Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Technology Tuesday

Today’s Technology Tuesday comes from Chris Baumgart, Imagine!’s Assistive Technology Specialist. Chris provides us the latest edition of a little segment he likes to call “Chris’s Corner.” Thanks, Chris! 

Chris’s Corner
"Down on the corner…Out in the Street…"

Coming to you straight from Imagine! CORE/Labor Source’s (CLS) own Boulder Adaptive Orchestra: “Give Us a Beat!”

The Adaptive Orchestra, which meets weekly at Imagine!'s Boulder CLS site, focuses on teaching a variety of skills to the individuals it serves. Many of the skills taught are what you’d expect to find in any music class: theory, note recognition, group performance, musical expression, and so many more. These skills can be taught any number of ways, as you can see by the simple adaptation featured below, used to teach specific keyboard keys that apply to specific scales.

Additionally, and this is where I get excited, this class is always challenged to find new and creative ways to engage its students, as well as broadening areas of inclusion for everyone. This has led to a number of new tools, ranging anywhere from iPad apps that allow more individuals to play virtual instruments in an arrangement, to digital drum pads, to MIDI controllers, and more. The newest introduction to this inclusive tool kit now turns DynaVox communication devices into dynamic music monster machines!

Shown below is a traditional MIDI Controller.

These controllers allow participants to press any of the buttons you see pictured, and each button sends a unique signal that is associated with various musical notes (from a range of virtual instruments), in addition to other samples and loops. However, the necessity of physically pressing the buttons presents a challenge to many individuals, and may hinder individuals (especially those using a communication device) from participating.

Now, by using the AccessIt interface pictured below, individuals are able to use their communication devices to mimic many of the same signals that a typical MIDI controller would transmit.

The user page shown above is a basic page set to transmit ten different unique signals that are easy to use and easy to customize, thus taking inclusive music performance and composition to a whole new horizon.

Stay tuned for video of footage of these sessions in action!

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