Friends of the Arts grant recipient: Nancy O’Neill
The grant allowed her to purchase assistive technology, including an electronic drum pad and a webcam, so that a fourth-grader at Stevenson Elementary in Bloomington could participate in his music class. The student has cerebral palsy, cannot speak, and can only move his eyes and mouth. He loved going to music class but was unable to use instruments. That is until O’Neill trained a webcam on the student’s mouth so that whenever the student smiles, he triggers a percussion sound that he could choose (a tambourine, crash cymbal, snare drum, etc.) and play along with his classmates or other prerecorded music.
O’Neill will be student teaching at Stevenson Elementary in March. Her project “I Can Play Music Too!” has encouraged her to seek other opportunities of bringing music and individuals with exceptionalities together. One example of this occurred in fall 2012 when the College of Fine Arts presented the concert Stars, Stripes and Sousa IV to youth with cognitive, physical, and behavioral exceptionalities.