Using the Xbox 360 Controller to enable Music Supported Therapy for Stroke Patients


I am a music technology consultant who finds ways to enable disabled people to access to music. In this instance I am focusing on the accessible technology that can assist therapists to enable ‘Music Supported Therapy’.

There have been several Research Papers (1) outlining interventions which have significantly improved the motor skills of individuals who have had a Stroke by stimulating brain activity associated with a given function which can then have an impact on other physical locations (neural plasticity).

In the video below I am demonstrating how you can use the joystick of an Xbox 360 Controller to facilitate Music Supported Therapy as well as developing a key musical skill of being able to trigger/play a note in time. This triggering exercise will be repeated over the next few weeks and we can discover whether this initial movement in his neck has any other effects on other parts of his body.

In this preliminary session, I have set the metronome to 100 bpm and you can see that my client is triggering 3 beats in every bar. We can increase/slow down the BPM and change instruments etc. A natural switch/controller to suit the chin is the ergonomic Xbox 360 Controller Joystick with its dimpled centre. The software Apollo Ensemble Software enables me to program the Xbox 360 Controller and place any note anywhere within the axis of the joystick — this means I can customise the exact point where the joystick triggers to suit my client’s specific needs and physical mobility. As you can see his timing is spot on!

https://youtu.be/jq24fzrBH7o