Kamil Laszuk / Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw, Poland
We loved this rich and varied toy that looks as playful and engaging as it is educational. In the age when popular music is more likely to be formed in a sequencer than on a score, this seems like an appropriate way to sew the seeds of musical composition for early learners.
Musicon is a creative, interactive “music making educational play devise”, designed to promote development and exploration, both physical and artistic, for children of ages 2-8. Whether it is at home, in a pre-school, early elementary classroom or a therapy session employing music.
Musicon works like a “barrel organ”. The main part is a rotating drum with hundreds of moveable buttons which activate the various instruments held in place by a magnetic frame.
With Musicon the combinations of sound and rhythm are endless as
Musicon is not just one instrument…it is a whole band.
The overall size is 630mm-H. 874mm-W. 460mm-D.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
The challenge was to find the new way to use music in general children developing process.
The problem was to design a set of learning devices which teach and encourage, in young children, the simple basics of music understanding and performance. In addition, the development of non-verbal expression; group communication through creative interplay, turn taking, sharing and creative co-operation. Musicon was also developed to be used in music therapy sessions for children with varying degrees of challenges in skills and motor function.
Through designing Musicon, I wanted all children have an opportunity to interact spontaneously in ways that are directly linked to musical skill development, both personal and social.
Musicon was initially designed to be used in pre-schools for children in ages 3-5. But, already Musicon shows its unlimited application and a wider user range (2-8) and can be involved in varying settings, whether private, public and therapeutic.
As a practicing musician I believe there are enormous benefits derived from teaching music and creative action and interaction in early childhood learning and play.
The criteria of the design involved the following:
• to present the whole creative process of making sounds (music),
• to teach the fundamental principles of music making and make the means of learning more interactive and visual stimulating,
• to show both the potential for variety and repetition in reproducible music,
• to create an opportunity for children to play separately or in a group with each child playing a role and making a decision in the creation of the music,
• to develop both manual and cognitive skills,
• to teach children at a variety of ages and with various skill development,
• to create a musical interactive tool, that could be used in a therapeutic setting.
The creator of this project is both a product designer and a professional musician (double bass player) and the designer began with his own musical experience and extensive knowledge in the development of Musicon.
The whole design process was preceded by a long analysis stage, involving various music teaching systems, involving both instrument and non instrument based methods.
The designing process involved the extensive testing of various construction materials and mechanical mechanisms.
Several prototypes were built function testing, to discover the best construction and working formats. Throughout the design stages, children participate in testing, trying and playing with the prototypes to discover needed changes and functional additions.
This music making “play” machine is based on research and analysis of how children grow and learn in a creative and explorative manner, with sound as the means of expression. The project was guided and aided through repeated consultations with specialists and teachers in the fields of childhood development, learning pedagogy and music therapy.
This music making play machine is the culmination of research and analysis of how children grow and learn in a creative and self directed manner.5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
The list is unlimited, where Musicon will most certainly be the most engaging and creative “play thing” in the room. There’s nothing similar to Musicon on the market and it has a universal appeal in the global market. Musicon would be like “music” to the ears of any educational toy manufacturer.
Musicon can have a measurable impact on childhood development. From early childhood there are very positive and diverse benefits from early exposure to music and music making opportunities. Children who have an opportunity to interact spontaneously in creative ways demonstrate areal development in their personal and socially interactive skills. Ways in which this development apply are:
• Development of non-verbal expression.
• Group communication and interactive skills.
• Creative interplay and imagination development.
• Turn taking, sharing and creative co-operation.
Learning through music, from early childhood, when primary development takes place, can awaken skills and understandings developed in no other manner. Musicon would have great value in all childhood development.
Musicon would be a great addition to every preschool setting, early elementary classroom or a therapy session where music is the methodology for change.