What It Is
A music ensemble that mixes the unique contributions of each individual to play popular styles of music.
Why We Do It
Like any good garage band, Rock Band is a rehearsal for more than just music: each person gets to practice feeling proud and humble at the same time. On the one hand, the band needs people eager to do their part — strike their cymbal, smack their drum, blow their horn – and the facilitator works to include and order everyone’s contribution. But on the other hand, the band also depends on people willing to wait their turn. Enthusiasm and restraint, independence and collaboration, practice and spontaneity – while these pairs of opposites seem like they should cancel each other out, music is where they all become necessary. Likewise, music is a context in which every person is necessary as well. In Rock Band, the assumption is that every person has something to give, so it is never the person who is the limiting factor but our imaginations. If a person has a 3-inch range of motion, sitting in front of the nearly 60-inch spread of a grand piano might feel intimidating. But put that same hand in front of an iPad keyboard, and suddenly the 3-inch range of motion is perfectly suited for the dimensions of the screen. With the mere flick of a finger, a person can slide from one end of the keyboard to another, experiencing the full spread of keys and musical possibilities that the piano has to offer. Adaptive technologies empower people by taking what may seem like imperceptibly small motions and converting them into sounds that can’t be ignored.