Re new 2013 conference proceeding

Page 140


Conductive Music: building DIY drum synths, drawing digital music notation, and designing for urban youth Ms. Emily Robertson,1 Dr. Enrico Bertelli2 1

Queen’s University Belfast, Sonic Arts Research Centre Belfast, Northern Ireland (UK) Emily Robertson,


University of York

York, England (UK)

RE—NEW 2013


Dr. Enrico Bertelli,

Abstract. The Conductive Music project, scheduled to occur in multiple sessions over the 20132014 academic year, is a workshop series designed to engage at-risk urban youth in the construction and performance of electronic drum synth instruments based on Makey Makey boards and household items such as kitchenware and fruit. The workshops incorporate software and hardware gained from the Open Source Software communities and techniques from drama and contemporary music notation. These activities impart positive skills through multi-media content delivery for all learning types. The Conductive Music project’s goal is to open up the world of electronic music performance to a new generation of young artists and to replace negative social behaviours with creative outlets for expression.

1. Conductive Music Conductive Music is a series of workshops during which electronic components and commonplace objects are transformed into personalised musical instruments. We pitched the tone of the sessions for mainstream school students at risk of exclusion, living in poverty, or those who are refugees and asylum seekers and ESL students. We will be able to reach this specific pool of students thanks to our partners, Newham Music Trust which, as the music hub for the London borough of Newham, has built strong connections with secondary schools and concentrates its efforts with those in deprived areas. Our goal is to boost their personal artistic potential, nurturing self-confidence and self-esteem, by providing creative and technical skills. Coding, instrument design and fabrication, sound design, teamwork, composition and performance will provide essential training for various employment paths and provide an environment where achievement substitutes delinquency or violence, for those at risk [2]. The first portion of this two-day workshop is designed to showcase the possibilities that lie in the technology and objects that surround us, proposing an ‘enhanced interface which acts as a liberator, or an augmentation of creative potential’ [4]. Kitchenware, food, random objects will be featured, illuminated in a different light through a technological lens (See Figure 1). For the student, a messy room will be transformed into a palette of timbres, which will entice the most uninterested and satisfy the most demanding. The second day will culminate with the showcase performance, an experience which will provide a platform to share, comment and receive feedback among peers. Conductive Music will have wider impact as well: expanded outreach of partner institutions such as the aforementioned Newham Music Trust (London) and Art-parkING (St Petersburg), complementing organisers’ current work in the field and providing professional development opportunities for young artists.

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