Introducing the teams working on the Accessible Instruments Challenge

Let’s get up to speed 

Launched in June, the exciting Accessible Instruments Challenge has brought together a wide range of people with expertise in digital innovation and design technology, musical instrument making and lived experience of disability to focus on a series of practical and conceptual challenges that have the potential to materially improve access and inclusion in music making for disabled people. 

These people have been split into 8 teams who are currently working together virtually to address 8 specific challenges. The aim is to make adaptive musical instruments more affordable, make music education in schools more inclusive and uncover new solutions that haven’t been tried before! 

From Challenge Leaders and Collaborators to Advisers and Partners, there are now 49 incredible individuals taking part in this part of the IAMM initiative.

Without further ado, meet the teams and find out more about the challenges: 

Supply Chain for Schools

Supply chain - music

Challenge: How can we build an effective supply chain of adaptive instruments into schools, ensuring that disabled children are able to fully participate in music education?

Following the success of our Nottingham Pilot Programme with The OHMI Trust and Nottingham Music Hub, this project will focus on the challenge of building an effective national supply chain of adaptive musical instruments and assistive equipment to meet the needs of disabled children attending mainstream schools across the country. 

The Team 
  • Mary-Alice Stack – Chief Executive, Creative United
  • Angela Suh – Strategic Relationship Manager, Creative United
  • Paul McManus – CEO, MIA 
  • John Sandford – Retired Head of Music 
  • Adam Whittaker – Head of Pedagogy & Lecturer in Music, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
  • Rachel Griffiths – MA Music Education, Instrumental Teaching

“I am delighted to be a part of this team to explore ways we can get accessible instruments to the places where they are needed. There is already some great work in this field and I’m keen to help us take the next steps in reaching those who will benefit from it to realise their musical ambitions.” – Adam Whittaker

Virtual bandVirtual Band

Challenge: How can immersive technology remove the limitations that people with disabilities face with traditional instruments?

This challenge is about exploring and questioning the use of immersive technology to remove the limitations that people with disabilities face with traditional instruments, and aim to make playing and learning music more accessible and inclusive.

The Team: 
  • Ewan Morrison – Head of Visualisation, Hobs 3D
  • Kadine James – Creative Tech Lead, Hobs 3D
  • Billy Payne – Music Educator
  • Martina Fatato – Designer
  • Kat Kuczynski – Deputy Head, Glamorgan Music School
  • Sarah Dunn – Music Teacher, Saltaire Music Tuition
  • Junkerry – Composer, producer and musician
  • Allen Namiq – Real Time Artist, Hobs 3D

“I am passionate about bringing music into people’s lives by helping remove the barriers that stop opportunities.” – Kat Kuczynski

ClarinetOne-Handed Clarinet

Challenge: How can we improve the fabrication process and solve supply chain issues to make a one handed clarinet more accessible?

This team is focusing on a fabrication/supply chain challenge. Their aim is to improve production times and move away from the handcrafted, made to order model that currently exists. Could the production principles be applied to other instruments e.g. saxophone, can it be adapted to both Left hand alone; Right hand alone, and how can we meet unmet demand?

The Team
  • Sharon Jones – Eagle Lab Engineer, Barclays Eagle Lab
  • Peter Worrell – Woodwind Instrument Maker
  • Clare Salters – Woodwind Tutor
  • Hannah Williams – Export Sales & Operations Coordinator, The British Band Instrument Company
  • Sophie Hyman – Prop/Model Maker

 “I am passionate about inclusion and accessibility and delighted to find a project that combines music, accessibility and engineering.” – Sharon Jones

trombone standTrombone Stand

Challenge: How can we standardise the production of a bespoke moulded Trombone stand to enable mass production?

The OHMI Trust had a winning trombone stand in their competition last year made by Swiss maker, Thomas Tschirren. The issue is that the shell is moulded around the player and this is currently only possible via multiple trips to Switzerland.  This team is attempting to develop solutions to enable production to be standardised and reduce the need for bespoke creation of the shell.

The Team
  • Thomas Tschirren – Hospital of Solothurn, Switzerland
  • Tim Low – Assistant Manager, The OHMI Trust
  • Chris Fower – Director of Creativity and Innovation, Warwick Music Group

“My ambition is that the team will learn from potential users and existing best practice to develop and innovate a trombone stand that can be economically and sustainably produced allowing a new cohort of children and adults to experience the fun of playing the trombone and the joy of making music!” – Chris Fower

Sound deskMultisensory Production

Challenge: How can we redesign music production for a visually impaired person?

This challenge is all about adapting mainstream music production software for use by visually impaired music producers and engineers, enabling them to practice their craft with maximum efficiency thereby allowing them to compete on an equal footing with their non-disabled counterparts.  

The Team
  • Richard Llewellyn – UK Education Manager, Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH
  • Owain Wilson – Co-Founder, Digit Music
  • Jason Dasent – Music Producer 
  • David Ward – Managing Director,  TiME UK: Technology in Music Education

“Not enough people are aware of all the fantastic solutions that are being found and made available. With over 15% of the global population being classified as disabled, things need to change!” – Richard Llewellyn

RecorderOne-Handed Recorder

Challenge: How can we improve upon the design and production processes of the existing 3D printed one handed recorder?

A 3D printed version of the one-handed recorder has already been produced and successfully trialled in the Nottingham Pilot by The OHMI Trust. This challenge is working on the production/design and looking at how best to improve the small scale production of the existing recorder.

The Team
  • Paul Yeomans – Senior CAD/CAM Trainer, Birmingham City University – Technology Hub
  • Liz Wrighton – Freelance Musician
  • Rachel Wolffsohn – General Manager, The OHMI Trust
  • Simone Reid – Recorder Performer and Teacher, Polyphonica Recorder Trio
  • Grace Barton – Musician, Polyphonica Recorder Trio
  • Michael Piraner – Musician, Polyphonica Recorder Trio
  • Luis Zayas – PhD, Queen Mary, University of London

“Knowing the positive impact access to one of these instruments can have, and having seen the design of the recorder develop over the past few years, I’m really excited to see where the Challenge could take us next and the opportunities it could provide for more young musicians!” – Liz Wrighton

BagpipeBagpipe Chanter (Digital)

Challenge: How can we refine the prototype electronic interface that significantly improves the accessibility of the bagpipe?

During this electronics/engineering challenge, the team will build on the work of a young student who is playing a prototype bagpipe chanter. They will aim to complete the product design and further refine the electronics. Depending on progress over the next month, this could evolve into a coding challenge for the app.

The Team
  • Sean M. Tracey – Developer Advocate; Tech Focal for Innovation, International Business Machines
  • Duncan Menzies – P-bROCK Developer
  • Courtney Reed – Research Student (PhD), Queen Mary University of London 

 “So far, two young people in the UK have started learning with a prototype of the one-handed chanter, and I’m very keen to refine the interface and have it ready for production/delivery as soon as possible!” – Duncan Menzies

Violin + bowViolin Bow Holder

Challenge: How can a prosthesis that enables bow control be redeveloped into a modular device (hand/wrist/forearm) to reduce the bespoke part to the attachment to the body?

Lots of people with limb differences have limbs that stop at different points but need a device that attaches to a bow at one end and their arm at another end. This team is looking to discover solutions that can allow production of a modular device with the minimum amount of bespoke attachments as possible, in order to allow for fast production and greater reach.

The Team
  • Nate Macabuag – Lead Designer, Mitt Wearables Ltd
  • Ruth Lester – Honorary Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital NHS FT
  • Rachel Wolffsohn – General Manager, The OHMI Trust
  • Yaning Wu – Student, University College London
  • Lindsay Higgs – Guitar Teacher
  • Linda Crisp – Teacher

 “This project is a great way of taking an existing piece of equipment and moving it on to the next stage thus making it possible for far more people to participate in music-making alongside their peers.” – Rachel Wolffsohn

For more information on the challenges, in-depth biographies of the people involved, details of the organisations taking part and further updates, please click the button below:
accessibleinstruments.com
Team

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