Logo of Sinfonia Viva orchestra

Sinfonia Viva are a multi-award winning orchestra who have featured on Classic FM, and BBC Radio 3.Sinfonia Viva works alongside a wide range of partners on bespoke creative music and performance opportunities for groups around the UK, and is dedicated to both the artistic and social impact of its education offer.

Music workshops at Royal School for the Deaf, Derby

Sinfonia Viva pride themselves in their ability to work with participants from all backgrounds and abilities to create unique musical experiences, giving them the opportunity to work alongside professional musicians, composers and artists to produce work that they take genuine ownership of. They have recently been working at the Royal School for the Deaf, Derby, where teachers have been using the Musical Vibrations shakers to provide vibrotactile feedback in music lessons.

A common pulse

Practitioners from Sinfonia Viva tried out the Musical Vibrations equipment in a novel way; faced with a large class of 18 KS1 pupils who were working on a performance for Sinfonia Viva’s schools concert #ThisIsDerby, they needed to find a way of ‘sharing’ the pulse of the music amongst all 18 children.

The Musical Vibrations system has a limited number of shakers but the addition of some robust carpet tubes and a vital ‘piece of wood’ gave Sinfonia Viva a solution to the problem of establishing a common pulse between the children, all of whom are severely or profoundly deaf.

We trained Sinfonia Viva’s practitioners in testing vibration levels to ensure that they remained within safe limits.

Having access to sound via vibration opened up new avenues for musical exploration and enabled work on a call and response Boomwhacker piece to proceed at pace during the workshops, which Marianne Barraclough, Education Manager at Sinfonia Viva was delighted with:

Final performance at #ThisIsDerby

As well as playing their Boomwhacker piece at the final performance at the Riverside Centre, Derby, children from the Royal School for the Deaf were also able to ‘listen’ to the Sinfonia Viva orchestra playing during the rest of the concert, again using the vibrotactile shakers, which were connected via microphones, to instruments in the orchestra

Youg boy in organge t shirt with hands placed ona  vibrotactile shaker at a concert.

Feedback from pupils and parents in the audience was very positive with several deaf audience members and one parent trying the equipment out for themselves afterwards.

6 vibrotactile shakers on a blue carpet in a concert hall
The modified vibotactile equipment with carpet tubes and buckets

We are looking forward to working more with Sinfonia Viva in the near future to investigate further possibilities in making music more accessible through vibrotactile feedback.