Print me a musical instrument please …

On Saturday I attended DMLabChallenge – a fantastic Drake Music collaborative workshop for both disabled musicians and hackers/technologists.

DM crew at the Landing

Held at Media City, ‪DMLabChallenge‪  explored the possibility bespoke instruments tailored to the needs of the individual. Trialled in London, the first DMLab led to the successful production a number of bespoke instruments – such as the marvellous Kellycaster.

The aim of the challenge is to commission four joint proposals from one musician and a technologist.  Each pair will work together on an idea for a brand new musical instrument, tool or innovative piece of music.

As a practicing sound artist with limited dexterity, this is certainly something I’m very interested in exploring.

I came to sound art through deejaying and manipulating sound using mixing software and assisted technology.   Although the actual software has improved over the last few years, it is still difficult for me to find the right controllers.  As my sound art practice develops, I feel I would benefit from a bespoke controller so I can work faster and/or create live pieces.

The current alternatives to ‘standard’ controllers, aimed at disabled people, are often too bulky for me or extremely expensive. This problem of ‘added cost’ is one of many issues Drake Music has been trying to address through their innovation Labs. For example, using low-cost technologies such as Arduino, MaKey MaKey and Touch Board.

One of the highlights of Saturdays workshop was the 3D printing demonstration delivered by James Medd  .  I was particularly excited by the thought of producing bespoke controller add-ons via 3D printing.

I would really recommend the next workshop to any disabled musician, deejay or music producer.  Particularly people experiencing barriers accessing mainstream instruments/technology.

The next workshop is on Sunday 26th February 1.30pm-3.30pm
 at the Picturehouse Bar, Band on the Wall, 25 Swan Street, M4 5J.

Deadline for the proposals Sunday 19th March at midnight.

Register via Eventbrite: https://dmlabnorthwestcollaborate2.eventbrite.co.uk

For more info email:  carolinechurchill@drakemusic.org