Instruments are for playing, not holding!

Part 2: Stringed Instruments

True or False: Cellos are always played with the strings perpendicular to the floor.  

False!

All you need is ingenuity, perseverance, and a cello stand.

Inga and Elena play cello adaptively.  They use their left feet to bow and their right feet to press on the fingerboard.  Inga and Elena use stands for their cellos to keep them stable and at the proper height.  The stands were made by May We Help, an organization of engineers who volunteer their time and talent to make adaptive devices for people with disabilities.  The Play Foundation is a non-profit that provides grant money for children with limb differences to pursue the arts and athletics, and they funded the construction of these stands.  

Aly is one of the most spirited children I’ve ever met.  She also plays the cello.  Since Aly has a condition which limits the range of movement in her arms, she cannot play the typical way.  Instead, she plays with the cello on a stand.  

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Cellos are not the only string instruments which can be played on a stand.  What about guitars?

Don Jaeger and the folks at the Coalition for Disabled Musicians, Inc. have been creating solutions for decades.  About 25-30 years ago, Don made a stand for bass guitarist, Jake.  He used part of a guitar stand and the bottom of a drum stand!

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Through the Coalition for Disabled Musicians, I learned about a few guitar stands currently on the market.  Check them out!

The MBrace Stand works for acoustic guitars, electric guitars, bass guitars, and roundback instruments played right-handed or left-handed.

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The Performer is a stand for acoustic guitars.

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Do you use a support for playing an instrument?  Leave a comment and share your solution!

Recorders for All: Affordable Recorder Adaptations

Calling all children with limb differences!  Test an instrument made just for you!

In 2013, Peter Worrell adapted a soprano recorder which allowed me to play the full range of the instrument.  This project was funded by the Play Foundation, an organization that provides grant money for amputees to participate in the arts and athletics.  

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Suddenly, it was possible for me to play recorder!  It was exciting, yet I wondered:

Is there a way to customize recorders for all children with limb differences?

I had to contact many instrument makers and apply for grant money to get an adapted instrument.  Is there an easier way?  What if customizable parts could be made with a 3D printer?

My dream is on its way to becoming a reality!

I am partnering with Claudia Truesdell and Kevin Hale, engineers at Makers4Good, to create a cost-effective way to customize soprano recorders for people with limb differences!  The current prototype has a detachable key that attaches to a plastic support.  Our goal is to create keys specific to each hole so the user can operate one or multiple keys with one finger (or arm).  

This is where we need you!

We are looking for children and adults with limb differences to test out prototypes.  Are you interested?  Check out the project page or leave a comment and I will get in touch with you!

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