Inspiring Pupil Chris Makes the Grade!

Chris Jacquin’s recent exam success makes history

Receiving an A grade is a special achievement for any student but not many young people who do this have had such major obstacles to surmount as Drake Music Scotland participant Chris Jacquin.

15 year old Trinity Academy pupil Chris who has cerebral palsy has been awarded the top grade for his Standard Grade Intermediate 1 Music exam despite lack of disabled access to his school music room and a syllabus for the practical modules which initially precluded him from entering.

With help from his tutor Dave McNiven and Drake Music Scotland, Chris persuaded the SQA (Scottish Qualification Authority) to accept his chosen instrument of Brainfingers in place of the more traditional violin, keyboard etc.

Brainfingers is exciting assistive technology developed in the US by Dr Andrew Junkers which reads signals from tiny facial movements and brainwaves to control computer software.  Drake Music Scotland has pioneered combining Brainfingers with NOTION music software to enable Chris to be the first candidate to sit a recognised music exam using the system in Scotland, and probably the first anywhere in the world!

Chris is an inspiration to all the team at Drake Music Scotland and we hope you enjoy the video he helped make during his work experience with us in June.

Read more about Chris’s story at

David McNiven’s blog

Brainwave maestro hits top note – TES 10 September 2010