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MA Music student inspires local children through interactive installations

Wendy Smith Music Thursday 22 September 2016

As part of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge scheme, MA Music student Wendy Smith collaborated with Halton Libraries to host a number of Digital Music events at four local libraries.  

The events aimed to introduce sound-based music to children through interactive installations, with more than 160 youngsters taking part across two days.

Each installation enabled the children to create personal musical compositions via a number of devices, including a motion-sensor camera that triggers sounds through movement and a midi controller that produces sounds when pressed.

Wendy’s new dɪsˈlɛksɪə ˈɡeɪtweɪ (dyslexia gateway) installation was showcased at the libraries alongside Senior Lecturer in Music Dr Manuella Blackburn’s Come Closer piece.

The dɪsˈlɛksɪə ˈɡeɪtweɪ provides insight into the dyslexic’s perspective, in particular the composer’s first-hand experience. This is represented through the audio and visual components when children type on the computer keyboard, as it demonstrates the breaking up of individual sounds and letters to assemble language.

Commenting on the impact of the installation, Wendy said: “It was crucial that dɪsˈlɛksɪə ˈɡeɪtweɪ was featured in the Summer Reading Challenge, as the scheme’s focus is to encourage and engage children in reading.

dɪsˈlɛksɪə ˈɡeɪtweɪ made children and their guardians more aware of this common learning difference – dyslexia – by providing a comprehension into the processing differences dyslexic’s encounter.

“This included involving their variances in computing language to understand it, and shedding light on how they break up language to read and spell words through patterns and sequences. Overall, this opportunity opened up the possibilities of sharing practice-based research that makes an impact with a local community.”

The Summer Reading Challenge is the UK’s largest children’s reading scheme supported and funded by The Reading Agency charity. 

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