So you’ve probably heard me talk about SoundLab quite a lot over the last couple of years or so. well I thought it might be useful to have a whole page dedicated to what we’ve done and what we do.

I’ve been involved in SoundLab since 2014. It’s a project from Heart n Soul to look at how people with learning disabilities interact with and access digital music making. The project was an R&D joint venture with Goldsmiths University.

My role in the project was to look at how we interacted with the music technology community and to help companies and start ups to be a part of what we were doing. I also helped to run a lot of the workshops and events that SoundLab was a part of.

SoundLab and me

Personally I’ve enormously enjoyed being a part of the project, and I’ve learnt so much from working with the project and Heart n Soul.

I think that the overriding thing that I’ve learnt as a direct result of being a part of SoundLab is to focus on the act of music making or creating a sound and the joy that this brings. In music technology it is all too easy to get hung up on the latest and most complex tools, the most innovative interfaces and the technologies that bring the highest degree of configurability and customisation. But that isn’t what music is about. Not at all. I’ve had the benefit of seeing how Heart n Soul users take apps and tools that I may have written off as being uninteresting or outdated and got a huge amount of fun and satisfaction from them.

Remembering that music is about making a sound that you enjoy, about having fun, and not about steep learning curves or even about technology is completely liberating. It makes me remember why I love music and why I love making music, and has changed how I look at music technology. I now remind myself that if this technology or app or whatever isn’t going to help me to make something I enjoy, then I’m probably not going to be too interested in it.

SoundLab and NESTA

Lots of people were involved with SoundLab over the last couple of years. Here are a few pictures from our event in November 2015 at NESTA. We called this the ‘Play Space’.

The Play Space was a big event. We had a lot of different technology companies there and a lot of different performances talks and more. It was complicated, but it was worth it.

Just above you can see School of Noise getting set up. They had some amazing gear with them, from littleBits to Ototo to MFOS, to coconuts!

This was our tech zone or market place, depending on who you were talking to, and, you might remember the gentlemen from Studio Amplify who were at the event and showing their app NOiZ.

And here’s Mr Concretedog who came down to help on the day with Bare Conductive Pads and lots more besides.

On the other side of that space we had SubPac with their awesome speaker systems. Again, more of them soon enough.

Not only was it a big day overall, but it we had a lot of, staff, volunteers and people from all the technology companies we’d invited for the day. So it was important to make sure that everyone knew who was where and what needed doing where etc.

This was our chat space where Justin had a series of interesting talks with a wide range of people including NESTA’s Tim Plyming, and Tim Exile as well.

This was our serious play space which was where you could come up and play on instruments in a band that sounded great irrespective of your musical experience or expertise. It took a long time to get the pop up band (as we call it) working the way we wanted it, but now that it is it’s a great way to get almost anyone up and enjoying making a sound very quickly.

You can find the SoundLab web site here.

If you want to see all the posts about SoundLab, click here.