What we do and why


Inspire-works was founded by Mike & Jacqui Simpson, a professional percussionist and theatre director respectively, after spending an intensive year studying Indonesian arts in Bali in 2002. We have grown the business to now involve a team of 20 workshop facilitators who deliver world-music workshops to over 65,000 children and young adults in over 650 schools throughout the UK each academic year.

Our team deliver whole-class one-off or First Access Programmes in West African drumming, Brazilian samba drumming & dance, Indonesian gamelan, Japanese Taiko, Indian dhol and Caribbean steel pans workshops to all ages from Foundation Stage to A Level. We have delivered CPD sessions at many education conferences such as The Education Show, Music Education EXPO, MMA, NAME, The Sunday Times Festival of Education and for many Music Hubs throughout the UK.


We are the current Guinness World Record holders for the largest drumming lesson that we achieved at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with 1,827 participants and a further 10,000 joining via live stream. We are also the Guinness World Records holders for the World’s Largest Samba Band that we achieved at the Royal Albert Hall in March 2014 by leading 1,675 London school children in a specially commissioned samba piece which was featured on BBC Blue Peter, The Evening Standard and The Sun. Our Bang the Drum 2016 project was selected as a finalist in the Music Teacher Awards 2017 and our Road to Rio project was also a Finalist for the Best Musical Initiative Award at the Music Teacher Awards 2015. Our Online Learning Platform has be selected as a finalist in the Music Teacher Awards 2019 for the Outstanding Digital/Technological Resource category.

Our Musical Director, Mike Simpson, is the author of Rhinegold Education’s Teach & Play world-music series of teaching resources and Trinity College London’s Senior Examiner for Music Tracks. All of our Facilitators are highly experienced workshop leaders and professional musicians having performed at Glastonbury, Rio Carnival, WOMAD, Notting Hill Carnival, Wembley Stadium, Royal Albert Hall, London Olympics Opening Ceremony and worked with artists such as Elton John, George Michael, Dionne Warwick, Sir Cliff Richard, STOMP, the West End’s The Lion King, the Philharmonia, BBC Proms and Later with Jools Holland. 



Our philosophy


We aim to deliver in schools and youth communities, specialist music workshops that enrich and extend the National Curriculum by providing rich, stimulating, exciting activities from Indonesia, Japan, South America, West Africa and The Caribbean.

We offer high quality workshops by experienced practitioners and teachers. Workshops can be tailor made according to the specific needs of a group.

In our workshops, the pupils are actively involved, take a full part in the creative process and experience a sense of pride and achievement. They are encouraged to aim for a high level of skill and to express their ideas and performance with others.



Our aims

Provide students with practical-based knowledge that may be applied to other subject areas.



Fulfil specific National Curriculum learning outcomes.



Offer workshops that are 100% participatory.



Develop performance skills.



Develop personal and social skills such as teamwork, communication, commitment, responsibility and confidence.



Encourage students to take a risk within a secure environment.



Encourage students to reflect upon their work to improve their own standard.



Bridge cultural gaps by fostering knowledge and understanding through exposure to and participation in music from different countries.