Adaptive Technology Levels the Playing Field for Quadriplegic Musicians

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Talking Up Music Education is a podcast from The NAMM Foundation that shares news and stories about music education. This week we are sharing a podcast episode broadcast live from NASMD, featuring Mike DiCesare, Co-founder and President of Jamboxx.

“We view this as a platform technology that allows you to really control all kinds of different things,” said Mike DiCesare. “One of the off-shoots of what we've been doing is—because individuals with disabilities tend to have decreased respiratory function, especially when you're in a wheelchair all day and you're not exercising, you're not moving around. We feel that this might be able to help with that. You're exercising your lungs.”

DiCesare, Co-founder and President of Jamboxx shares his commitment to making a product that allows everyone to play music, regardless of ability. The Jamboxx is an electronic, USB-powered, breath-controlled instrument styled after a harmonica that plays digital MIDI notes.

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Sound Bites From the Podcast

“I was young, really young, and I started playing the trumpet. My dad introduced me to playing the trumpet in grade school, really. And it's something that I picked it up, and when I picked it up, I really couldn't put it down.” - Mike DiCesare

“[I was a] brass player all the way through high school. That was… my identity.” - Mike DiCesare

“We had initially designed [the Jamboxx] for my friend and next door neighbor who's a quadriplegic from a skiing accident. So he didn't have the use of his hands, or the dexterity to play keyboard or anything like that, but what he could do was play a harmonica. And like you mentioned, an offshoot of the harmonica, we decided to make a MIDI controller that was hands free that you didn't have to have the use of your hands.” - Mike DiCesare

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Talking Up Music Education is a podcast produced by The NAMM Foundation about music education. Host Mary Luehrsen chats with teachers, parents, students and community leaders who share stories about what they are doing to create music learning opportunities. Please download, share and subscribe to keep up with the stories that make a difference in music education advocacy. 

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