- By Niall McCracken
- BBC Information NI
“I used to play devices on a regular basis after which I believed that was over for me, however really it was solely starting.”
Christine Williamson is talking about life earlier than she had a mind aneurism.
It prompted her to lose some perform on the left facet of her physique.
The Dundonald girl feared she would by no means play a musical instrumental once more, however that each one modified when she joined a singular group.
Christine has been a part of a music analysis programme run by the charity Mind Damage Issues.
The analysis, based mostly in Northern Eire, makes use of Digital Actuality (VR) to permit musicians with disabilities to play specially-designed digital devices.
Musicians with each congenital and purchased disabilities use VR headsets to move them to a unique world the place they’ve their selection of devices.
They use their palms to the touch mild and faucet completely different digital devices to set off completely different sounds.
The digital actuality devices can morph into all styles and sizes.
‘It offers me freedom’
“After I put the headset on, I see a harp in entrance of me, and I can lean ahead and play it, it is class,” he stated.
One other member of the group is Mary-Louise McCord, who has cerebral palsy.
She communicates with the assistance of her pc and eye-gaze expertise.
The digital actuality controller permits her to make higher physique actions to compose her personal music.
“Someday my palms do not behave how I need them to and I really like the choices and freedom the VR offers me to expertise any instrument I need,” she stated.
“It offers me alternatives I in any other case wouldn’t have.”
The venture is a collaboration between Queen’s College Belfast and Drake Music Northern Eire.
The musicians use specifically-designed digital devices created by Queen’s PhD researcher Damian Mills.
“The musicians use spatial audio expertise to immerse themselves in a unique actuality and they’re creating some attention-grabbing outcomes,” he stated.
‘I needed to pinch myself’
The group not too long ago used their VR musical devices to carry out alongside the Ulster Orchestra as a part of the Belfast Worldwide Arts Pageant.
Ulster College’s (UU) new Belfast campus was the venue they usually had been additionally joined by the UU’s Acoustronic group.
Christine Williamson’s household and buddies got here alongside to observe her carry out with the world-famous orchestra.
She stated: “I simply needed to pinch myself performing with the orchestra.
“Being a part of the VR musician group has led me on such an incredible journey.”
Mary-Louise McCord additionally performed alongside Christine and the Ulster Orchestra.
She added: “Sure there are nonetheless stereotypes and stigmas surrounding completely different skills throughout the arts.
“However tasks like this present that it’s getting higher.”