Accessible Music Technology and Practice Seminar

accessible music technology photo montage

On February 23rd Enable Ireland Assistive Technology Service and the Institute of Art Design and Technology (IADT) Dun Laoghaire will be holding an Accessible Music Technology and Practice Seminar. This is a rare opportunity for anybody interested in music and disability to hear a highly experienced range of speakers from Ireland, the UK and Norway who are involved in the design and development of accessible musical instruments/interfaces, the delivery of accessible musical education or in supporting musicians and performers with disabilities. Places are limited so advanced booking is essential.

For more details see electroAT.com/amtp where you will find the booking form and regular updates as the day approaches.

Who might be interested in attending?

  • Musicians or aspiring musicians with a disability.
  • Musicians or music therapists who work with people with disabilities.
  • Music teachers or community musicians interested in providing more inclusive classes and environments.
  • Therapists or anybody who works with or supports people with disabilities that would like to introduce music based activities.
  • Product or software designers interested in creating alternative musical instruments and interfaces.

Contributors

As you will see from the range of experience below this promises to be a very interesting group representing all areas from the design and development of accessible hardware and software to practice based experience of working with musicians with disabilities.

Dr Tim Anderson (inclusivemusic.org.uk ) – has been involved with developing technology and software for enabling people with disabilities to make music for the last 25 years. Over that time he has been Research and Development (R&D) manager and later Technology manager with Drake Music and more recently an independent consultant to the software developers as well as to schools, colleges, councils and individuals. Tim developed, sells and supports the E-Scape software system, that allows people to compose and play music unaided, whatever their physical ability or musical knowledge.

Elin SkogdalSKUG Centre, Norway. The SKUG Centre provides education and support for musicians with disabilities. They also offer training, education, demonstrations, and advice for teachers and supporters and participate in the development of specialist hardware and software for access to music making.

Dr Brendan McCloskey (Ulster University, School of Creative Arts and Technologies) is a musician and designer working closely with performers with disabilities. Having worked extensively a researcher and practitioner in the field of inclusive community music with Ulster University, Drake Music N. Ireland, Drake Music UK, Share Music Sweden and Stravaganza Production Company across the past 15 years, he has designed an innovative digital instrument for musicians with quadriplegic cerebral palsy. The instrument, called inGrid, was shortlisted for the Prix Ars Electronica one-handed musical instrument competition in November 2013, and selected as a finalist for the Margaret Guthman Prize run by Georgia Tech in Atlanta, January 2014. He will discuss the key innovations underpinning inGrid, and how they will be developed in the immediate future.

Brian Dillon (Unique Perspectives) designer and manufacturer of assistive technology solutions who along with Ruud van der Wel (MyBreathMyMusic) has developed accessible music technologies such as the Quintet and the Magic Flute. The Quintet is an exciting device that enables people with disabilities to play music using switches. Easy to use and set-up it is suitable for teachers, therapists, parents and others who want to use music in an activity with children or adults. It can be used with a group of people or by a single individual. The Magic Flute is an electronic musical instrument that enables people whose only reliable movement is the head and breath to play music. The flute is similar to a harmonica or slide whistle in that it requires no fingers to play and both note and expression can be controlled using the mouth.

Grainne McHale and Graham McCarthy from SoundOUT , a group based in Cork who provides inclusive music-making and performance opportunities for young people with and without disabilities in Ireland.

Jason Noone – music therapist active in clinical work, music therapy training/supervision and research. He is a member of the Music and Health Research Group at the University of Limerick. His clinical expertise are mainly in the area of developmental disability and research interests include sensory integration and music therapy, music technology for access and participation and participatory action research.

Koichi Samuels – PhD candidate based at the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC), Queen’s University Belfast. He is researching inclusive music practices and interfaces with Drake Music Northern Ireland, a charity that aims to enable musicians with physical disabilities and learning difficulties to compose and perform their own music through music technology.  Research interests include: inclusive music, DMIs, DIY/maker culture, critical design, HCI.

 

 

 

Accessible presents for Christmas

toy carFinding accessible toys may at first may seem a difficult task. However there are various options from toys that are switch adapted to toys that are accessible by the nature of their design. The following information has been prepared by Enable Ireland’s National Assistive Technology Service to show some of the options and resources that you might want to consider.

The toys shown are not necessarily recommendations but simply a selection of items which may be of interest, particularly at times such as Christmas and birthdays, when presents are high on the list of priorities.

Download Accessible Apps Games and Toys in pdf (1.4MByte)

Android Switch Access

Android Switch AccessSwitch access is now available in the new version of Android Lollipop version 5. This feature is design for people with limited access to the touch screen. Using externally connected switches a user can navigate around the home screen of the tablet, open apps, and navigate between clickable objects on the screen.  Within the accessibility settings you can choose options to use a single switch with auto scanning or two switches with step scanning.   There are also new features to improve the contrast of text and options to assist people who are colour blind.

A number of blue tooth switches and keyboards that can be used such as the Blue2 switch from AbleNet. Keys or switches can be assigned to actions such as start auto scan, click, long click, home, back etc. To get switch access started you need to first pair a bluetooth switch or keyboard and also enable Switch Access under accessibility.

A useful guide for setting up your new Android tablet is available from AbleNet.