Acclaimed Brazilian pianist can play again using bionic gloves

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You may have seen the news in the mass media about the internationally renowned pianist and conductor João Carlos Martins, age 79, who is able to finally play the piano again thanks to innovative bionic gloves…

It has been 21 years since Mr Martins was last able to play the piano freely after a degenerative brain disease, an arm injury sustained in a football match and being a victim of a mugging, which robbed him of his dexterity. His limitations meant that he had been forced to work as a conductor since the early 2000’s.

He says: ‘After I lost my tools, my hands, and couldn’t play the piano, it was if there was a corpse inside my chest’

The MIA and Music for All really believe in the importance of access to music for everyone. This story is an example of the value of adapting products and instruments to allow anyone who wants to, to be able to make music.

We were involved in a pilot project, alongside Creative United, The One Handed Musical Instrument Trust and Nottingham Music Hub, which aims to make Whole Class Ensemble Teaching for children in schools more inclusive. We helped to provide large print resources, accessible teaching techniques, provision of specialist adapted instruments and carefully selected music technology solutions for students that need them. You can read more on the project here –  www.mia.org.uk/making-music-for-all-children-a-reality-

At the MIA Event “Music Education – the HUGE opportunity for our industry” held in October last year, Mary-Alice Stack, Chief Executive of Creative United sat on our panel named “Education – the new frontier. Developing new opportunities for the industry”. She gave a very thought provoking quote:

“What if the instrument itself is the barrier to making music? Or the accessibility of your shop? 22% of the UK population identify as disabled (that’s 13.9 million people!). Integrating accessibility into your business activity will help you to attract new customers, secure customer loyalty, and ensure you are reaching the widest possible audience. We should focus on making music more accessible to all.”- Mary-Alice Stack, Creative United

If you would like some help and guidance in making your music business more accessible to all, please contact alice@mia.org.uk

You can read the full story and learn about João Carlos Martins’ journey and the building of the bionic gloves in the Daily Mail here – www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ Brazilian-piano-legend-plays-thanks-magic-gloves.html