Music Events

We run music events for children, sometimes with their families, often in collaboration with other musical organisations. This page contains details of upcoming events. You can also see and hear highlights from some of our past music events below.

To find out more about any of the events listed, please

Untold Stories video

In 2012, RNIB's partnership with the Handel House Museum was the subject of a short film, created by Mediatrust as part of their Untold Stories series. The film describes how staff at the Handel House have brought the museum alive through touch tours and music workshops for blind and partially sighted musicians of all ages. RNIB would like to thank the Handel House Museum and Mediatrust for the opportunity to tell this story.

Events for children

Easter Revision Course

A music-filled, quick-fire revision course tailor-made for blind and partially sighted students studying GCSE or A Level music.

  • Date: 8 April 2014 from 11:00 until 16:30
  • Venue: RNIB, 105 Judd Street, London, WC1H 9NE

Royal Connections music workshop at the Handel House Museum

A music workshop for blind and partially sighted singers and instrumentalists aged 8 years old and over with Royal Connections.

  • Date: 14 April 2014 from 11:00 until 16:30 with a performance to friends, family and supporters at around 16:00
  • Venue: Handel House Museum, 25 brook Street, London, W1K 4HD

RNIB and Handel House annual composition Summer School

This four day Summer School is open to blind and partially sighted students aged 16 and over. The course is particularly relevant for students taking A level music or continuing undergraduate music studies. this year's leader is Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian, the Handel House Museum's Composer-in-Residence. Participants will create and notate a contemporary composition for a violin and cello duo for performance in Handel's music room at the end of the course by Aisha Orazbayeva (violin) and Lucy Railton (cello).

  • Dates: 28-31 July, 2014
  • venues: RNIB, 105 Judd Street, London, WC1H 9NE

Handel House Museum, 25 Brook Street, London, W1K 4HD

Music events for children and families

Family workshop at the Wallace Collection and Wigmore Hall

  • Date: Saturday 28 June from 10:30am until 4pm
  • Venues: Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square, London, W1U 3BN
  • Wigmore Hall, 36 Wigmore Street, London, W1U 2BP

Further details to be announced soon.

Alice the Opera

Join us in the magic gardens of Holland Park as we meet Alice and other well-loved characters from Lewis Carroll's book and discover some of the music from Will Todd's new family opera for Opera Holland Park

  • Date: Saturday 13 July from 11:00 until 13:00
  • Venue: Opera Holland Park, London W8 6LU

Further details to be announced soon.

Employment Workshops for blind and partially sighted musicians

MAS also runs professional development days for blind adult musicians who are working, or hope to work, in a wide range of areas in the music business. Please email mas@rnib.org.uk or telephone 020 7391 2273 to find out more.

Past music events

Adult workshops

Rhythm workshop (October 2012)

This day was led by multi-instrumentalist and composer Baluji Shrivastav who introduced participants to the joys and intricacies of classical Indian rhythms. the day was attended by composers, teachers, drummers and instrumentalists. One participant wrote afterwards
"Ever since I left the workshop, I've been parsing every piece of music I hear in terms of 'ta takita takita'... What a fantastic day, thanks so much for organising this."

Open Spaces (October 2010 and 2011)

A day for blind and partially sighted adult musicians exploring the Royal Opera House, its spaces and acoustics and creating music inspired by listening to an open rehearsal.
An audio report of the 2010 day was produced for Vision, the bi-monthly magazine for RNIB members. You can hear the feature and read a transcript by visiting the Vision Magazine podcasts page.

Close Encounters (January and June 2013)

An afternoon for blind and partially sighted adult musicians and music-lovers at the Royal Opera House experiencing an orchestral rehearsal in amongst the orchestra. RNIB member Garry Denton offers his thoughts on the day below.

The Music Party (September 2011)

Inspired by a painting of the same name, the Handel House Museum welcomed blind and partially sighted musicians to discover the house, learn more about the instruments Handel played and create their own music.

Comments from participants included:

"I thought we got one step closer to the composer through the unique opportunity of feeling the history and creating our own live work and hope this series can develop."

"It is immensely valuable to have taylor-made days such as this, when hands-on approach is definitely allowed, and you don't feel like an exhibit yourself if you want to look at the design of the furniture or even the windows. There are so many things in museums you can't get anywhere near … but special permission to touch when the public are trying to look can lead to a certain feeling of self-consciousness. I learned more about Georgian architecture by just getting more hands-on than I could anywhere else. … The small group size is also a bonus. The descriptions of artwork and the décor of the house also helped to build up a picture of the life of Handel (applicable to anybody else) and understand the context of the music we all know… A much valued opportunity to learn. Thank you."

Searching the Stave (April 2010)

An exhibition held at RNIB for partially sighted musicians and those supporting them with mini presentations given by producers of hardware and software, music lighting and RNIB's Music Advisory Service on producing modified stave notation.

Feeling Good about Goodfeel (january 2009)

Kicking off our year of celebrations for Louis Braille's bicentenary, Feeling Good about Goodfeel gave blind and partially sighted musicians of all ages the chance to find out how technology can enable independent access to music scores in Braille with guest presenter Bill McCann from Dancing Dots.

Events for children and families

Friday Afternoons (February 2013)

Friday afternoons was the name given to a set of twelve songs by Benjamin Britten whose centenary is being celebrated this year with a number of projects and events. He wrote the songs in 1935 for his brother's school where Friday afternoons were devoted to music lessons. Soprano Elizabeth Capener introduced two of the songs before setting the ten blind and partially sighted participants the task of creating their own Friday afternoon song. You can read about the day and hear highlights from the final performance below.

For more details about the national project, please visit the Friday Afternoons website.

A Knight's Quest (June 2012 and May 2011)

A family workshop organised jointly between the Wallace Collection, the Wigmore Hall and RNIB.
Comments from parents included:
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank you both for such a great time and for organizing these events. S now feels that he is not the only one who can not see very well and that he can learn and share with other children with similar needs. As a mother, meeting other parents who are in similar circumstances, talking and sharing ideas is just fantastic."
"As a parent I would like to say that I consider these events invaluable, socially and educationally."
"We as parents had a great day, and found it really good. It gave a good opportunity for us to talk to the other parents as this is the only event where we mix with sight impaired children in an informal setting."
"This is the third Wigmore Hall event that we have been on and each has been as excellent as the last. The chance to make music in a group is quite rare and to be able to do so in such great surroundings with such brilliant musicians makes it all the more special. We can see the impact these days have on our children throughout the year, as they are able to remember being on stage or working in a group and can use the experience to grow their confidence in other areas. More than just a learning day though, the RNIB music events are also just jolly good fun and we always look forward to the next one."

Voices from the Street (April 2011)

A workshop exploring some of Handel's music and the sounds he may have heard from his windows, led by Kerry Andrew, Composer-in-Residence at the Handel House Museum.

Hurley Burley with a Hurdy Gurdy (February 2010)

An instrumental workshop led by performer and instrument maker Nicholas Perry culminating in a very loud pair of bagpipes…

Braille Music bonanza (April and October 2009)

As part of the Louis Braille bicentenary celebrations, the Music Advisory Service ran two workshops for young blind musicians using braille music. The second was held at the Salvation Army, Regent Hall and included a lunchtime concert given by the tutors and a concert given by the participants.
Comments from the participants included:
"When you first start out no matter how hard you find learning braille music keep on trying and trying. It has already begun to change my life in the way I look at music. Before I started learning braille music, I did not know a thing about music. When people talked about crotchets, quavers and minims, I had no clue what they were on about, but now I have started learning braille music, all that has become clear to me. I am on the way to a different life thanks to braille music. So keep on trying, keep on struggling until you can read braille music and sing at the same time!"
"This is just a note to say a big thank you for the Braille Music Day. I really enjoyed the day and meeting all the other participants. It was interesting listening to the others play and seeing what can be achieved. I was very impressed. It was great fun playing on a grand piano in such a lovely hall, but I have to admit it did make me feel quite nervous! I hope there will be more braille days to come."

Swoops and Loops (February 2009)

A creative music workshop using Optimusic led by its founder Guy Sigalov.

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