Spotlight on Dylan

“The concerts are always moving for us as parents, seeing our boy as part of this group is so encouraging, but bigger than this, it’s joyful to see so many young people enjoying music and creating something special together.”
— Suzanne, Dylan's foster mum

Dylan is 12 and plays the piano and the trombone. At school he plays in a brass group as well as being part of a young developers group at the Shepway Brass Academy at weekends. Dylan’s music teacher nominated him for the National Orchestra for All in 2018 after recognising his dedication to and love for music. Dylan has complex needs: sensory difficulties, early life trauma, autism and language difficulties mean that he can present with challenging behaviour and finds it hard to communicate verbally. However, with a support worker present to help Dylan access the experience fully, NOFA has provided a place for Dylan to develop his musical ability whilst being an important and equal part of a larger musical group.

“NOFA found a wonderful and skilled support person to give him one-to-one support, and it has been fantastic to see how successfully this has worked.”

Music serves as an amazing platform to engage with other people, and with NOFA Dylan is able to work with a group of people his own age from all around the UK, allowing him to be independent and responsible, and yet contributing actively to a large music group made up of his peers. Suzanne, Dylan’s foster mum, says she noticed a new confidence in him after his first NOFA experience, and feels that playing music in this environment gives him a sense of community and something special to try for and strive towards. “He absolutely loves it and can't wait for the next session to begin. It has given him a highlight to look forward to.”

Despite the challenges in Dylan’s life, his achievements in music show that with the right attitude and support so much is possible. The community of NOFA is wide-reaching, inclusive and diverse, and everyone at NOFA is committed to the idea that music-making should be accessible for all.

“It moves us to see the way in which the adults - from organisers to tutors to pastoral carers to admin - are so positive and willing to make a difference in young people’s lives through music.”