In Ireland, an orchestra for young people with disabilities

Posted on: February 7, 2019

“It would have been inconceivable a generation ago that somebody with an intellectual disability or a physical disability inhibiting fine motor skills would be able to participate” in an orchestra, writes Ronan McGreevy in Thursday’s (2/7) Irish Times. “Le Chéile, an initiative of the Creative Ireland program and the Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM), will change that. The Open Youth Orchestra of Ireland will be the first in the country exclusively made up of musicians with disabilities. It will also [draw] members from the four provinces separately, before coming together as a full orchestra … Those participating include musicians with Down syndrome, autism and cerebral palsy. The orchestra will use a technique devised by Dr. Denise White of Ulster University … which will rely on the use of 18 gestures agreed upon by all the musicians…. The orchestra will create its own music…. Adaptive music technology (AMT) uses tablets, iPads and mobile phones to create music. It is a technology well suited to children who otherwise would not be able to learn a conventional instrument. The orchestra will be made up of musicians playing conventional instruments and those using new technology.”

Posted February 7, 2019