BBYO | AZA & BBG | International Convention | Summer

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DisCoTech: A New World for Musicians with Special Needs.

May 10, 2019
Ashley Faber

Memphis, Tennessee

This year at International Convention I had the privilege of meeting Matan Berkowitz, also known as Matan B. He is the founder of DisCoTech, which stands for Disability Community Technology. DisCoTech is a project Matan dedicated to creating music technology for people with special needs. He worked with a team of designers and developers to produce 4 different instruments for 4 people with different special needs so they could follow their dreams of making music. It culminated with a live event of those 4 people performing and playing their instruments. One component of the project was a 3D printed arm so a young singer born without a hand could play guitar. Another was a “musical wheelchair” for a musician that became wheelchair-bound upon suffering a snowboarding accident. It had attachments including a harmonica, a microphone, and a special kind of guitar.

Before IC, the concept of music for people with special needs was something I had never considered. This is why I am very grateful to have met Matan and hear his insight on developing a new kind of music. I think that it was a major eye-opener for me and everyone who attended his session because frequently, our society doesn’t consider people with special needs as much as we should. There are many people out there who desire to play music but are faced with restrictions they cannot help - until now. Contrary to what some people and some musicians may think, music doesn’t have to be traditional to be beautiful. Our technological world is ever-changing, and it is expanding the scope of the music world and giving a whole new meaning to “playing music”, which is a truly wonderful thing.

Ashley Faber is a BBG from Cotton States Region who plays the violin and is on her high school quiz bowl team. She enjoys kickboxing and listening to music.

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