Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

The Drake Music Project Northern Ireland: Providing Access to Music Technology for Individuals with Unique Abilities

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Abstract:  Across the UK, a growing number of charity organisations, social enterprises, academic researchers and individuals have developed music technology-based music workshops and projects utilising Accessible Music Technology to address the issue of access to music-making for people with disabilities. In this article, I discuss my ethnographic study of The Drake Music Project Northern Ireland (DMNI), a charity which provides music workshop opportunities in inclusive ensembles at the community level. My methodology of participant observation involved undergoing the training necessary to become an access music tutor for DMNI, attending workshops and conducting interviews with people throughout the organisation. Key findings were that consumer music technology devices that were not designed to be accessible to a wide spectrum of users could be made accessible through adapting them with other devices or different sensor interfaces more suitable for people with unique abilities and specific needs. Throughout my study I found that it was not in the design of music technology devices that made them accessible. Rather, meaningful music-making emerged through the interrelations between the access music tutors, workshop participants and the music technology interfaces in the workshop environment. The broader implications of DMNI music-making activities and effects on social inclusion are also discussed.

Keywords:  accessibility; design; digital; digital musical instruments; disability; music; music technology; social inclusion

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v7i1.1706


© Koichi Samuels. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.