Meeting and general research

A few links/notes/research gathered from what I have looked at myself and from the meeting with Matthew and Beth:

  • Bloom – This is an app that has ambient music and simple interactivity by just tapping the screen and making a pattern appear – quite therapeutic, this is exactly what I had in mind when thinking of designing an musical app.
  • PYKA – ‘A group of digital artist educators’ who have built musical apps Pyka_loop and Pyka_walk to push forward creative learning in schools.
  • Drake Music (DM LAB) – An organisation based around London, Bristol and Birmingham that aims to help people with disabilities become musicians themselves with accessible technology and creating better opportunities with music making.
  • Apollo Ensemble – A PC software designed to easily link movement with sounds, lights, media in general and sensory equipment – looks like a very simple piece of software to use, and is mainly supported in organisations for people with physical or learning difficulties so they can really interact with music in an easier way.
  • Soundbeam – ‘An award-winning ‘touch free’ device which uses sensor technology to translate body movement into music and sound.‘ It is a renowned product in the music tech therapy industry to help literally anyone to create music ‘regardless of their impairments or disabilities‘.
  • Music & Memory – I was researching about music therapy for people with alzheimer’s disease and came across this interesting non-profit organisation who train carers and nurses at nursing homes to create personalised playlists on iPods people who struggle with dementia to enable them to ‘to reconnect with the world through music-triggered memories’. There is an intriguing video to watch on the website about a man called Henry who struggles with the disease and his response to listening to the music that he knows. Definitely something to look into on opportunities with music therapy and care homes.
  • OHMI (One-Handed Musical Instrument)- A UK-based charity who look into developing or adapting musical instruments for physically disabled people. They do a competition each year for people to create such instruments to enable a playable one-handed instrument.
  • Roger Linn’s LinnStrument MIDI Controller – Watch from 0:30 onwards for explanation, love that it is so easy to use, I thought about making a touch sensitive product though the idea is basically this with all the instruments in one, however I would probably try to make it even simpler as my target audience would be towards children/elderly/disabled.
  • Adapt-IT – An organisation that helps aid people with disabilities with various products as iPad accessories for easier use.
  • Enabling Devices Chart – I came across this chart which gave some insight into what kind of app or product works well in learning, interacting and developing skills for young children.
  • Electric Paint – An article from MAKE: on about Bare Conductive‘s Electric Paint and Touch Board which has been combined to make a product or demonstration of musical playing ability for anyone. Last year we had a module which included looking upon this conductive paint and I used it for a project in which I made essentially a Musical Box which I will link here. I loved the idea of making pretty much anything you wanted with this paint and would definitely use it again in future projects if I can. Also I would highly recommend checking out Bare Conductive’s site which I have linked above, some really cool products anyone could use to help create a product themselves.
  • Skoog – A musical instrument which is wirelessly connected to an iPad via bluetooth, I liked the design of the product, looks simple and easy to play around with.
  • Accessible Music Education by Jonathan Westrup and Emma Lines – A PDF document guide to all the different kinds of organisation and help around the UK for music education for people with disabilities. It would be impossible to link them all in this post but there are some great links in there such as Touch Trust and Visible Music for the South Wales area and general Wales with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales
  • Upbeat Music – A local organisation who work with both adults and children with learning difficulties who do workshops in many schools in the area.
  • Andy Pidcock – Runs creative workshops using his expertise in helping people with learning difficulties to create a relationship with music.
  • Beth also mentioned a Ruth Bradshaw who runs a music group called Vibrant Voices for adults with learning disabilities based at the Spectwm Community Centre in Fairwater, Cardiff. I found that they actually have a few cover songs on bandcamp, good to show a coming together through music.
  • Hijinx Theatre – Another great place to look at, a professional theatre company based in Cardiff who work alongside people with learning disabilities. Many great activities such as ‘Creative Choices’ to help develop skills through drama and ‘Odyssey’ where they meet as a group weekly to work on their annual Christmas production. Beth mentioned as with many of these organisations that she could put me in contact if I wanted, it would definitely be a good opportunity to do for sure.
  • ‘Introduction to Music Therapy’ Workshop: 6th May 2017 – Mentioned in the meeting, there is a one day workshop I think originally meant to be based in the Treforest campus but has now been updated to Newport Campus for an introduction to Music Therapy. This is something I would be interested in going to, however, as it is around the days of my two major projects it is probably unlikely that i’ll be able to attend, though will keep an eye out for something similar to come up at a later date.
  • Wendy Magee’s Music Technology Used in Therapeutic and Health Settings (2014) – I read Chapter 2 Definitions of Devices and Resources (with contributor Robert E. Krout). This was given to me by Beth Pickard for some extra research and was a good read for useful tips when using various types of music technology in this type of work environment and what to think about when choosing a particular type of instrument e.g drum machine or MIDI controller, using devices on the go like an iPad, determining a musical software and other recording, listening or additional devices for therapeutic settings.
    • Alongside this Chapter, I was also given Marcus Campbell’s findings of Which iPad apps are proving to be useful in music therapy? (2013). This includes some pie charts showing app relevancy in music therapy sessions, what types of apps are popular to use for certain client groups, in which the most popular app firstly being garageband and bloom as second, what are the pros and cons from the users themselves e.g. really accessible and useful for this environment but can be distraction or too addictive. Some good findings here when researching about apps and what makes them popular, recommend the read from both.

Magee, W. (Ed) (2014), Music Technology in Therapeutic and Health Settings, London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Campbell, M. (2013), Which iPad Apps Are Proving to be Useful in Music Therapy?, Unpublished.


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