact of studying and performing music to the highest standards each person can achieve.

Mission


We do this by: 

•  Providing a range of inclusive and diverse musical activities for all ages and all abilities that, over time, ends in a live performance for an audience  

 •  Providing young people that show exceptional musical talent with bespoke individual support appropriate to their needs and abilities.

Principles


The musical experience offered by Music of Life should always be of the
highest quality, whatever the level of skill of the child or young person.

We believe musical performances in front of audiences are invaluable, empowering and inspiring - a universal tool that equips young people with essential life skills.  

We seek to challenge discrimination and increase the inclusiveness and accessibility of the mainstream music industry. 

Our approach


 •  We specifically chose our music teachers for their skill in teaching pupils with disability. 

 •  We create and facilitate master classes, workshops, concerts and gala events.

 •  We provide individual lessons using our own network of music teachers.

 •  We provide the most outstanding musicians from our programme with long-term support to feature regularly in concerts and further pursue a musical education.

 •  We provide access for young musicians with disability to enjoy making music alongside professional and amateur musicians.

 •  We work in partnership with leading UK music organisations to increase the effectiveness of what we can offer.          

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History


Concerts

Music of Life Foundation was established in 2003 by Maria Teterina, the Russian pianist and a graduate of the Moscow Conservatoire and the Royal Academy of Music. The Foundation provides professional musical training and public performance opportunities for musically gifted children and young people who have a physical disability or special educational needs. 

Maria was inspired by her parents’ charity World of Art Foundation Mir Iskusstva in Russia. It is considered one of the most pioneering artistic and educational schemes and sustainable charitable projects in Russia; since 1997 it has helped over 15,000 children across the Russian Federation and other countries. In 2012 Vladislav Teterin was nominated by the government of the Russian Federation for the Nobel Peace Prize 2013 for his work.


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Team

Maria Teterina, CEO


Maria Teterina
Maria Teterina is a professional classical musician and concert manager with a record of organising large-scale events involving children and young people. Maria was born in Moscow and studied music at the Moscow State Conservatoire. During those years she performed as soloist with leading Russian orchestras. She came to London in 2003 to study with Professor Hamish Milne on the postgraduate course at the Royal Academy of Music in London. 

The inspiration for Music of Life came from the charity that Maria's parents run in Russia to give talented young people with disabilities chances to perform in gala concerts. 

Maria is responsible for Music of Life's educational strategy and concert programmes as well as developing new partnerships.

Maria is married to a Russian pianist Alexey Kapichnikov. They have three children.

James Davey


James Davey
James Davey is one of the UK's most distinguished and respected young choral conductors, in demand for his work as conductor, choir trainer and choral education practitioner.

James runs auditions, individual music lessons and leading many choral workshops for us. 

“The workshop James ran with a group of professional singers to around 60 of our students and staff was simply amazing! The children were in awe of the sound produced by live classical singers and were immediately inspired to join in, even those who primarily remain silent in singing sessions. Many of our students are from homes that would not access this kind of music and it was delightful to observe their immediate reactions and their obvious enjoyment.  This is something that we would like more of …please!” Jane Brown, Music Leader, The Park School, Woking

James is a Choir Trainer for the Royal College of Music Junior Department, and an Assistant Conductor for the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, among many other appointments.




Gavin Horsley


Gavin Horsley
Born in Norfolk, Gavin trained at the Royal College of Music studying with Kenneth Woollam. He then joined both the Glyndebourne Festival and Touring Opera and worked with the chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. 

Gavin’s teaches our student bass singer and talented composer Thomas Blumire and runs choral workshops for some of our other students.

“Thomas’ singing teacher Gavin employed a range of techniques to get the best out of his limited breath. They’ve built up a strong relationship andthe experience has made Thomas feel like he absolutely deserves the attention that Music of Life gives him. ”  Karen Blumire, mother of Thomas Blumire

Gavin has sung with The King’s Consort, The BBC Singers, The Cambridge Singers and has recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Opera House and recorded Karl Jenkins’ Requiem for EMI classics.

He is currently the Director of Music at St. Augustine’s, Queensgate in South Kensington.

Amy Wood


Amy Wood

Amy Wood was born in Sheffield and began singing at the age of 11 as a chorister in the Sheffield Cathedral Girls’ choir. Her first performance on stage was as 'The Shepherd Boy' for Moscow Opera at the age of 12. 

When Amy is not singing, she works as a singing teacher at The Hall Boys' School and as freelancer in music education. 

Amy runs group singing lessons and individual lessons.

“Amy Wood is great. She has inspired them so much, they keep talking about the sessions with her, and it seems the whole school is now humming the tunes from Vivaldi Gloria all the time!” Neil Clark, Headteacher, Stepping Stones School

Amy studies singing with Gary Coward and has a busy schedule of performances. 

Patrons

Dame Evelyn Glennie DBE, Music of Life Foundation


Evelyn Glennie

"The great feature that we have within Music of Life is that the youngsters are given an excellent platform to develop and display their musical aptitude alongside seasoned professional musicians and share with them the responsibility and the sense of occasion. This experience has a great impact that doesn’t just last for the length of the rehearsal or the length of the concert but becomes a life-changing thing for many people, including myself.’‘

Evelyn became Music of Life Patron in December 2005 following three concerts she performed with the Foundation's young participants in Moscow, St. Petersburg and London. Exceptional talents, determination and stamina of Music of Life's beneficiaries made Evelyn willing to associate her name with our charity and its work that echoes with her own passionate belief in the importance of accessibility of music for all children and support for musicians with disabilities.

Awarded Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2007 Evelyn Glennie is the first person in musical history to successfully create and sustain a full-time career as a solo percussionist. As one of the most eclectic and innovative musicians on the scene today she is constantly redefining the goals and expectations of percussion by creating performances of such vitality they almost constitute a new type of performance.

For more about the extraordinary life and work of Dame evelyn Glenie evelyn.co.uk                                                                      



Denise Leigh



Denise Leigh

Denise Leigh is the winner of channel 4's Operatunity: a nationwide search to find an amateur singer who could sing the role of Gilda in Verdi's Rigoletto at the home of ENO, the London Coliseum.

Since her operatic debut in 2003 Denise has gone on to sing all over the world, appearing in opera and oratorio throughout Europe. She has recorded two best selling albums on the EMI Classics label, and continues to appear regularly on TV and radio.

Denise was honoured to have performed as headline talent in the London 2012 Paralympic opening ceremony, in a newly commissioned work by Errollyn Wallen, entitled Spirit in Motion with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Charles Abell.

Denise was a Trustee for Music of Life Foundation for over two years. From October 2012 Denise has assumed, alongside Dame Evelyn Glennie, the role of a Patron for Music of Life.

As well as Dame Evelyn Glenie and Denise Leigh, Music of Life's work is championed in many ways by some of the most illustrious artists of our time - Evgeny Kissin, Dmitry Hvorostovsky and Martyn Brabbins.

Trustees

Ray Longbottom (Chair)


Ray Longbottom

Ray joined the Music of Life Foundation in 2008. His mission is to help the charity grow and thus to provide steadily increasing opportunities for disabled youngsters to develop their musical talents and perform in public.

Ray’s business career was mainly spent at 3M Company so brings experience of leading teams and building businesses. Ray is an executive coach and mentor and is also on the boards of War Child UK and Therfield School.

Mark Bride


Mark Bride

Mark Bide has been a trustee of Music of Life since May 2005. He has spent nearly 40 years working in the media, primarily in and around the publishing industry; his particular area of expertise is around the management of copyright on the internet. He is currently the Executive Director of EDItEUR, a publishing trade standards organisation, and a Director of Rightscom, a specialist media consultancy business; and Visiting Professor of the University of the Arts London

Mark is a keen amateur singer, and was for many years a trustee of the Occam Singers, a Surrey-based chamber choir. He is a trustee of the Vernon Ellis Foundation. 

Jessica Clark


Jessica Clark
Jessica became a trustee of Music of Life in 2012 and hopes to help the charity to reach even more young people with disabilities and special needs in order to develop their confidence and self-esteem through music. 

She works as an in-house lawyer for a leading scientific and medical publisher and is also on the boards of Carlton Vale Infants School and London Legal Support Trust.




John Lubbock


John Lubbock

John Lubbock is well known as an Artistic Director of the Orchestra of St. John’s which he founded in 1967, whilst still a student at the Royal Academy of Music in London, with the aim of building an orchestra that would serve the community, not just add to the ‘music scene’. He has a tireless enthusiasm and life-long commitment to making music accessible to those who might otherwise have had little or no musical experience.

John received an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Academy of Music in July 1999. He joined the Board of Trustees of the Music of Life Foundation in December 2005.

Natasha Roe


Natasha Roe

Natasha joined the Board in 2014 with a brief to support Music of Life's communications and marketing. She founded and runs an independent marketing, fundraising and communications consultancy, Red Pencil, that works with UK charities and international NGOs. 

She was inspired to get involved with Music Of Life after seeing the benefits that being involved with music has given to her daughter who plays with Animate Orchestra and has a disability.

                                                                     
Music of Life Foundation | Registered Charity number 1102827 | Company number 4963498