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Blind musicians Max/MSP program for Reason

Apr 15 2011 | 3:57 pm

I am teaching basic electronic music to youth at Community Music Center of Boston. While teaching my Reason class at CMCB, I was approached by a mother asking me to take on the challenge of teaching Reason to her blind son. I had the first lesson with him last week and he was ecstatic to mess with Reason for the first time.

We made a 4 track sequence and he is actually a really good pianist; he has a Fantom G6. He uses a screen reader for PC called System Access. Im positive the key command shortcuts in Reason will help him a lot along with a controller for the instrument parameters. But there are still some limitations because the key commands depend on what screen is currently selected; clicking in the sequencer, in the sequencers track list and the Reason Rack will all give you different key commands . I was thinking I could program a simple Max/MSP program for him that would run in the background. I’m not sure what this program will do just yet.

I was wondering if there was a way to program Max/MSP so that the mouse would automatically go to a selected coordinate on the screen or if Max/MSP could detect buttons on the screen. Also, I was thinking it could play a sound when his cursor is in a certain portion of the screen, so he would know if he was in the sequencer and if he was in the Rack, notified by a different sound. Im trying to limit the amount of mouse usage though. Do you know of any resources on blind musicians using software or do you have any experience in this area?

Please share any other ideas you might have regarding blind musicians use of Reason and programming a Max patch to help them! Thanks!

Apr 19 2011 | 11:27 am

Brokenman was looking at this a not long ago on this thread you might ask him how he got on:

There’s several ways to move the mouse, look up aka.mouse, autobot or the pupdate max message, but it strikes me that you might make use of Applescript in combination with a Max object like tap.applescript (assuming you are on a Mac) where you can use commands like ‘tell application "Reason"‘ to click menus, keys etc or just change focus to that application. You can use aka.speech for the reader part. Anyway, a few ideas!

Good luck, sounds like a good project.

Apr 19 2011 | 1:49 pm

Does reason have key commands to switch between the different instruments? I know that they have a section where you can change key commands. If you can’t perhaps there is a way to program that in, but I imagine that it would have to be in something outside of MaxMSP.

Yes, this really does seem like an awesome project.

Apr 28 2011 | 2:45 am

Great suggestions! Thanks for the link bud!

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