The Accesible Music Project


Tutorials, Books, Articles and Orgonisations

I've have direct experience with some but not all of the following organisations so you will have to use your own judgment. However it does provide links to other folks who are involved in assistive music technology and supportive techniques.


Name   Details
The Amber Trust Providing musical opportunities for blind and partially sighted children, and children with more complex needs, via its Music Awards and Music Services.
Arcana Instruments Their vision is to make music accessible for everyone. "Our goal was to create an instrument that meets the special needs of those with physical and cognitive disabilities, children, elderly and other audiences, globally".
BIRT(aka DT) They offer a range of specialist residential, hospital and community based services for individuals with acquired brain injury, delivering high quality rehabilitation and support for people with complex needs across the UK. N.B. Was Brain Ijury Trust (BIRT), now (2023) THE DISABILITIES TRUST.
Bare Conductive How to get started in a variety of ways with Bare Conductives "Touchboard".
British Association of Music Therapists The British Association for Music Therapy (BAMT) is the professional body for music therapists and a source of information, support and involvement for the general public. Music therapy is an established clinical discipline which is widely used to help people whose lives have been affected by injury, illness or disability.
N.B. The title music therapist can only be used by those registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
Chiltern "Chiltern is an award-winning not-for-profit organisation that provides music therapy, arts in health and community music services to people of all ages and many different needs across the UK."
Different Strokes

Each year there are 100,000 strokes in the UK; 1 in 4 of these occurs in somebody of working age or younger. Different Strokes promotes independent stroke recovery, so younger stroke survivors can reclaim their lives. Different Strokes is run by younger stroke survivors for younger stroke survivors. We have personal experience of the realities of life after stroke. HQ in MK.

DM Labs Drake Music (London) proved an assitive music technology focused meet up. See also their accessible musical instrument collection.
Electric Umbrella "Challenging perceptions of people with learning disabilities by empowering and enriching lives through music." I've seen these folks in action and was very impressed with their group work. They also gave me an opportunity to field test my inventions.
Electro Schematics A curated educational projects community. The geared potentiomer item I've found useful.
Electronics Primer This website gives instructions on basic electronics which makie knowledge of this subject more accessiboe to a wider audience. The ifomatin is provided by Speedway Motors.
www.emiliegiles.co.uk Creative art and textiles. This shows what can be done with conductive fabrics.
Festive Road The make unique, mechanically-powered, giant puppets and structures." Our fusion of art and engineering brings imagination and technology together in ingenious and inspiring ways." They also allow me to "field test" my devices on their open days. I've used Adafruit SFX boards to give voice to dragons, lions and lunar landers.
Filisia Interfaces These folks folks have built a "field usable" assitive music device called Cosmo. Check it out on their website.

Their mission: To promote understanding of all aspects of brain injury and to provide information, support and services to people with a brain injury, their families and carer's. In addition, Headway will campaign to reduce incidence of brain injury.

HSE~Pat Testing Health and Safety Executive (UK) Portable Applience Testing FAQ's
Music Hack Space (London) "We are the Music Hackspace, a community of engineers, artists and companies with a passion to build innovative music experiences. We host online workshops and meetups from world leading experts on music, video instrument design and more."
Milton Keynes Maker Space (mkmakerspace) The Milton Keynes Maker Space (aka mkms). They meet every Monday and Wednesday evening from 6pm until late at Men in Sheds MK. They like to make things, chat about stuff and other bits and bobs.Theye are a friendly bunch who are looking to meet new people and gain more members(I have met them and attend regularly).
Nordoff and Robbins They deliver music therapy to a range of clients across the UK, including some of the most vulnerable people in society. We meet the growing need for music therapy by training music therapists and ensuring that their skills are not only maintained but developed. We research music-making and its potential to inform how we can support our clients and people in challenging situations.
TNMoC The National Museum of Computing (on the same site as Bletchley Par). As a volunteer there I'm able to pick a whole variety of brains when I'm stuck on some aspect of creating a new invention. Additionally I occasionally run "Sound Bytes" presentations which allow me to "field test" various devices and techniques.
NMPAT Northampton Music and Performing Arts Trust. They regularly hold the "Inclusive Ensemble".
Noise Solutions Noise Solution is digital, evidence-based, outcomes-driven and participant-led.
OHMI The One-Handed Musical Instrument Trust
Playtronica Provides assistive music tech and courses. Their mission :- "Playtronica explores and arouses curiosity by using music, play, and creative opportunities. With a simple human touch and the use of conductive materials and smart textiles, objects can transform into sounds."
The Royal Hospital for Neurodisability Their Vision: "That people with severe disability due to neurological impairment achieve their full life potential and enjoy the highest possible quality of life"
Skoog Music They have devloped a five sided pentatonic bounsible cube that interfaces with an iPad,
Soundbeam Soundbeam uses ultrasonic sensors to detect movement -  big or small - and translates this into sounds. It comes with pre-loaded 'soundsets' that range from tracks which allow the exploration and performance of different genres - blues, classical, to more improvisational soundscapes and other musical ways of playing. It is completely programmable so that the user can make changes to personalise the soundsets and save them. 
Sound Control

Sound Control is free software that can be used by anyone to create new musical instruments using their choice of movements, sensed with a variety of off-the-shelf devices (including webcam).

See also the Youth Music Network to access a link for a Widows version.

Additional versions for Mac, Windows plus some utilities can be found via GitHub.

Sonic Pi

Sonic Pi is a code-based music creation and performance tool.

Simple enough for computing and music lessons.
Powerful enough for professional musicians.
Free to download with a friendly tutorial.
Diverse community of over 1.8 million live coders.

Learn to code creatively by composing or performing music in an incredible range of styles from Classical & Jazz to Grime & EDM.

Brought to you by Sam Aaron and the Sonic Pi Core Team

TIME TIME is an alliance of Music Industry Organisations, Educators and Practitioners in U.K. We are dedicated to making sure that the great potential of Music Technology and Production is realised in Education.
The Spinal Injuries Association Their mission is to support all those affected by spinal cord injury by advising, educating and campaigning on their behalf. Article


Tutorials: Most suppliers provide examples of how their software or hardware works

Name Comments
Adafruit Excellent reference site. They supply a wide range of shields of which a more limited range can be find via UK based suppliers. They have an extensive range of tutorials showing how to make gadgets with Arduino's and their shields plus there is sample code to get you up and running.
Arduino Home of the Arduino, extensive tutorials. Download for the IDE (Integrated Development Environment) which allows you to program your Arduino. There is also the "Arduino Playground" e.g. another "Processing Example"
Dayton Audio Surface Transducer supplier, data sheets and technical advice.
Figurenotes (Drake Music Edinburgh).

These folks have a unique notation system to make playing music more accessible.

Fritzing This software allows you to create circuit diagrams from vector drawing of your breadboard designs. A lot of the Open Source circuit designs can be downloaded this way.
Maker Spaces These are places you can meet up with like minded developers. e.g. MK Makerspace. There is also DM Lab, a makerspace under the auspices of Drake Music (London).
MathWorks The source for MatLab and Simulink. A professional modeling package that now understands and can communicate with Arduino's. I tested it out with a 30 day trail product, it looks very promising. Cost a mint to buy but can be bought for "personal use" at a much lower cost. Check their site for the latest products and prices.
Processing This software was a forerunner the the Arduino IDE. In it's current form it allows you to export data from the Arduino back via the USB connection to a PC. This is how I currently "data log" and user activity.

As per Adafruit. Tutorial example - Connecting arduino via "Processing"

They have a good range of tutorials.


Topic Area Title Details
Arduino Getting Started with the Arduino, by Massimo Banzi, O'Reilly 2011 This assumes very little knowledge and is designed to get you started in a non-technical way. It is written by one of the co-founders of the Arduino project. The Arduino web site at http://www.arduino.cc/ gives further information and links.
Arduino Make: Getting Started with the Arduino, by Massimo Banzi, Makezine 2015 As immediately above both extra chapters and a wider range of Arduino's.
Arduino Programming Arduino: Next Steps Further sketches:- timing interrupts, interfaces, USB, internet, signal processing and multitasking.
Arduino Make: Arduino Bots and Gadgets Purchased as an extra reference into looking at alternative solutions plus some fun projects I might get into one day.
Arduino Arduino Cookbook, Michael Margolis, O'Reilly This 2nd edition is now started to get dated, but gives extensive technical detail to squeeze every last drop of functionality out of the Arduino.
Arduino Arduino tools and techniques (Jeremy Blum, Wiley,2013) In depth look at a range of Arduino's and how they interact with the world.
Arduino Arduino Workshop (John Bozall, No Starch Press, 2015?) Very hardware orientated, using shields and a range of interface techniques.
C Beginning C for the Arduino (Jack Purdam, Apress, 2012) In depth look at programming techniques that underpin the Arduino. Sometime the online help runs out of steam just when you are trying to solve a problem.
C++ Programming C++ Programming 2nd Addition ( Mark Lee, Cengage, 2009). A beginners guide to the C++ language, useful if you want to get into good practices behind programming, especially if you want to build libraries for Arduino based projects. It used MS Visual Studio 2010 which runs happily on Windows 7 and simultaneously with either Arduino IDE.
Fritzing. Fritzing for Inventors (Simon Monk, McGraw Hill, 2016) How to use open source design software to get from prototype to product.
Maths The Math Behind the Music (Leon Harkleroad, CUP, 2009). Some useful insights when you start mixing mathematics, music, physics, hardware and software.
MIDI MIDI Power, Robert Guerin, Course Technology, 2008 Invaluable for figuring out how MIDI works. This protocol is at the heart of the music technology used on the AMP's project.
Music Music for Special Kids (Pamela Ott, 2011) Some excellent advice on how to support people with different abilities to actively participate in musical activity.
Music Music Therapy and Group Work (Jessica Kingsly Publishers, 2005). This compilation is getting dated, but hives a context in the application of music therapy.
Music The Handbook of Music Therapy (Routlidge, 2009). As immediately above.
Music Technology Music Technology in Therapeutic and Health Settings (Magee 2014)

Essential reading. A collection of works on the subject, with some good does and don'ts. Two key pointers are explanations of why music technology has historically made poor inroads into music therapy. The other being to caution against it's inappropriate use.

Processing Getting Started With Processing (O'Reilly) A hands-on introduction to making interactive graphics. Of more importance the Processing Language helps to link interactivity with the Arduino based devices with a standard PC. This in turn enables data logging to be undertaken.
Processing Processing 2: Creative Programming Cookbook.(PACKT, Jan Vantomme). As above
Sensors Make: Getting Started with Sensors (Karvinen, Karvinen, Valtokari, Makezine 2014) Entry level use of sensors:- Potentiometers, ultrasound, infrared, photo resistors, thermometers and humidly.
Sensors Make: Sensors (Karvinen, Karvinen, Valtokari, Makezine 2014) A stimulating range of recipes for a wide range of sensors. Covers Arduino and Raspberry Pi.
Sensors Making Things Talk 2nd Ed (Tom Igoe, Makezine, 2011). An inspiring and informative set of Arduino based projects using sensors and a range of communication techniques to hear and feel the world.



Article Details
A holistic approach on the neurological benefits of music

Jimenez-Dabdoub L1, Catterall J.2016


A holistic perspective on human beings allows health carers to achieve an understanding of all the physiological, psychological and social disturbances of the patient as a whole. Through this article we wish to focus on how music has holistic neurological benefits. Music-therapy interventions can be more accessible and even "self-managed" by the patient's relatives. They can reinforce social cohesion, family ties and patients' self-esteem and thus produce a better quality of life. Overall, it is important to consider the benefits that an evolutionary understanding of musical behaviour and a holistic clinical perspective of the role of music may bring for rehabilitation of a wide range of symptoms and conditions.


MacIntyre The Inventor and Us Local Copy of the Article
Spinal Injuries Asociation Feb 2015 Article on my Accessible Music Project in their "Foreward" magazine. This led to the creation of the "tooth drum". see projects page.


Tutorials, Books, Articles and Orgonisations