Designing a Music Creation Tool for Music Therapists

This research applies an action research approach to develop new music technologies by co-designing with the music therapists.

Jammin’! Workshops

Four Jammin’! Co-design workshops were organized in 2011. The purpose of the arranging the workshops was to find answers to the question how concepts could be developed from user research, technological development and marketing plan perspective. In the workshops we put an emphasis on creating relaxed atmosphere by e.g. playing jazz music on background. We also offered coffee, tasty food and refreshments over the day. By providing inspirational environment, and thus widening the traditional idea of teamwork and the workspace we expected the stakeholders to feel comfortable to work together.

jammin'! Collage
Figure 1: Co-Design tasks carried together with the stakeholders of the project:
engineers, designers and music therapists meet

One of the resulting design proposals focused on improving the adoption of novel technologies in a music therapy context. By means of the guitars, the users are able to participate in various musical activities; they are able to play prepared musical compositions without extensive training, play together and perform for others.

The proof-of-concept software utilizes Guitar Hero guitar controllers, and the software allows the music therapist to personalize interaction mappings for the physical guitars through custom made software (Figure 2).


Figure 2. Music Creation Tool: a screenshot of an interface

In figure 3 is represented a GUI interface of the custom made software.


Figure 3. Music Creation Tool: a screenshot of an interface

User research studies included the evaluation of the tool and research for performance opportunities. You may watch concept and research video through the video below (Video 1).

Video 1. Music Creation Tool: research and concept video.

The research outcomes has also been published in International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression [1].

[1] Luhtala, M, Kymäläinen, T & Plomp, J. (2011) Designing a Music Performance Space for Persons with Intellectual Learning Disabilities, Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression, pp. 429–432, 2011.

You may download the paper from the NIME archive.

Research Context and Working Group

This research has been conducted in the context of Eureka/ITEA DIYSE (Do It Yourself Smart Experiences) -project

VTT, Human Technology Interaction for Wellbeing team

- Matti Luhtala (concept design, sound design, Co-Design facilitator, programming)
- Johan Plomp (concept design, team leader)
and product management)
- Tiina Kymäläinen (usability testing)
- Timo Urhemaa (programming)

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