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LinnStrument: an Ideal Instrument for Disabled Musicians

One of my (Roger's) design goals for LinnStrument was efficient use of hands and fingers. For example, expressive gestures such as bending pitch or adding vibrato require only a single finger instead of requiring one hand for playing the notes and the other for moving pitch bend or modulation wheels as on a MIDI keyboard. For the same reason, wind or bowed-string sounds can be played with one hand on LinnStrument whereas acoustic wind or bowed-string instruments require two hands.

This efficiency of fingers has a side benefit that I never considered: it is an ideal instrument for musicians with a physical disability. This benefit was noticed by the UK's One Handed Musical Instrument Trust (OHMI) and in 2015, LinnStrument was awarded their "Best Playable Instrument" prize.

The kind people at OHMI connected me with another wonderful organization called Open Up Music, which empowers young disabled musicians to build inclusive youth orchestras, and develops accessible musical instruments and repertoire. In 2015, they launched the South-West Open Youth Orchestra (SWOYO), led by musical director Doug Bott. And on April 16, 2016, SWOYO gave their first performance, "Sun, Moon and Stars" in the beautiful setting of the Bristol Cathedral, including LinnStrumentalist Ben Pollard. Here is a wide photo of the event and another of Ben:

South-West Open Youth Orchestra, photo by Paul Blakemore. Click for high resolution.

LinnStrumentalist Ben Pollard, photo by Paul Blakemore. Click for high resolution.

On Friday June 3rd 2016, I had the pleasure of visiting the city of Bristol in southwest England for Fast Forward Festival 2016, part of BBC Music Day. There I attended a performance of the South-West Open Youth Orchestra and had the pleasure of meeting LinnStrument players Ben Pollard (pictured above) and Charlotte White (pictured at right with me).

On a personal note, it is very nice to discover this new side of LinnStrument. Some of my happiest moments in life have been playing music, so it feels very good to know that LinnStrument may be bringing similar moments of joy to musicians who otherwise may not have that opportunity.

If you are a musician with a disability that diminishes your ability to play traditional instruments, please contact me (Roger) for a 20% discount on either LinnStrument model.

Also, LinnStrument owner (and close friend of mine for many years) Dana Massie has suggested the "Bite Switch" from Airturn, a small mouth-operated switch for use as an alternative to a foot sustain pedal. It terminates in an 1/8" plug, so you'll need a common 1/8" to 1/4" plug adaptor to use it with LinnStrument's 1/4" foot switch input.

LinnStrumentalist Charlotte White and Roger. Click for high resolution.

 

Roger Linn Design  •  Berkeley, CA, USA

Roger Linn Design  •  Berkeley, CA, USA