The Skoog music workshop

“Digital technology is great but there are people who cannot use it”

Cai Melakoski
Sheila Robinson, Ben Schögler and Cai Melakoski

Those words opened Skoog Music Workshop which took place at TAMK/Finlayson on 03.10.2012 during the 16th annual MindTrek festival, Tampere. Presentation was carried out by Dr Benjamin Schögler and Sheila Robinson. Dr Benjamin Schögler is one of two co-inventor of new kind of music instrument.

What this new instrument called Skoog really is?

 “The Skoog is a soft, squeezable object that simply plugs straight into your computer or laptop's USB port.  By touching, pressing, squashing, twisting or tapping the Skoog you can play a wide range of instruments, intuitively.”
The Skoog

As you can see Skoog is a device which needs to be connected with computer to be fully usable.  It contains dynamic sensors which respond for every move, moves can be seen on the computer. Skoog is very good for therapy practices, designed for people with any degree or combination of disabilities.
Ben Schögler inspires Heli Härkönen to be a true musician
in 30 seconds

About workshop itself, I have to say that I got very impressed.  The speaker was great; he kept the audience awake for whole two hours with Skoog and his funny humour.  Presentation was very interesting. I would like to quote 3 sentences which strongly etched in my memory (said by Dr Schögler) and I think have deep meaning:

  • “Make things easy to use – this is a good design.”
  • “Music is inside us, something we do; technology itself has no meaning”
  • “Too often we accept difficulties, instead of create something easy to use.”

During the workshop we could see how to use software created for Skoog. It has various options such as different types of instruments, polyphonic or monophonic settings of instruments, voice recording (is possible to create your own instrument) or even instrumental ‘karaoke’.
Some of participants took part in testing and the results were great.
The TAF (Tampere Art Factory) band also played the Skoog nice and smooth

After this workshop we understand better how important is to think ‘outside the box’, that there are people which does not have such abilities as we have. Design is very important in their everyday life as well as in our.

Story and pics Emilia Kwiatkowska

Emilia studies in our international Degree Programme in Media
Read more stories about and/or by the IMPs, the Media students
The Skoog Music workshop was part of MindTrek 2012