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The robot musicians

29 November 2018

An overheard conversation on a commuter train led to an exciting new venture for the Manchester based Hallé orchestra.

Hallé’s Education Director, Steve Pickett, had listened in to Peter Green’s engineering discussion and rightly concluded that this was the person to bring his ideas to reality.

A partnership between the Orchestra and The University of Manchester’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, where Peter is a Senior Lecturer, was formed. The aim was to develop a completely new, electronically controlled, acoustic instrument for use with schoolchildren and people with dementia. It is widely recognised that music therapy can be used as a communication tool to help reduce anxiety and depression and maintain speech and language. The instrument would enable children and dementia patients to participate in creating music, allowing them to get involved with writing and devising, alongside the Hallé orchestra.

Peter Green says “Our outreach partnership with the Hallé orchestra will support the music education in schools, and is particulary effective for children with behavioural issues. Music has an extraordinary calming effect, and it enables children to interact in a different way. Music has patterns and rhythms, the same as maths, so before they know it they are learning maths by exploring music. We often start with a rap and it ends up with classicial – the roots of the music are the same.”

Read the full article in the December issue of DPA

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