Update on Samantha Ewart's PhD research: Hospital day 1

2011-10-02

AudioCubes (by Samantha Ewart, PhD student University of Western Sydney)AudioCubes (by Samantha Ewart, PhD student University of Western Sydney)

A couple of weeks ago we reported some first results from Samantha's PhD research.

For those of you who don't know Samantha Ewart yet, Samantha is a PhD student at the School of Communication Arts, University of Western Sydney (Australia).

Together with supervisor Dr. Garth Paine, Samantha researches how new forms of interactive music technology can distract teenage patients from boredom within hospital to help promote wellbeing. The AudioCubes are part of the research.

This week Samantha spent a couple of days at the Westmead Children’s Hospital (Sydney). She wrote an interesting post about the results from her Tuesday's session at the hospital on her blog: Interactive Music for Distraction- A PhD Journey.

She did a session with 7 patients (6 females and 1 male) of the Adolescent Medicine Departments Group Arts Program. Most of the patients have never played a music instrument other than in high school, and even one female patient expressed she did not have an interest in music at all.

At the beginning of the day introductory activities were conducted (“guess the song” and “musical heads”) to build rapport with the patients. The first session consisted of 3 females.

During the group session, the 3 female patients were given 10 minutes to discover music with the AudioCubes, or Music Cubes as Samantha is calling them in her research. They could choose from numerous different music styles and they had to guess the instruments that were playing. Samantha noticed that the patients were concentrating more when the lights were flashing with the beat.

Picture taken from group session set-up (by Samantha Ewart)Picture taken from group session set-up (by Samantha Ewart)

Besides discovering music with the AudioCubes, the patients were also asked to play a ball game. First they had to throw the ball and then they had to answer 6 questions. The questions focused on music, technology and the AudioCubes. The aim of the sessions was to get feedback on the types of music and technology the patients were interested as well as feedback on the AudioCubes and anything that may need to be improved.

After both sessions the patients were asked to give their feedback on the sessions, and they were all very enthusiastic about the AudioCubes. Even the girl who said she didn't have in interest in music at all, said she can't wait to have them as a Christmas present :-)

Samantha’s second session consisted of a patient who knew the AudioCubes already from Samantha's previous project last year. She was very happy to see that the AudioCubes were now being used in different ways: different music styles and flashing colored cubes. Samantha mentions on the blog that this female patient will be asked in more detail about here experiences with the AudioCubes in the next coming days.

We're really looking forward to reading more about Samantha's results at the hospital...

More information about Samantha Ewart:
Blog: Interactive Music for Distraction- A PhD Journey

Related blog posts:
First research results from PhD student Samantha Ewart
PhD student Samantha is using AudioCubes for her research