Frequently Asked Questions

1.    How do I start a CDM chapter?

    CDM was established in 1986 by Donald Jaeger, a newly disabled drummer.  You can read the whole story on our History page.  Donald posted and sent out flyers in publications and newsletters geared to persons with disabilities, local “Pennysaver” newspapers, publications distributed through music stores, rehabilitation facilities, community bulletin boards and wherever he could imagine that disabled musicians might notice them.  Responses came in and informal jams were scheduled.  It was decided that CDM would be a self-help organization, which is critical.  CDM is not set up to impose a set of requirements or lead musicians down a prescribed path.  We offer networking opportunities on our Networking page, but we do not have a system to set up chapters.  Rather, we encourage disabled musicians around the world to reach out and get together in a similar fashion and find their own ways to “fulfill their dreams.”

2.    Does CDM provide funding or scholarships?

    CDM does not directly provide either grants or scholarships, but we encourage other individual artists or nonprofit groups to investigate local funding through arts or handicapped organizations in their geographical areas.  CDM raises funds primarily through performance donations – currently, a major source for us is arts in education programs in the public schools.  We apply through the appropriate source, in our case, BOCES of Nassau and Suffolk counties in New York.  United Way and state and local arts councils are good sources as well.

3.    How can I contact other disabled musicians where I live and other helping organizations?

    The answer to question number one will be of assistance here, as well as the suggestions offered on our Networking page.  Our Links page can also provide some leads, and further searches on the internet can come up with chat groups, etc.  If there is a major organization that is dedicated to serving your particular disability, networking is possible there as well.  Local musical associations and performing groups, as well as songwriter’s clubs and open mike venues are worth checking out.  Musicians who happen to have disabilities are sometimes well integrated.

4.    Can you help me with adaptive equipment/computer software?

    On our Adaptive Gear page, we have listed and described some equipment that has been devised by our members and friends, as well as some items commercially available.  Adaptation is a very individual matter and one size does definitely not fit all.  We can call on some of our more inventive members who will make suggestions if you describe you situation in detail, but for more direct help, major music studios who deal in instruments, as opposed to selling cds, have music repair persons on staff who can assess your needs more directly.  Instruments such as “The Chapman Stick” ( have been brought to our attention.  Although this guitar, which is commercially available, is not in any way endorsed by CDM, it is an example of an ingenious ideal which might be just the thing for certain prospective guitarists who ordinarily have fingering difficulties.  Internet searches would be the most fruitful way to check on the latest in adaptive software since new products come up with astonishing frequency.  Also…..if you have an idea or recommendation for other musicians on adaptive gear, please let us know and we’ll share it on the site.