Amber Trust practitioner Steve Harper with his guitar

Focus on an Amber practitioner – Steve Harper

Online teaching during the pandemic has opened new doors for Amber practitioner Steve Harper, but he’s only too pleased to be back teaching in person. 

Steve, pictured above, is a Warwickshire-based music and guitar teacher who has worked with The Amber Trust for the past three years, having given up the security of school life to go it alone. 

He qualified as a teacher in 2006 but has over 35 years experience of working with music in special needs settings, including spending 22 years at an all-age special school.  Steve is passionate about helping children and adults experience, create and interact with music.  

As a practitioner, he works across the breadth of Amber’s services. He visits those in receipt of Little Amber and AmberPlus awards, as well as With Music In Mind beneficiaries. And it is that face-to-face work that gives him the most satisfaction.

“I love every part of the work I do for Amber,” says Steve. “Working on-line opened new possibilities – particularly being able to include youngsters who were unable to leave their homes. But I have to say that it’s been lovely getting back to face-to-face sessions at schools and at homes.” 

Action man: Steve Harper hosts an online AmberPlus Music Makers session – available to watch here

“Changing what I do on the spur of the moment is particularly enjoyable. Reacting to unforeseen circumstances and adapting as I go happens a lot in special schools and at the homes of youngsters with complex needs. 

“I left the comfort of working directly for a school over three years ago now and feel incredibly well supported by the charity. I’m immensely proud to be a part of the Amber team, providing musical opportunities for blind and partially sighted children and young people with complex needs.”  

Through his work in Coventry, Solihull and South Warwickshire, Steve has put together a back catalogue of 13 songs called Songs for the Special School. He often uses them – alongside material from Amber – so that families and professionals can engage in music with their children in between sessions.  

Steve combines delivering Amber-funded online sessions for other charities – namely CAMSIGHT, Norfolk Vision and SENSE – with working for the Trust direct. He also finds the time to work with Soundabout, Music Hubs, and individual special schools in the South Midland area. 

The Amber Trust is so grateful to Steve and all the practitioners who bring music to the visually impaired children and their families we support.