Songwriting, recording and performance have always run parallel with my work in the field of, accessible inclusive music making and education.
In 2001 I began working with The Drake Music Project in Northern Ireland as an Access Music Tutor undergoing extensive training in the use of Assistive Music Technology (AMT). In 2007 I moved to London to develop my practice further and to gain more experience in the field of Community Music, obtaining a place on the acclaimed 'Music Workshop Skills' course at Goldsmiths University of London.
In 2008 I began working for Drake Music in London as an Associate Musician and freelancing under the name ‘Garden of Music’ delivering accessible music workshops, lessons and training sessions to children, young people and adults. Over the years I have worked with a vast number of children and young people from different cultural and social backgrounds, many of who are experiencing challenging circumstances. I am very passionate about musical inclusion and highlighting musical talent and ability through participatory music sessions. In my practice I endorse the Social Model of Disability and it is through this lens that I am able to identify disabling barriers to participation. This helps to ensure my sessions are accessible, in responding to individual access requirements, often using many different Assistive Music Technology instruments, to tailor a bespoke setup for each person.
In 2013 I was kindly sponsored by the excellent music charity 'Soundabout' to undertake the first PGCert in 'Music and Special Needs, Sounds of Intent' at University of Roehampton. My organisation Garden of Music have since become a 'Sounds of Intent' associate organisation for Northern Ireland. Where appropriate, I use this outstanding musical framework to effectively assess and support the musical development of children and young people, which helps me to identify where someone is at musically.
As well as working in schools delivering regular weekly lessons and sessions, I also work at Great Ormond Street Hospital as a resident artist, working for 'GOSH ARTS'. In this role I get to do lots of impromptu improvising, which I really love. I am very much at home in this capacity, as a musician and using all of my musical skills. I love all the different areas and aspects of my work. I often have many different roles and approaches, but at Great Ormond Street Hospital I am simply Gary the musician. I play music. I love it.