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Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

Music Improvisation Software: An Interface for People with Severe Disabilities

Music has many virtues — including the potential to benefit individuals whose mobility is severely impaired by cerebral palsy and spinal injuries. In the first of NJIT’s new series of Technology and Society Forum presentations, Pauline Oliveros and colleagues from the Deep Listening Institute will demonstrate software that makes it possible to improvise music with slight head movements. This software extends the expressive, holistic and therapeutic benefits of musical improvisation to both adults and children.

Founder and executive director of the Deep Listening Institute, based at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Oliveros is also a Distinguished Research Professor of Music. For 50 years, Oliveros has been a major figure in contemporary American music as a composer and performer. She has had a major influence through her work with improvisation, meditation and electronic music. The free event, open to the public, will be held Monday, Sept. 20, 2010, from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the NJIT Campus Center Atrium. Street parking will be available.  

Oliveros will be joined by Jaclyn Heyen and Leaf Miller. Heyen is a composer, vocalist and music technologist. Currently, she is technology assistant at the Deep Listening Institute and assists in the adaptive use program at Abilities First in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Leaf Miller is a professional musician, teacher, occupational therapist and instrument builder. In her work with children with special needs, she strives to incorporate the healing benefits of drumming with her clinical training in human movement and development. She is collaborating with Oliveros and the Deep Listening Institute on the AUMI (Adaptive Use Musical Instrument) Project, with the goal of developing and providing alternative musical instruments for people with physical challenges.

Co-sponsors with NJIT of this series are: NJIT Technology and Society Forum Committee, Albert Dorman Honors College, NJIT Biomedical Engineering Department, Murray Center for Women in Technology and Sigma Xi.

For more information about the event contact Jay Kappraff, kappraff@adm.njit.edu or 973-596-3490 or visit the NJIT Technology and Society Forum website at http://tsf.njit.edu.

Previous Forum presentations are available at http://itunes.njit.edu; search for “Technology and Society Forum.”

“The Art of Choosing” will be the next event in this series, set for Oct. 13, 2010, featuring Sheena Lyengar, S.T. Lee Professor of Business, Columbia Business School.

One of the nation's leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT's multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. With an enrollment of more than 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering, and cyber-security, in addition to others. NJIT ranks 5th among U.S. polytechnic universities in research expenditures, topping $110 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com.