Posted by on Sep 5, 2017 in Capstone Blog | Comments Off on Initial Capstone Research

Research Entry 1


Music, specifically performing music, is a fun and engaging creative pastime around the world. Regardless of the person, music has universally positive effects on one’s well-being. Unfortunately, many people lack the confidence, resources, or physical or mental ability to participate in the creation of music. That said, I would like to create an application that allows a user(s) to virtually “play” a variety of instruments using only physical gestures. By this method in tandem with a variety of parameters a user can define through the application’s interface, I want to make the process of “playing” an instrument (and playing it well) more accessible and immediately engaging for any given person.

In my capstone section, during the initial research process, we’ve been tasked with reading the Brookings Report ( and considering how our own capstone efforts would fit into this ideal economic vision of Maine. And honestly, I may have to revisit this, but I can’t see any explicit connections between the topics of the text and my project. In a much broader view, I can say that an application like mine would fit in line with how “the new economy actually favors Maine”, insofar that the potentially mobile nature of my project serves as another example of this; creators and musicians don’t have to be bound by their own cumbersome instruments and devices to produce and perform world-class sound.

Further research has confirmed that I’m far from the only one to reach these conclusions and attempt to solve them through some new media platform…


3 Articles

One of the few articles I’ve found that explicitly outline why people quit or avoid musical education. It can come done to a multitude of factors beyond these seven, but these are taken as some of the more common reasons why musical education and experiences often get relegated to a secondary or extracurricular activity in a young person’s life. Chief among these reasons that my work could solve is the lack of a quality instrument to practice with, or an instrument outright, a lack of “fun” music to practice, and self-reservations about one’s ability to begin playing music.

This research paper from the university of London outlines and substantiates many of the benefits of engaging with music at a young age and throughout one’s life. There is considerable evidence to support the prospect that music helps develop physical and mental skills and social ability. A key point is that the experience of engaging with music needs to be enjoying by way of overcoming an approachable challenge. This plays well into my intentions, as I hope my application will significantly lower the perceived skill-ceiling of musical performance, and perhaps encourage users to pursue traditional musical education.

This article outlines and reinforces many of the same points raised in the above text, summarized in the infographic below.

Click on the image for full-size


3 Projects

The mobile application AUMI, created in part by UMaine New Media alumn John Sullivan, was the first point of reference to come to mind and will remain a focus throughout most of my project for sure. It exists primarily with the same goal in mind; as an alternative and digital means of music performance for the sake of easier accessibility of any given user. The same can be said of the following alternative solutions.

A relatively famous but not terribly successful example of an attempt to simplify the act of music performance. Wii Music most notably put an emphasis on the entertainment value of music performance – particularly in a group environment – over its application as a legitimate musical platform.

This is probably the project that’s closest to how I envision the use of my application in the end. From what I can gather given the limited information publicly available on this, it wasn’t made with accessibility or the common user in mind. But it utilizes a Kinect and Max, so I may possibly contact the creator in the future with an outline of my intentions and some questions on how he went about achieving his version.