Ray’s great musical feat

Ray de Grussa with Mickley Hall support workers Danielle Smith and Dominic Bankes

Ray de Grussa with Mickley Hall support workers Danielle Smith and Dominic Bankes

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A DISABLED man from Sheffield has won a national award for his remarkable achievements learning to compose music using specialist computer software.

Ray De Grussa, aged 60, dreamed about making music for many years but struggled to find a course that could support him until he began at Sheffield University in 2009 thanks to Drake Music, an organisation that specialises in the use of assistive technology.

Now he has won the BBC-sponsored Digital Participation Award from the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education as part of Adult Learners’ Week.

Ray learned how to use specialist software, which enabled him to operate his laptop using switches, voice control and other methods, instead of a keyboard and mouse. And it helped him to learn to compose music, resulting in five pieces for different instruments, one of which he performed live at last year’s Totley Music Festival.

Ray, who lives at Leonard Cheshire Disability’s Mickley Hall in Mickley Lane, Totley, said he couldn’t believe his ears when he won the award. “This learning opportunity has made so much difference to the way I now view myself and interact with people; it has been so much more than about learning music.”