MERU (Medical Engineering Resource Unit), a charity that designs and makes products where nothing else exists to meet a need, has teamed up with disabled designers and volunteers at Joy of Sound, a music and arts initiative, to create a specialised new instrument support stand for disabled musicians.
Highly adaptable and suitable for a wide range of instruments, from guitars to wind instruments or even electronic music devices, MERU’s new support stand means that there’s no need for musicians to support the instrument themselves. The idea is that this will make music more accessible to people with a condition or injury that affects their strength, grip or stability, or with other barriers to participation.
With a stable and sturdy tripod base and a heavy-duty 360 degree pivoting clamp that can be locked in place, the stand can be set between 70cm and 110cm from the ground enabling fully adjustable positioning to suit both sitting and standing. The instrument holder can be unlocked and folded down to make it easier to transport.
Joy of Sound has found that people of all abilities can actively and creatively participate in music and William E Longden and adequately facilitated to do so, and with this in mind has developed a variety of approaches, and assistive and adaptive devices with this goal in mind. Teaming up with MERU has led to several bespoke instruments and adaptive devices, but this new instrument stand is the first that is being offered to the general public to purchase.
William Longden, creative director at Joy of Sound, commented: “It’s common to find ‘rattle and drum syndrome’, which is a culture of passive facilitation where disabled and hard to access people are given the most basic untuned percussive instruments to play. Devices such as this new stand allow the secure and stable use of a variety of instruments and can meet different needs. This increases the choices available and offers people with disabilities more ways to make music.”