Play On: supporting music making in Lagos, Nigeria

Play On: supporting music making in Lagos, Nigeria

Kunbi’s Music Company

Play On: supporting music making in Lagos, Nigeria

This year we’re supporting Kunbi’s Music Company through our Play On fund, specifically their Making a Difference (MAD) Initiative, which seeks to provide affordable music making opportunities to families who would otherwise not be able to have music lessons.

We asked Kunbi Osinoiki, Co-Founder and CEO to tell us more about the MAD Initiative.

Can you tell us something about music making and education in Nigeria?

Nigerians love music and we have artistes like Tiwa Savage, Burna Boy, Wizz Kid, David O, Tems, Rhema and so many more, who have popularised Nigerian music and who have millions of fans worldwide.

However, the majority of our musicians have had to, at some point in their lives, enrol in music schools outside of Nigeria in order to refine and enhance their skills. Music tuition in Nigeria is predominantly by rote. The cost of purchasing musical instruments and tuition is out of reach of the majority of the population.

How does KMC support young people?

We launched the Making a Difference Initiative in June 2022, with the aim of widening access to music tuition to children in Nigeria.

We have been able to provide financial assistance to families who could otherwise not afford music tuition, deliver lessons in low-income schools and recruit and train intending music teachers so they are better equipped to teach music effectively to children.

How did the Making a Difference Initiative come about?

In the course of my music education journey, I became keenly aware of the power of well-structured music education to help develop a learner’s cognition, character, courage, creativity and confidence and I became burdened by the limited opportunities available to families in Nigeria to access well-structured music lessons.

So in June 2022, I decided to do something about it, and started reaching out to schools in underserved communities to see how we can provide music tuition to their students.

This led us to working with various schools including a school for children with physical and learning disabilities.

That experience led us to fundraising for, and purchasing Africa’s first Soundbeam, which would allow us to provide inclusive music making experiences for children living with disabilities.

What are the next steps for the Making a Difference Initiative?

Thanks to ABRSM Play On funding, we have been able to establish two new centres, from where we will be able to reach more people in those locations.

We have instituted a scholarship programme for teenagers starting in September 2023, where we are looking to provide tuition-free lessons for up to 40 teenagers in our teen band and choir groups.

We are also looking to provide low-cost training for more music educators that would enable them to become properly certified with internationally recognised exam bodies.

Visit KMC’s website at


Play On Funds 10 projects!

Play On Funds 10 projects!

Play On Funds 10 Projects!

The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and The Commonwealth Resounds launched the Play On fund in January 2023 to support music-making initiatives worldwide. Administered by The Commonwealth Resounds, Play On has already begun to make a significant impact by providing financial support to a diverse range of organizations outside of the UK. In 2023, the Play On fund has generously supported ten inspiring groups that are making a positive difference in their communities through music.

2023 Recipients

The 2023 recipients of the Play On fund represent an impressive mix of organizations from various parts of the world. These groups are making a profound difference in their communities through music education and engagement. Let’s take a moment to learn about these remarkable organizations:

BLUME Haiti:

Building Leaders Using Music Education (BLUME) Haiti uses music as a tool for social change. The organisation works in partnership with more than 50 music schools across Haiti to uplift thousands of Haitian youth through the creative power of music. ABRSM’s

Play On funding will support their Haitian Orchestral Institute programme, including helping young musicians from dangerous and inaccessible parts of Haiti travel to a safer part of the country to attend workshops and concerts.

Casa Alianza Mexico:

In partnership with Compass Children’s Charity, which funds projects in Latin America that have a meaningful and positive impact on at-risk, migrant and street children globally, we are pleased to be supporting Casa Alianza Mexico with Play On funding in 2023.

ABRSM’s grant will support their music therapy project, which proactively engages children in music workshops designed to support their emotional development and the development of new skills. It also works to repair damage caused to motor skills through prolonged solvent abuse on the streets and supports a detoxification process to prevent relapses.

Cayman Youth Choir:

ABRSM is supporting the Cayman Youth Choir through Play On this year, specifically their involvement in the “Stronger Together Choral Festival”, which proudly aims to bring together a wide range of young people from the Cayman Islands, in a celebration of music and song. The festival will feature workshops led by Mark De-Lisser and will culminate in a gala concert to showcase the unifying power of music.


Harmony Kenya Foundation:

The Harmony Kenya Foundation works to establish or support music departments in Government schools in Kenya. ABRSM’s Play On grant will support the Foundation’s programme at Westlands School, a primary school in Nairobi, including the purchase of new instruments and expansion of their tuition programme.

Harmony Project Phoenix:

Harmony Project Phoenix is a non-profit organisation devoted to expanding educational opportunities for marginalised students by leveraging the transformative influence of music. Since its establishment in 2015, the organisation has made a profound impact on the lives of more than 600 young individuals, with a specific focus on those from underrepresented or disadvantaged backgrounds.

ABRSM’s Play On funding will support the American Sign Language (ASL) Choir, an innovative music initiative that serves as a bridge between the world of music and children with hearing impairments. Through an interactive and engaging approach rooted in play-based learning, the ASL Choir strives to build students’ confidence and increase representation of musicians with hearing impairments in the performing arts.

JSM Academy:

JSM Academy is a non-profit music academy that provides quality music education to disadvantaged communities within the Gauteng Province of South Africa. The Academy offers learners both instrumental and music theory tuition and provides young musicians with opportunities to develop their performance skills. ABRSM’s Play On funding will support their programme through the purchase of instruments, accessories and exam support materials.

Kunbi’s Music Company:

Kunbi’s Music Company is a hybrid music school, located in Lagos, Nigeria, that provides music lessons to students of all ages and abilities, both within Nigeria and around the world. The organisation aims to deliver music learning experiences that are fun, accessible and rewarding for all learners, and ABRSM’s Play On funding will support their work in two of their Lagos centres.

String Heads Music:

ABRSM’s Play On funding will support String Heads Music and their ‘Jingle Bells’ programme in schools across India’s Kerala region. The programme helps Indian schools develop music departments through the provision of a music curriculum, teacher training, instruments and resources.

Thrive Music Academy Africa:

Thrive Music Academy Africa is a non-profit and community-based music organisation based in Kampala, Uganda. The organisation provides quality music education to young people from lower income backgrounds and ABRSM’s Play On grant will help with the purchase of both African musical instruments such as drums and thumb pianos, and Western instruments to support the creation of a junior orchestra and brass band.

The Academy’s Founder & Executive Director, Elijah Kiwalabye, says the programme will “restore the hope of many young people in Uganda, especially those who had lost it to Covid 19’s effects. It will also enable us to discover, ignite and nurture many more music talents as never before, especially among those who had lost hope of learning music due to lack of music tuition and music instruments”.

Play On

Play On

Play On

The Commonwealth Resounds is proud and delighted to continue working in partnership with ABRSM to deliver Play On, a new, enhanced sponsorship fund for organisations and projects from non-UK countries around the world.
Find out more
After three very successful years running the Commonwealth International Composition Award, The Commonwealth Resounds is proud and delighted to continue working in partnership with the ABRSM to deliver Play On, a brand new, enhanced sponsorship programme for organisations and projects outside of the UK.
Musical organisations and groups who are working with young people and wish to apply for Play On sponsorship should complete our online application form.