The Power of Music
Published on 01 November 2018
Melton Music won the Access and Inclusion Award from a field of over 30 Finalists at the 2018 City of Melton Business Excellence Awards. Owner Jasmine Lynch talks to Venture Melton about what it means to their business to be accessible and exclusive.
Melton Music has passion and commitment to the restorative powers of music for people with disabilities. From running informal ukulele classes in a local assisted-living community, to working with a range of customers with special needs, owner Jasmine Lynch was delighted when Melton Music was announced as the 2018 Access and Inclusion award winner.
“It was wonderful because we weren't expecting it,” she said. “When it came to the award announcement, we knew that we were up against other businesses specifically for people with a disability and people who are experiencing some form of disadvantage. So it was really a wonderful surprise to win.”
Council’s “Melton: A City for All People” Plan reports that more than 24,000 Melton residents – approximately 18 percent of the population – lives with a disability. Melton Music’s approach to access and inclusion highlights how making your enterprise easy for everyone in the community to access is good business.
Using music to foster inclusion is the essence of Melton Music’s teaching ethos. “Access and inclusion absolutely describes who we are,” says Jasmine. “We want music to be available to everyone. We have a vision to bring the joy of community and shape a positive world by sharing sound, melody and culture through music. As teachers, we model what we want the students to be – kind and caring, humble, passionate about music. That's the big thing: to display that passion for music and to inspire others.”
Melton Music forms an interesting case study on how important accessibility can be to the success of a business venture. Originally starting as a small business from their home in the Darlingsford Estate in Melton, the growing demand to keep up with prospective Melton Music students forced the business to consider a move to larger premises.
Even though it was growth which predominantly drove the move, Jasmine pointed out that accessibility was their main consideration when choosing new premises. “When we chose a building, we made sure we chose one that had all the access we needed. We chose something in an industrial estate because it's a more robust building, and it has all the facilities we need,” she explained.
Other facilities Jasmine highlights include double-doors that facilitate smooth entry for not just people with mobility aids, but also for parents and carers with prams. The building also has designated disabled parking spaces and baby changing rooms. Melton Music ensured a roomy, ground level unisex toilet with non-slip flooring, hand rail and an easy to reach hand basin was installed to cater for all their customers.
Reflecting a Monash University study of 2012 which showed that for every dollar that a business invests in universal accessibility, the return on that investment adds up to approximately $13, Jasmine is well aware of the importance accessibility plays in her business’ growth.
She estimates that around 20 percent of Melton Music’s student population lives with a disability of some sort. And while the number of people with serious physical disabilities makes up a slightly smaller part of that percentile, Jasmine is under no illusion of the importance this population has on her organisation: “If we didn't have the right facilities to cater for people of all abilities, then there'd be about 20 percent of our business that we wouldn't have,” she says bluntly. “But,” she continues, I don't see anyone we couldn't cater for, really, at this point. I've never had to turn anyone away because of a disability.”