Through the ages artists with disabilities have been important to our history and culture. Beethoven was deaf, Van Gogh had mental health differences, and El Greco was visually impaired. For the most part we do not associate them with their disability. We celebrate their lives for the gifts of music and art that they left in our midst. All individuals with or without differences should be guaranteed the opportunity to learn music, share in musical experiences, and have a career in the music industry, if so desired.
In today's world, however, there is not such a celebration of the gifts of living artists with disabilities. One ray of hope for emerging artists with disabilities are programs that foster the talent of artists. Programs that enable more people with differences to express themselves artistically and professionally. Afterall, music allows us to celebrate and preserve our cultural heritages, and also to explore the realms of expression, imagination, and creation resulting in new knowledge.
Below is a list of some resources to assist those with differences who may want to pursue a career in the music industry:
Recording Artists and Music Professionals with Disabilities (RAMPD)
According to their website, RAMPD's mission “is to amplify disability culture, promote inclusion, and advocate for accessibility within the Music Industry.”
The National Association for Music Education (NAfME)
NAfME is dedicated to advance music education by encouraging the study and making of music by all. According to their website, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) is among the world’s largest arts education organizations and is the only association that addresses all aspects of music education.
The National Endowment for the Arts
The Arts Endowment seeks to address barriers and advance training and career opportunities in the arts for individuals with disabilities-- in the strong belief that inclusion must be ever present in our vision and that all Americans have the opportunity to create and participate fully in the arts.
Beyond the Music (BTM)
Beyond the Music is supported by the Attitude Is Everything charity. The BTM initiative, a new three-year program, will provide the necessary skills, experience, resources and guidance for those with differences as well as for music businesses in order to create inclusive work environments and close the employment gap.
The Southwest Florida Music and Education Center
Southwest Florida Music and Education Center offers neurodivergent young adults a truly unique, comprehensive music education program to help them pursue careers in the music industry.