Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham trust aims to discover new musical instruments

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Media captionAmy Hetherington is frustrated at not being able to fulfil her musical potential

A Birmingham father has said it was his daughter's frustrations at being unable to perform music that prompted the search for an orchestral instrument that can be played with one hand.

Stephen Hetherington, whose daughter Amy has cerebral palsy, set up the One-Handed Musical Instrument Trust (OHMI) in a bid to develop instruments for disabled people.

Mr Hetherington said: "The trust was set up to enable the disabled to participate in making music.

"The realisation of the problem and the realisation that we can do something about it demands immediate action so that's what we've done."

The trust is helping run the first of what is anticipated will be an annual worldwide competition to develop playable instruments that emulate their traditional orchestral counterparts.

'Performing onstage'

Nineteen-year-old Amy, who has limited use of her left hand, hopes someone will find a way of developing the trumpet, which she finds difficult to play.

"If I'm holding it with one hand it means I don't have the full dexterity of my right hand in order to move the valves and press them as quickly as I'd like.

"I can't tune the trumpet at all and that does cause problems.

Image caption Stephen Hetherington hopes to see any new instruments played on stage

"I'm almost able to play it but not quite. Not up to a high level which would have been really nice."

Entries for this year's competition need to be in by 30 April and entrants retain the intellectual property of any of their designs.

Mr Hetherington, himself a former musician, said the signs are already encouraging.

"We can see from the instruments already coming into the competition that this is going to be possible. There are going to be instruments to come out of this which will allow participation.

"When we have that great soloist on the stage performing with the world's orchestras that would be a significant achievement and be a mark of our success."

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