A UNIQUE orchestra made up of children with disabilities and special needs is transforming the lives of its musicians.

The Open Orchestra is the first of its kind in Worcestershire, and it’s based at Chadsgrove Special school in Bromsgrove.

Some members of the orchestra are learning to play the Clarion, specialist software which is suitable for pupils who can’t access instruments due to their physical impairments.

Students can instead use an iPad, Eyegaze, Laptop or a SmartNav head tracker to create music.

Ibrahim, aged 15, has joined the Orchestra and can now play music independently.

His physical disabilities prevent him from holding an instrument or even tapping his foot to the music.

He now uses a head tracker, which is a small metallic dot on his chin, which allows him to control the Clarion and create music.

Ibrahim said: "When I first started Open Orchestra and using the Clarion I felt a bit nervous, but after a few weeks I felt confident to play independently.

"Controlling a head tracker using a metal dot on my chin has taken quite a bit of practice, but now I feel like an expert. It has helped me to be more independent, and I can use it in any lessons.

"Having the independence it gives me makes me feel free."

Steph Wellings, music teacher at Chadsgrove School said: "The introduction of the SmartNav into Ibrahim's school life has transformed how this incredible young man can access the environment around him.

"It has opened up so many new possibilities; he is a very talented musician and this technology enables him to play expressively and with full technical control of the Clarion.

"He can transfer these skills into other areas of the curriculum and is now making excellent progress with tasks that he could not previously access."

Sarah Wilkins, assistant director of education at Worcestershire County Council said: “The Open Orchestra is a wonderful opportunity for the children at Chadsgrove school.

"We are very proud to have such a fantastic musical group in our region."