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Virtual Music Instrument

Turning gestures into music — using technology to unleash the inner musician

Introducing the Virtual Music Instrument (VMI)

It is well acknowledged that music therapy has a positive effect on self-esteem and self-identity. Giving a child the ability to be an active participant in music, gives them a sense of accomplishment and success. However, the options for musical access for children with disabilities are still limited.

The Virtual Music Instrument addresses past limitations by providing children with an interface that enables them to play music without having to hold or manipulate an instrument. The non-invasive, non-encumbering technology translates physical gestures and movements into music, giving children with disabilities access to the therapeutic benefits of music.

How it works

Using a simple setup with a standard computer, webcam and large monitor, players can interact with virtual objects on the screen. For example, large coloured dots, superimposed on the space around the player represent different musical notes. When the player reaches their arm and passes through a virtual dot, the computer software translates their movement into the appropriate note. The type and magnitude of movements can be customized to meet the unique needs of the individual.

The VMI offers the unique possibility of aligning melodic motion and gestural motion in a visual, aural, and kinaesthetic context. Combining goal-oriented movements and music, the VMI improves a child’s reach, their range of motion, endurance, motivation, sense of satisfaction, confidence and ability to explore music independently.

The VMI provides individuals the opportunity to learn to play an instrument regardless of their mobility or ability. It also has the potential to address goals in the physical, cognitive, communication, sensory, and social domains. It gives children with disabilities access to a leisure activity, encourages exploration and offers a channel for emotional expression.



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