Are you related to the Canadian Hip Hop Artist Drake?

We are not – although we do like the sounds he makes!

Our founder is a lady called Adele Drake who founded the Drake Music organisations in GB, in memory of two of her own daughters. Adele asked Michelle, our CEO to set up a branch here in Northern Ireland in 1992. Michelle loved the challenge, and started workshops, and then registered Drake Music NI as a charity completely in its own right, with Adele on our first management board. We started with studios in Belfast and Newry, and outreach workshops all over Northern Ireland. The rest is, as they say – musical history!

What is the correct term for a person with disabilities?

Drake Music NI completely work by the social model of disability, where the surroundings a person has to interact with can make a person less able to function and thrive. The social model of disability proposes that what makes someone disabled is not their medical condition, but the attitudes and structures of society. At Drake Music NI, we aim to work, in a positive frame at all times, with people with all natures of ability, and we celebrate the ability a person has, and work together to achieve creative expression and to exhibit talent.

Who can attend the sessions?

Drake Music NI exists in order to facilitate access to independent music making for children and adults with all natures of abilities, for independent access to the arts and culture in our society, making use of assistive music technology. No one is excluded from our workshops, and we strive to ensure that we reach those who can most benefit from our unique instruments, interfaces and approaches to creative music making.

Where are you based?

We have permanent studio spaces in Newry and Belfast, and have outreach workshops and activities available all over Northern Ireland – get in touch with us to bring the music making and fun to a venue near you!

Are Drake’s studios accessible?

Both of our permanent studios are fully accessible, from the provision of accessible lifts, workshop spaces, adjustable height desks and switch tables, and accessible and assistive technology and instruments. Everyone can join in, on equal terms and create in our sessions.

Can I attend a session if I do not know how to play any instruments?

Yes – we have workshops with so many different ways to make music, and no one is judging anyone on instrumental ability at the start of any session.

Can children take part in the sessions?

We have sessions age suitable for children from 3 years old, and also we group our workshops into age-suitable for themes, interests and peer association! No one is excluded!

Is it suitable for elderly people?

We have workshops of all themes and musical tastes, and suggest that adults work in sessions that are of interest to them in terms of types of music! Also, we have fantastic reminiscence sessions for people dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s, so that memories can be evoked as a result of very relaxing music memories sessions.

Am I allowed to bring a carer or a person to assist me during the session?

We actively encourage that people who may wish to have a carer or friend with them in a session being them along, for support, encouragement or assistance.

Are you a music school?

If a music school encourages creativity, helps people to express themselves, and encourages fun and interaction then yes!

Do you use a grading music system or are there exams?

We do not run a grading system for our participants, but if you would like to be assisted in learning for a music grade school exam, we can certainly help you on that journey!

How much does it cost?

All of our sessions are charity funded, as we are a registered charity who fundraise to exist and to bring professional workshop provision to the community. we do ask for a contribution to costs so that everyone values the sessions and the professionalism of our team and equipment. Costs for this are very low, and depend on location and numbers in the sessions.

How can I donate to Drake Music NI?

As a registered charity we are permanently on fundraising duties – please do get in touch to find out how you can help to keep our activities operating – thank you!

How can I become a music tutor at Drake Music NI?

Please simply drop us a line or lift the phone, we are always seeking to add more tutors to our team – all your need is a love of music, and a great skill at communication, together with infectious enthusiasm for seeing others get the chance to express themselves through sound – we can add the rest!