Improvising Across Abilities, Media, Communities

AUMI in Lawrence Public Schools, 2012-2013

            Elizabeth Boresow
 
During the 2012-2013 school year, Music Therapists at Lawrence Public Schools participated in beta testing for a new development by the Deep Listening Institute.  These therapists had the opportunity to use the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument (AUMI) software on the district's Music Therapy iPads.  
 
The AUMI application provided a new experience for some of Lawrence's students with more significant disabilities: the opportunity to play a musical instrument...without assistance.  No velcro cuffs were used to help students grasp an instrument, no extra hands were required to put students through the motions of playing an instrument, and at no time did the students' "disabilities" keep them from using the software.  The iPad's forward-facing camera allowed the student's independent movements to generate sounds.  The job of the Music Therapist became simply to experiment with settings for vision and sound to tailor them to the needs of each student.  By attending to students' facial and motor responses, musical preferences of the students could also be ascertained!

Music Therapy staff at LPS attended the Fall 2012 AUMI training in order to better understand the program.  Throughout the year, LPS provided feedback on the software's features and usability.  Suggestions were incorporated, bugs were fixed, and the usefulness of the app continued to grow.  
 
Due to the needs of each student and the responsibilities of the therapists, extended amounts of time with the AUMI could not be provided for any of the four students who were exposed to it.  However, this writer remains convinced that there is a wide applicability of the AUMI software.
 

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Performance this Friday!

Please join us Friday, August 11th at  5:30 for a 30-45 minute performance, followed by audience feedback and discussion.  The performance features Jesse Stewart and the Wooden Snap Dragons Ensemble.