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Posts Tagged ‘needs’

Skoog The Inclusive Musical Instrument that is Going Mainstream

Image shows the "Skoog" - a white foam cube with convex semicircles in primary colours on each side.

A curious little cube – the Skoog is a truly accessible musical instrument!

Skoog – The Squishy Cube that is Now Available on the Apple Store!

We have been big fans of skoog since we first saw it and are thrilled to see it breaking through into mainstream use, and now  it is EVEN AVAILABLE ON THE APPLE STORE! 

The Skoog is a curiously titled electronic device that, when combined with computer software, can bring the world of art and music to life for those with learning difficulties and physical disabilities.

“What exactly is a Skoog?!” I hear you ask – well, the Skoog is a soft, durable cube with coloured convex semi-circles on each side that work as buttons. It is made from a tactile and squeezable foam that really appeals to sensory desires, and when the “buttons” are pressed (or hit, tapped and even if the Skoog is shaken-about!) musical notes are created through the computer software.

Skoog Video from The Apple Store – all music featured made using a Skoog

The Skoog has been created to be easy to use and implement at home or in an educational setting – so simple to set-up, it simply connects to either PC or Mac via USB and once you have the correct software installed, you’re away!

The simplicity of usability of the Skoog makes it ideal for children and adults with learning difficulties or physical impairments, especially in comparison to traditional, conventional instruments. The sounds that can be created are endless, from the smooth, airy notes of a flute, to the warm pluck of Spanish guitar strings – all these creative noises and more are literally at fingertips of anyone who uses it.

Image of a man in an orange t-shirt, with the Skoog on a table in front of him, as he holds the USB lead out towards the camera

So simple to install and use – just plug ‘n’ play via USB, and you’re away!

What’s more is that the Skoog can be activated using any body-part (such as the chin, elbow, feet etc), which adds further accessibility for those with limited movement and dexterity, or those with physical disabilities.

The Skoog is itself touch-sensitive, and this setting can easily be altered whenever needed through the advanced software used to create the musical output for the Skoog. This not only enables the user to pick an instrument of choice to experiment with, but also allows for further creative expression – changing the timbre and force with which the notes are produced, providing endless scope for creating musical art.

The Skoog is a fantastic and innovative creative tool that has helped many children and adults around the world create music and art with ease, providing them with confidence, a sense of progress and achievement, and not to mention, an abundance of musical fun!

Pioneered by Disabled Musicians

Amongst the many pioneering electronic musicians who champion the Skoog as an instrument of choice is Charlotte White. Charlotte had an accident when she was in her early teens, and although it took a lot of strength and courage, she was determined to continue on her musical journey that she started before the accident.

Charlotte’s muscular-neuro disease has made it difficult to use musical instruments in the traditional way, but with the help of a number of innovative technologies such as the Skoog, she has been given the chance to create music again and be part of a number of orchestras and ensembles that have performed across the globe.

Charlotte is currently working on a new composition using the Skoog, and you can see photos of her performing with the Paraorchestra in Qatar here, along with a little help from her trusty Trabasack (or “Trabba” as Charlotte calls it! 🙂

The Skoog Goes Mainstream

Although the Skoog is of course ideal for aiding those with disabilities to creatively express themselves, it is also proving to be quite a hit as a versatile, mainstream musical instrument.

Image is split into 4 distinct sections - at the top orange background with "VOCALS" in text, Brett's head in headphones singing. Three bottom sections are green, blue and red from left to right. Reading "GUITAR, DRUMS, BASS" each one showing band member playing the Skoog for each instrument.

The Brett Domino Trio demonstrate the true versatility of the Skoog.

Fantastic news is that the Skoog is now available to purchase directly from the mainstream outlet of the Apple Store across Europe. The Skoog’s quirky design and unusual usability is sure to appeal to many at-home maestros and professional instrumentalists alike – and moreover, can now be purchased so simply with just a few clicks!

To illustrate the creative possibilities of the Skoog, watch the video below of the inimitable Brett Domino, doing a rather idiosyncratic cover version of the OutKast hit “Hey Ya!”

The Skoog reviewed in Future Music Magazine

graphic of a text [panel describing the skoog

The Skoog as reviewed in Future Music Magazine

The Skoog has also recently been reviewed in Future Music Magazine. Describing as a “distinctive, squishy, colourful object” and suggesting that you “pair it with an AlphaSphere for the ultimate WTF controller set up. 8/10″

The Skoog is so intuitive to use, and so much fun, there are seemingly endless creative ways of using it to create your own musical masterpiece. Click here to view and purchase the Skoog from the official Apple Store UK.

Vote in the Readers Choice Awards Special Needs Sites and Books

The 2011 About.com Readers’ Choice Awards will showcase the best products, features and services in dozens of categories.
Readers’ Choice grew out of a successful awards program on the About.com Computing channel, and it’s being expanded this year to include a section for Special Needs Children.
About.com Parenting Special Needs is one of the participants this year. Nominations will be accepted starting Jan. 13, 2011.

Voting will take place from Feb. 11 through March 8, with winners announced March 15. There’s no prize — just the bragging rights that come with getting recognized by the readers of one of a leading website owned by The New York Times Co.

Here are our nominations

Our  Nominee for Favorite Special-Needs Parenting Blog:

We are voting for Wendy at http://savvymum4.wordpress.com/

An amazing Mum, with a very useful blog

Our Nominee for Best Special-Needs Online Community

Definitely Netbuddy, a brilliant site for carers of people with Learning Disability

A close second for us would be the TEA room, a site for teenagers with epilepsy, but alas only one nomination allowed!
You can also nominate your favourite Special Needs Book and Special Needs Memoir.

Hurry though, the nominations close tomorrow.

Here is the link for your nominations