Music Teacher and Educational Technology Consultant Audrey Podmore discusses using MIDIcreator with patients with neuro-disabilities.
This case study was previously hosted on the MIDIcreator-Resources website and is dated according to it’s original submission to that site.
MIDIcreator is a marvellously versatile resource which I have used across a wide range of age and ability levels. Recently, I have been facilitating music-making by patients in a neuro-disability hospital and, as usual, I have found many uses for this ‘little box of tricks’.
Around Christmas time, a favourite activity is always performing “Silent Night” with an accompaniment of small tuned handbells and bells triggered by switches connected to Creator. Silent Night uses just three chords, so the note C, F or G is triggered when the conductor points at the player(s). We also play various bell chimes on the notes C,B,A and G, taking it in turns to determine the sequence in which the bells will be sounded and, where possible, conducting the ensemble.
One of the patients has sufficient movement to use MIDIgesture, a movement sensor which allows a ‘player’ to control the pitch of the MIDI output. With this connected to a Blues scale programmed into Creator, he is able to create ‘jazz guitar’ solos, playing improvised duets with me on flute.
Another patient has used a ‘drumkit’ controlled from four or five mini-switches. Previously, I found this arrangement very helpful when working with young people with muscular dystrophy who had insufficient range of movement to play the real thing. Of course, it is also useful in the many situations where an acoustic drumkit is not available!
At one time, we had an ex-guitarist who was able to use 5 mini-switches to play chords to accompany songs. With the switches, he could play the five most frequently used chords in any key, the key being transposed on the instrument connected to Creator’s MIDI output.
MIDIcreator was one of the pieces of equipment used in my research for the study, “Music Technology and Curriculum Access“, in which I used the same hardware & software resources across a wide range of age and ability levels. I used it from pre-school to adult education, with youngsters who had profound/multiple learning difficulties and with expert musicians struck down by physical disability. It has really proved its worth and I wouldn’t want to be without it, now!