There is a fair chance that anybody who has read or watched Harry Potter – or other stories of wizards – has at least once in his life secretly tried out whether he has magic powers in his hands. Most likely the result was dissatisfying. Well… have you heard of Soundbeam? It is an award-winning ‘touch free’ device which uses sensor technology to translate body movement into music and sound. Making music in such a way certainly looks magical – have a look at yourself in the Pyramid of Arts video about their Beam Team!
Beam Team is made up of six trainees, three learning disabled people under 25, and three young arts professionals. The team work alongside experienced Pyramid of Arts groups to design and build stimulating, interactive environments and games based on Soundbeam for touring to community groups and inclusive learning centres. The trainees are challenged to reach creative excellence, technical control and personal and social competence, while being supported individually to overcome any difficulties.
The video shows the group in different stages of the learning and practicing process which demonstrates the carefully planned and synchronized work of the Beam Team. Just like with magic, where a shaky hand movement can make the spell go horribly wrong, creating music with Soundbeam is more than just waving hands to the microphone. There seems to be a true art to it, but the kind of art everyone would be able to learn! The greatest moments of the video are the comments from the non-professional participants who are oozing with feelings of achievement and excitement.
Music is, of course, only one of the many ways to use sound. What about rolling out the whole continent of Africa on the floor, setting up some lions, elephants and gorillas, and attaching sound devices behind them to produce loud roars in response to visitors’ hand movements? ‘Beamentary’ is well worth watching to discover how creative we can really be!
Text by Kati Jägel