New Eyes


“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”
~Marcel Proust

It’s difficult to sum up three months’ worth of experience in one blog post, so hold onto your trousers and jumpers while I attempt it! (You can read a bit more about how I ended up at Drake Music in one of my earlier posts).

I think Proust’s quote adequately sums up my experience in London. This being my first adventure outside of North America, certainly I was excited to seek new landscapes, especially one with such a rich history! However, the real voyage has been the acquisition of knowledge, experience, and indeed, a new perspective.

Three months ago I set out to London to learn about assistive music technology (AMT). AMT was theegoal. However, while the AMT is exciting and innovative, one of the common threads throughout my interactions with DM staff and associate musicians has been that the AMT is simply a means to an end, it’s NOT the end all be all.

More important than learning how to set up a Soundbeam, is having my eyes opened to the reality that a large majority of disabled people don’t have access to proper music education (check out Jonathan’s earlier post) or music resources and experiences. Let’s take a moment to revisit DM’s vision, which states: “non-disabled people can make music in many ways and at many different levels. Our vision is a world where disabled people have the same range of opportunities, and a culture of integrated music-making, where disabled and non-disabled musicians work together as equals.” While AMT might be one solution for many, it’s by no means a one size fits all solution.

This internship has been a unique and fantastic experience. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know many wonderfully creative minds, learn about various innovative approaches to making music, discuss different viewpoints and terminology related to disability (UK vs. US), learn about developing and sustaining a non-profit organization, and observe DM associate musicians in a variety of settings. My student project was to begin collating information about the AMT used at DM into a single resource.

So, am I now an expert in setting up and using the Soundbeam? Well… no, not really. However, has the flame been lit to continue building on my knowledge and raising awareness to increase access to music back home? Absolutely! I’m not quite sure how that will look at this point since my career hasn’t taken off just yet, but I’m excited to see what the future brings.

A warm thank you to DM for sharing your knowledge with me, and for welcoming me into your creative, enthusiastic, and lovely musical family! All best wishes!


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