The OHMI (One-Handed Musical Instrument) Trust is a UK-based charity which enables musicians with physical impairments to take part in music making. This short film explores their annual international instrument-making competition, which garners innovative solutions – whether adapting classic instruments or recreating them using electronic technology – which allow disabled musicians the opportunity to play at all levels, from school students to the highest levels of virtuosity.
View the Case Study on the OHMI Trust, including past winners of the instrument making competition
Transcript and visual description of the film
This is a 3-minute film which explores the OHMI Trust’s annual instrument making competition. It includes footage of an orchestra, past winning instruments being played and close ups of the instruments, interspersed with the presenter standing in an empty concert hall.
The film opens with a black title card which reads ‘Calling all instrument makers.’ With the OHMI Trust logo at the bottom.
It fades to an Orchestra playing in the wide.
The camera cuts to an empty performance hall, the presenter, Nicholas Mcarthy walks towards camera with lit stage behind. He says:
“Our desire for music is profound. Whether listening or playing, it defines us individually and has always been an essential part of our culture. The opportunity to create and perform music should be an achievable dream for everyone, whether you want to play at home, or at school, or as a professional at the highest level of virtuosity.
Yet millions of people are excluded by a physical impairment. The reason is simple but the remedy complicated: all traditional instruments need two fully-functioning arms and hands to play. Any physical impairment can make an instrument unplayable.”
The camera cuts back to the orchestra playing, then to the OHMI Trust logo, then finally close-ups of adapted instruments and people playing the adapted instruments. The presenters voice is heard over the top of these images, saying:
“The OHMI Trust is a charity that works to inspire the creation of musical instruments that can be played by anyone regardless of physical ability. A musician may have a disability from birth or become disabled later in life. But through the provision of new designs, electronic solutions or adaptations to existing instruments we are removing disability as a barrier to music-making. With the right instrument, anyone can have the opportunity to participate fully in musical life.
Our main source of instruments is through the annual OHMI Competition. This challenges instrument makers to adapt traditional instruments or to create electronic emulations that can be played without the use of one hand or arm. The resulting technical solutions can then be developed for a wide range of physical needs.”
Camera then cuts to a black card with white text, which fades in gradually section by section. It reads:
The competition has 3 categories:
PLAYABLE: for instruments that have all the qualities of a standard instrument.
ENABLING: for apparatus (straps, stands, harnesses etc.) that make a standard instrument playable
CONCEPT: Ideas for the most technically promising solutions to the playable or enabling challenges.
The camera cycles through a series of still images of disabled musicians of varying ages playing adapted instruments. Meanwhile, the presenter says:
“Through your ingenuity and expertise the world of music can be opened-up for disabled musicians. You may be a professional instrument maker, or you may have an innovative idea that together we can make into a reality. Our partnerships with instrument makers have already produced recorders, saxophones, clarinets, flutes, trumpets, and a growing range of enabling equipment that make standard instruments playable. These innovations have provided the opportunities for musicians to realise their full potential and to be part of our musical world.”
The camera then cuts back to the presenter in the empty performance hall, walking towards the camera. He says:
“We need collaborations with instrument makers, designers, and manufacturers. You will find more information about the OHMI trust and the competition on our website, or do please call us directly if you have any questions.
Please get involved today and help us evolve instrument designs so that playability is not a barrier to the millions across the world who are currently excluded.”
Camera cuts back to orchestra giving a grand finale.
Black card with white writing reads:
A second black card with credit info reads:
With thanks to
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Osborn Music Director, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla
Recording reproduced with kind permission from CBSO