imagine 2017

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The Adaptive Use Musical Instrument (AUMI): A Useful App for Inclusive Practice

Abbey Dvorak Ph.D., MT-BC and Sherrie Tucker Ph.D. University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

What is the AUMI? The Adaptive Use Musical Instrument (AUMI) is a downloadable software interface that transforms any computer, laptop, or Apple mobile device with a front-facing camera into a musical instrument. Participants create sound by moving in front of the screen. The camera-tracking feature follows body movements, which in turn, trigger preselected sounds (Deep Listening Institute, 2015). The impetus for the AUMI’s creation came from occupational therapist Leaf Miller, who led a weekly drum circle for children with narrow range of voluntary movement and was concerned about the many participants who required hand-over-hand assistance. She wanted a way for everyone to autonomously participate. Developers at the Deep Listening Institute and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute designed the AUMI to adapt to small movements--the tilt of a chin, a slight movement of a finger, or a side-to-side

imagine 8(1), 2017

sway--thus enabling all bodies to access the entire range of the instrument (Oliveros, Miller, Heyen, Siddall, & Hazard, 2011; Pask, 2010). Originally led by renowned composer Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016), an international team continues to support, develop, and maintain the instrument, and to ensure that it remains affordable, adaptable to every body, and a wonderful tool for artists, teachers, students, and clinicians.

The AUMI in Clinical Practice The AUMI is a flexible, accessible, and adaptable intervention that may be used effectively by clinicians in a therapeutic setting. Music therapists and occupational therapists observed improved physical, social, cognitive, and emotional outcomes in children with severe physical and neurodevelopmental disabilities as a result of individual and group music making using the AUMI (Finch, LeMessurier Quinn, &


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