Heart Beats music is a Somerset club for younger adults with learning disabilities. Heart Beats is run by Count Me In. Our team give you the support and opportunities to have friendly fun and play live music on real instruments.
Our 'AllStars' project is about playing, leading and teaching music. It’s called 'AllStars' because we believe everyone is musical.
We're supported by Youth Music, using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
We're just finishing our final report to the funders of the main AllStars programme- the National Foundation for Youth Music. Without whom, none of this would have been possible.
So - we wondered, what had we done? Lots and lots of music.... lots and lots of fun...lots and lots of learning. Plenty of new friends made along the way.
The occasional party!
Here's some of the things we have reflected on :
The programme was aspirational and to a degree experimental.
We followed a community music model that was underpinned by
therapeutic approaches, participation, and best practice in communication. We
researched improvisation and free ensemble playing. We took musical risks and
processed the outcomes.
We followed our programme plan carefully : it worked well.
We extended our delivery thanks to local support. Increasing our pool of
accessible instruments, we explored sensory approaches to music through
offering ‘conventional’ instruments to people who had never had this
We brought people together who would never normally meet ,
allowing them to explore relationships through sound and structured musical
activities that led to an increase in musicality, personal progression, and
We supplemented the education of a diverse range of gifted
young musicians whose lives have been altered by the experience.
We empowered individuals with complex learning needs, sensory
impairment and autism, allowing them to participate playfully or with gravitas,
leading others, and engaging on their own terms. We responded respectfully to
all input and valued the unexpected.
We worked diligently with our SEN volunteers and music leader,
taking their lead and valuing their voice. – This at a time when ‘disabled
music leadership’ is high on the agenda.
We shared knowledge with teachers, professionals and
graduates. We gave advice on starting organisations, fundraising, and good practice;
also, career guidance and mentoring support.
Our team have grown in expertise through co-working and
skillshare. This is fully transferrable and affects all our practice.
We helped groups interact and find a group mind. We provided
consulted opportunities for celebration and sharing, including a day of joyful
partying at one of the most beautiful locations in the area.
We’ve seen music changes lives, takes us to places we
wouldn’t otherwise go, and builds true communities of experience.