Musical Instruments for people with Disabilities - Help 3 charities at once

MERU has been asked to design and manufacture some custom made musical instruments for use by the Joy of Sound and the Orpheus Centre in their music workshops. Self expression is essential for emotional wellbeing, but many people with severe physical disabilities are denied to opportunity to make acoustic music because of the limitations of many instruments and the physical dexterity required to play them.

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Registered Charity in England and Wales (269804)




  • Arts/Culture/HeritageArts/Culture/Heritage
  • Community Support & DevelopmentCommunity Support & Development
  • Health/WellbeingHealth/Wellbeing


  • Young People (18-30)Young People (18-30)



MERU has been approached by another charity Joy of Sound to develop a small range of bespoke musical instruments for use by disabled youngsters, so that they can enjoy and create music with the help of their carers and family members. To give you an example of the type of instruments needed, Joy of Sound previously commissioned Derek's guitar with vibrating acoustic panel, allowing him to feel musical vibrations through his body. They have also adapted marimba and zither instruments for use by wheelchair users. Through their work, participants are now able to contribute to musical events – providing therapy and self esteem through integration, which would otherwise not be possible. Jointly, we are now involved in the following projects: 1) An indestructible bow for playing stringed instruments – which can be held easily by someone with limited dexterity and range of movement. 2) Easy to grip plectrum that won’t break. To date, there is reliance on the use of modified credit cards. 3) Design and manufacture of new musical instruments that can be “open tuned” to e flat major. These can then be used by people of all abilities at Joy of Sound workshops and by apprentices at the Orpheus Centre. We have already raised £5000 for the D'Oyly Carte Trust to pay for MERU's engineers to begin work on this project. MERU's volunteers will also be creating custom made instruments (donating £10,000 of their time), but we need a further £9000 for MERU's engineers to work along side our volunteers to ensure the safe use of our workshops and that the finished instruments are safe and easy to use. We hope to invite donors to a special concert featuring these instruments at the end of this project.