International Symposium on /Assistive Technology for Music and Art

We invite you to the
International Symposium on /Assistive Technology for Music and Art

David Whalen, Pauline Oliveros, Ted Krueger and Jonas Braasch have organized through the Center for Cognition, Communication, and Culture at RPI.

The one-day event is devoted to new technologies to provide artists with spinal chord injuries and other mobility-restricting disabilities access to creative tools for multi-media works. The symposium addresses adaptive interfaces to control digital workstations with limited mobility and accessible telepresence environments where groups across abilities can collaborate.

The Symposium will be held on June 8, 2013 from noon to 5pm in Studio 2 of the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) in Troy, NY. It will be hosted by the Center for Cognition Communication and Culture and the Deep Listening Institute with support from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

Talks, technical demos, music presentations, and a panel discussion will lay out the current state in assistive technologies and discuss the future needs and trends. Pauline Oliveros and Leaf Miller will be presenting AUMI for Mac and the new AUMI iOS app for iPad/iPhone.

You can find the RPI news release here.

The event is free and it would be great if you could join us. Since we have limited seating, reservation is required.
send an email to Jonas Braasch if you would like to join us.

Improvising Across Abilities: Lawrence, KS

by Pete Williams

The AUMI workshop in Lawrence, KS, entitled “Improvising Across Abilities: A Workshop and Jam Session Featuring the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument,” took place on Friday, September 28, and Saturday, September 29, 2012. Friday’s workshop was organized in conjunction with Independence, Inc., a local organization that provides advocacy, peer support, training, transportation, and community education for and by people with disabilities in the Lawrence area. Their beautiful facility in Lawrence provided space to hold a two-hour demonstration of the AUMI and jam session, followed by further individual instruction. Leaf Miller and Jackie Heyen led a lively and diverse group of about 30 participants, which included Independence, Inc. consumers and staff, KU students and faculty, educators, and Lawrence community members in improvising with the AUMI and providing percussion accompaniment. A reporter for Lawrence’s local paper, the Lawrence Journal-World, attended the event. His video interview with Leaf can be found here:

Saturday’s workshop was held on KU’s campus. Once again, Leaf and Jackie led the demonstration and jam session, with additional time for individual instruction afterwards. The 46 participants on this day included dancers, musicians, computer scientists, graduate and undergraduate students, music therapists from KU’s music therapy program and the surrounding area, and members of AbleHawks, KU’s advocacy group for students with disabilities and allies.

The workshop was made possible by a seed grant from the Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas (KU), received by four faculty members at KU—Sherrie Tucker in American Studies, Michelle Heffner Hayes in Dance, Nicole Hodges Persley in Theatre, and Kip Haaheim in Music—and Pauline Oliveros at the Deep Listening Institute and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Co-sponsors included Independence, Inc; Able Hawks and Allies; the KU Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access; the KU American Studies Department; the KU Department of Dance; the KU Department of Theatre; and KU Libraries. 

You can view pictures of the event on the AUMI Facebook Page

Improvising Across Abilities

Free KU workshop September 28 & 29.  Sign up today!!



LAWRENCE, KS, August 13, 2012-"Improvising Across Abilities: A Free Workshop and Jam Session Featuring the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument (AUMI)" will be held in Lawrence on September 28 and 29, 2012. The event will be led by Leaf Miller and Jaclyn Heyen of the AUMI Project, Deep Listening Institute, Kingston, New York. Admission is free and open to the public.

The workshop will demonstrate the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument (AUMI), a free software interface that transforms any computer with a webcam into a flexible musical instrument that can be played with the slightest movement. AUMI was developed by a team of musicians, therapists, programmers and researchers under the direction of Pauline Oliveros and The Deep Listening Institute.

The instrument was designed especially to enable people with a narrow range of voluntary mobility to create electronic sounds in music improvisation and composition. It has a range of possible uses. It is being used by students and teachers at Easter Seals music classes in Newfoundland, by patients being treated at Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center in New Hampshire, and elsewhere.

The workshop will be led by drummer/occupational therapist Leaf Miller of the AUMI Project and multi-media artist and composer Jaclyn Heyen of the Deep Listening Institute, Ltd. Miller and Heyen use the instrument in a large weekly music class for diverse students ages 5-21 at Abilities First School in Poughkeepsie, New York.

The AUMI workshop will be held on two days and in two locations. On Friday, September 28, it will be held at Independence, Inc., (2001 Haskell Ave., Lawrence, KS), from 1 pm to 3 pm, with advanced instruction from 3 pm to 5 pm. On Saturday, September 29, the workshop will be in the Courtside Room of the Burge Union on the University of Kansas campus (1601 Irving Hill Rd., Lawrence, KS), from 10 am to 12 pm, with advanced instruction from 12 pm to 2 pm.

Participants may attend one or both days of the workshop. Both days will feature demonstration and instruction of the instrument followed by a jam session in which participants can try out the software in a group setting. Participants may also request advanced instruction on the instrument following the first two hours of each workshop. Participants are invited, but not required, to bring their own laptop computers.

Admission to the workshop is free and open to the public, but participants are encouraged to register by September 14 at

The workshop is sponsored by a Collaborative Research Seed Grant from the Hall Center for the Humanities, University of Kansas. Co-sponsors include: Independence, Inc; Able Hawks and Allies; the KU Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access; the KU American Studies Department; the KU Department of Dance; the KU Department of Theatre; and KU Libraries.

For more information on the AUMI, go to For questions about the workshop, send an email to, or contact Prof. Sherrie Tucker, KU department of American Studies, at (785) 864-2305.

"Skin-Surface-Circuit: Embodying the Improvisatory": ICASP-McGill

Our AUMI presentations at "Skin-Surface-Circuit: Embodying the Improvisatory" conference organized by ICASP-McGill included a round table discussion of disabilities, technology and improvisation with Pauline Oliveros, Leaf Miller, Jaclyn Heyen, Sherrie Tucker, Gillian Siddall and Jonathan Sterne moderated by Ellen Waterman. The discussion centered on the uses of technology for improving participation in artistic activities for people with disabilities.

Leaf Miller and Jaclyn Heyen presented a demonstration of Adaptive Use Musical Instruments (AUMI) with mention of new features.

An AUMI performance took place with MaKay School students, AUMI team and conference participants led by Leaf Miller and Jaclyn Heyen. Students with disabilities were coached by ICASP team member Eric Lewis.

Pauline Oliveros introduced Clara Tomaz's video "Linear and Aerial Perspectives" that features Clara's vocal performance with Tintinnabulate improvisation Ensemble from RPI.

Looking back at EMS11

 by Sherrie Tucker

The Electroacoustic Music Studies Conference audience was a perfect one to reach. These are the inventor-artists who dream up new ways of bringing music and technology together, who don’t see one as canceling out the other, but see them as mutually enhancing and render the unimaginable both material and fantastic. Among them are inventors and artists, technologists, and programmers, improvisers and composers, theorists and technicians.

What a treat it was to see this particular crowd filling the Cell Theater in New York to hear the AUMI ensemble from Abilities First School in Poughkeepsie, among accomplished adult artists with disabilities and mixed abilities groups. The three students from Abilities First played a combination of acoustic percussion instruments and the AUMI interface, creating a highly interactive, focused, and very musical improvisation, structured around a set of pre-agreed-upon shifts in mood and theme and rhythm. The young musicians listened to one another and their occupational therapist Leaf Miller and music technologist Jaclyn Heyen, while producing a sound environment that caught the attentions of music-technology professionals at a specialized meeting.

The discussion afterward illuminated something I hadn’t anticipated—not only was the audience enthusiastic about the AUMI group’s performance, but many conveyed a sense of stepping up to a challenge to consider ways to use their technological and musical tools, expertise, and other resources, in ways that were affordable as well as inventive, and that could reach not only other highly skilled electroacoustic professionals, but potential musical improvisers often left out, due to divisions of all kinds—economic, physical, social, etc. Others grappled with the challenge of what it means to give up a dividing line between art and everyday, which led to a rich discussion of how we define art, and how those definitions simultaneously define who gets to have it.

I have to admit that I hadn’t readily understoodd why it was important to bring an AUMI panel and concert to this particular professional meeting, which I had imagined to be kind of a high-falootin’ bells and whistles crowd, but I left feeling an expanded sense of AUMI potential, as well as the amazing potential of alliances among the many constituencies represented in the room. I felt energized and hopeful that the improvising community could open up even more, become even more adaptive and accessible and inclusive with such company.

Having the young artists perform not only as school children, but as musicians on a bill with adult artists with disabilities, created a significant bridge as well, a reminder of the wide variety of perspectives and relationships to sound waves, perception, and expression, that make up the potentiality of improvising across ability. We begin as children with different bodies, and our bodies change over time, often in unexpected ways—our music may connect us; our technology may enhance these connections. So much goes untapped. But so much is possible! In the long run, no one really benefits from the illusion that some bodies are “whole” and these mythical “whole bodies” have the most musical or artistic or perceptual potential. It doesn’t make sense. Thank you, Pauline, for curating yet another opening for possibility.


Memorial University Researcher’s Introduce AUMI to the Music Therapy Setting

In recent years, the availability of AUMI has broadened the scope of musical participation. The software’s adaptive properties have enabled users of various instrumental skill levels and ranges of mobility to make music. With this in mind, researchers at Memorial University of Newfoundland have asked how AUMI might be incorporated into a music therapy program? Working in conjunction with the Easter Seals Newfoundland and Labrador, music therapist Susan LeMessurier Quinn, Dean of the School of Music Ellen Waterman, along with students Karen Hefford and Mark Finch have been exploring AUMI’s potential in both solo and group music therapy sessions.

Over the course of the research, the project’s children, teen, and young adult participants have demonstrated an openness toward and interest in AUMI. As a result, the program has been used in personal physical therapy routines and alongside more traditional music therapy instruments during group music-making sessions. With much appreciation, participants have also demonstrated patience with the research aims. Indeed, the project has not only highlighted the potential value of AUMI, it has also underscored the program’s limits in a music therapy context. It is anticipated that the research findings will inform both the future use of AUMI in music therapy sessions, as well as subsequent software updates.

Following five months of music therapy sessions, this past June participants had the opportunity to perform at the Memorial School of Music’s Petro-Canada Hall. By this time, the musician’s were familiar with AUMI and able to make personal musical choices during group and solo performances. The interaction between musicians and the level of musicality afforded by AUMI captivated the capacity audience. Funding for this study has been generously provided by the Office of the Vice President (Research), Memorial University. The research team looks forward to continued exploration of AUMI in a music therapy setting.


We are so excited for the funding to start expanding the AUMI project in Ulster and Dutchess counties in the New York Hudson Valley.

In December 2011 we received a grant from the Ann and Abe Effron Community Foundation to expand the AUMI Project in Dutchess County.

In January 2012 we received a grant from the Ulster Savings Charitable Foundation to expand the AUMI Project in the Abilities First Inc. Satellite Centers.

We are very honored and excited to bring AUMI to new students, teachers, staff and parents here in the Hudson Valley.  

Let's get 2012 rockin' and 'Play the Drums'!

AUMI in the running for Pepsi Refresh




A big thank you to everyone who voted for the AUMI on Pepsi Refresh in August. We did remarkably well for the first try, coming in at #68 out of over 200 projects in the $50,000 category. We are now gearing up to try again in November. Our proposal is to use the award to bring the AUMI drum circle to two schools, hospitals, or centers in the U.S. who can demonstrate in their proposal a commitment to sustaining it if we set them up. We would bring everything they needed to get started—equipment, training, assessment.


Set aside five minutes per day for the month of November to cast your votes when the project is posted. For every email address you have (plus Facebook) you get five votes—one of the five can go to AUMI. In addition to voting for AUMI, you have the opportunity to support four other projects, which will get us more votes and push us toward meeting our goal!!! If you’d like a daily reminder, complete with easy links and suggested comments to post each day, please email Jackie at and we will put you on the daily reminder list.


For daily votes you will be listed as a supporter on our website. If you are a teacher and your class votes every day, Jackie will give a AUMI demo over Skype to your class. *To receive these perks send Jackie an email ( letting her know you are voting every day. Also don't forget to use your 4 extra votes to vote for other projects and let them know you are voting for AUMI by leaving a comment on their profile.

How To Vote: (there is no spam from Pepsi after registering)

by Email:
Register your email with Pepsi Refresh.
Search for Deep Listening
Cast your

vote by Facebook:
Connect Facebook with Pepsi Refresh
Search for Deep Listening
Cast your vote

by Text Message:
Text 109866 to Pepsi (73774)

Interesting facts about Pepsi:

*In 1940, the jingle "Nickel Nickel" an advertisement for Pepsi Cola was the first advertising jingle broadcast nationally that referred to the price of Pepsi and the quantity for that price.

*The first TV appearance by James Dean was on a Pepsi Commercial in 1950. *The first US consumer product sold in the Soviet Union was Pepsi Cola

*Instead of buying Super Bowl ads Pepsi started the Pepsi Refresh Project.

*Pepsi Cola was named after the digestive enzyme pepsin and kola nuts used in the recipe.

*Pepsi and Pete… two cops who would do heroic things after drinking a pepsi

*Pepsi created the Dream Machine kiosk to be placed in high traffic areas. By recycling your bottles in these machines will help disabled US veterans. You also earn points and rewards for coupons and discounts for local entertainment, dining and travel.

Newfoundland Training

 This week we are in St. John's Newfoundland.  Thursday we did a training for the community at Memorial University.  We had a great group of families, therapists, teachers and staff from surrounding facilities for people with special needs.  We met some wonderful people and have new AUMI users.  

Saturday we are having an open AUMI drum circle and we are very excited.  The community is invited to try out AUMI and Play the Drums!!  So if you are in the St. John's area please come out to Memorial University and Play the Drums!!

Deep Listening Institute, Ltd.
77 Cornell St, Suite 303      Kingston, NY  12401
800.497.4072 toll-free        845.338.5986 fax

Deep Listening Institute Programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.