Our History

1997 Granted registered charity status on 7 August 1997.
Formed with support from the Leonard Cheshire Foundation, new workshops begin with Leonard Cheshire Home residents and Oaklands special school.
1998 Increases number of participants from 15 to 250 in the first 15 months.
Clients perform in ‘2 Days Later with Jools Holland‘ on 7 September 1998 at The Queen’s Hall Edinburgh, a concert organised by the Drake Music Project and Leonard Cheshire Foundation.
1999 Launches new training and CPD programme for musicians.
2000 X-perience project creates a multi-cultural cross-media performance for participants aged 8-55 at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
Moves its Edinburgh HQ from Central Halls, Tollcross to Edgar Hall, Chesser Avenue.
2001 Executive funded project My Life tours Scotland and reaches over 900 special school pupils.
2002 Launches flagship education programme Switch ON to Music which delivers special school music education in East and South Ayrshire, East Renfrewshire, North Lanarkshire and West Lothian.
2003 The Bridges performance project involves people with learning difficulties in a programme of music, art, film and drama leading to a final public performance at the Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline.
2004 Funding secured from the Scottish Executive Education department to support three years of work in special schools.
2005 A highly successful concert takes place at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall as part of North Lanarkshire’s Annual Spring Concert.
2006 National survey of music in SEN schools shows 14% with no music input at all.
2007 Move into new premises at Craigmillar Social Enterprise and Cultural Centre (SPACE) in January.
Musician mentoring programme recognised in Scottish Arts Council report ‘A Sound Investment‘ as an example of ‘effective and innovative’ training practice.
2008 10th Anniversary Concert ‘Now We are Ten‘ at Queen’s Hall in June with over 40 performers and an audience of 400.
Moving Music collaboration with Ashcraig Special School, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and composer Howard Moody later nominated for a British Composer Award.
Awarded Flexible Funding 2009-11 from Scottish Arts Council.
2009 Scottish Arts Council Inspire Funded Figurenotes pilot launches a revolutionary notation system to Scotland.
Three projects (MusicSPACESwitch ON to Music and a collaboration with Horsecross Arts) independently assessed as part of our Scottish Arts Council Flexible Funding agreement and each awarded ‘Excellent’ ratings.
2010 The Proclaimers visit Drake Music Scotland to officially open our new recording studio  funded by Big Lottery Fund People’s Millions.
Approved CPD Provider status awarded by Learning & Teaching Scotland.Presents the UK’s first Figurenotes conference at City Halls Glasgow on 26 November.
Becomes one of only twenty organisations in the UK to be chosen by PRS for Music Foundation to commission a piece of music as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
2011 Contributing to an international seminar on our work at Resonaari Music School in Helsinki and initiating an international consultation on music education in our field with Scottish and Finnish teachers, musicians and academics.
Andrew Norris’s composition The Cat winning the special schools category of the iCompose competition, written using Figurenotes and performed by SCO musicians.
Memorandum of Understanding to co-operate with Jewel and Esk College (now Edinburgh College), and involvement in writing a new national progression award in Music for Well Being with the SQA.
Inclusive Classroom project designed with City of Edinburgh Council Arts & Learning with training for staff in all special schools working towards event in May 2012.
2012 Our New Music 20×12 commission Technophonia is performed in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
We launch Figurenotes Software and Community world-wide and make the system and resources available to download in our on-line shop.
We present workshops and a concert showcasing over 70s Finnish rock band Riskiryhma at Luminate – Scotland’s first national festival celebrating creativity in Older People.
2013 Our New Music 20×12 commission Technophonia and composer Oliver Searle is nominated for British Composer Award and Royal Philharmonia Society Award and the nominations are featured on BBC Reporting Scotland.
Launch of Figurenotes software 2.0 which has increased functionality and accessibility.
Digital Ensemble record their first original composition The Deep with help from the CP YMI Demo & Rehearsal Fund.
2014 We win the Music Teacher Award for Excellence for Best Special Educational Needs Resource for our work with Figurenotes.Launch of Developing Potential Programme which aims to increase professional teaching opportunities for musicians disabilities.
In partnership with National Youth Orchestras of Scotland Digital Ensemble perform Same River Twice a new commission by Malcolm Edmonstone.
Over the year, we receive visits by inclusive music specialists from Norway, South Korea, Israel and Australia wanting to find out more about our methods and approaches.  We also establish new links with Brazil and strengthened our partnership with Resonaari Special Music School in Finland.
2015 The Proclaimers take time out of their busy tour to visit our Christmas Gig and present our Band of the Year Award to Liveheart.
We begin working with Sir James MacMillan and his Cumnock Tryst Festival.
In partnership with City of Edinburgh Council’s Resonate Festival and Edinburgh Schools Jazz Orchestra we present Red Planet Suite, a new commission by Lewis Forbes.
2016 We launch Scotland’s first orchestra for talented young musicians with disabilities, the Digital Orchestra which performs at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.
Our traditional Scots music ensemble Equilibrium perform at Celtic Connections.
We host ISME Special Education Commission Conference in Edinburgh which brings together inclusive music specialists from across the globe.
2017 Our commission “Wagner School of Cool” from composer Lewis Forbes wins a New Music Scotland Award for best Special Educational Needs/ Community project.
We win the “Demonstrating Digital” award in the Scottish Charity Awards.
We become one of 32 UK organisations chosen by PRS Foundation to be part of their Talent Development Partnership network.

2018 Our Digital Orchestra perform in Singapore in front of audiences of over 10,000.
Our sold out 20th Anniversary Concert at the Queen’s Hall in May premieres a new work ‘Skein’ by Aidan O’Rourke funded by Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and City of Edinburgh Council Culture Fund.
Awarded Regular Funding 2019-21 from Creative Scotland
Our collaboration with National Youth Orchestras of Scotland and Malcolm Edmonstone ‘Same River Thrice’ is performed at Cumnock Tryst Festival.
Oliver Searle wins a BASCA British Composer Award for our Microscopic Dances collaboration with NYOS in 2017.
2019 Joining forces with Finnish organisation Resonaari and Norwegian organisation Skug, we create the Universal Orchestra for disabled musicians which debuts in Tromsø
Members of our Digital Orchestra perform with BBC Philharmonic at Media City, Salford.
Our partnership with Ben Lunn and Hebrides Ensemble at the Queen’s Hall Edinburgh in December 2019 wins 3 New Music Scotland awards.
2020 Digital Orchestra members perform at SCVO’s The Gathering in SEC Glasgow in February.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney visits our Figurenotes project with Castlebrae High School.
Due to with Covid-19 restrictions, we move our group and one-to-one music tuition projects online.
We create over 180 Join In, Tutorial and Training resources to help children, parents and teachers continue to make music at home during lockdown.