2015 – Baroque Recorder for One-Handed Student

Project Background

The Mechanical Engineering Technology department was approached by a local elementary school music teacher requesting a device permitting Nia, an eight year old girl without her left hand, to play the recorder with her music class.

Seven teams of MET Senior Capstone students will each develop a design over the course of the 2014-2015 academic year in anticipation of Maine Day when the teams will present their products in a design competition. Nia will have the opportunity to select the design which best meets her needs and take receipt for her own use in music class.

Design Teams

Team 1

Team 2

Team 3

Team 4

Team 5

Team 6

Team 7

Organizations and individuals who have supported the project as a whole:

Eastern Maine Medical Center, Orthotics & Prosthetics Department

John Groleau & Norman Plourde

Links to 2015 MET Capstone Design Competition:

Channel 5 news story (3 minutes):

Design Competition video (14 minutes)


Team Design Presentations (57 minutes)

Photos of Design Competition:

Mid-Year Project Presentations


Team 1:

Team 2:

Team 3:

Team 4:

Team 5:

Team 6:

Team 7:


To modify, or create a device allowing, a Baroque Soprano Recorder to be played by our client, an elementary school student without her left hand. The final design must meet the following criteria:

1. Any device or modification to the instrument must be safe.

2. Nia is fine with device looking different, but her music teacher would prefer that it be as inconspicuous as possible.

3. Instrument must be able to be disinfected. Would be nice if it could be dishwasher safe but not required.

4. Baroque fingering must be used.

5. The required notes are the lower notes: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C, D (see attached chart). These notes must be able to be played. Additional notes (such as those requiring half holes) would be nice, but are not required.

6. Nia will be learning with her right hand on top (not standard) first year of instruction and adding her limited left hand to bottom thereafter.

7. Device must fit into limited space, such as a small container or under her chair.

8. Device must allow instrument to be played sitting down or standing up.

9. Instrument with accommodation is still required to have a neck strap and case for storage.

10. Any device or accessories must have their own case.

11. There is no current need for page turning.

12. Nia must be able to support the instrument at all times while playing.

13. Device must not be cold or metallic against Nia’s limited hand which is sensitive to cold.

14. Nia must be able to use her limited hand, in some way, while playing her instrument.

15. Incorporating purple into the device, strap, and/or case would be nice since it is Nia’s favorite color.

16. The device must not be cumbersome and Nia must be comfortable with it.

17. The instrument must not be modified for one handed playing. The device must allow Nia to learn along with her classmates in music class, without the need for ongoing private instruction, which would be required for a one handed device.

18. Nia would be fine with using a keypad, computer, or her foot; none of which are required.

19. Although Nia has no known allergies, only hypoallergenic materials must be used against her skin.

20. It is preferred that Nia be able to setup and/or don her own device, but it is not required.

21. Device must continue to function, or be easily updated as Nia continues to grow. (Growth through 5th grade is required; past that is preferable, but not required).

22. Nia must be able to play the instrument at a normal, comfortable angle of play.

Maine Day Competition

The competition to select a modified baroque recorder for Nia will occur on Wednesday April 29, 2015.

The first portion of the design challenge begins at 9 a.m. Sessions run back-to-back, thus the end time could be between 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Events will be in Room 137, Bennett Hall unless otherwise noted.

1. Musical tone testing, Room 140, Bennett Hall

2. Judging at team tables

3. Case Race — Students will be timed removing the device from the case, assembling it, playing a note, disassembling it and returning it to the storage case.

4. Cleaning demonstration — Teams will show how to maintain the device and give directions for disassembly and cleaning.

5. Presentations — Each team will provide a 10-minute description about how it came up with the design and why it’s the best choice for the client.

6. Musical competition — One member per team will play “Camptown Races” on a recorder equipped with his or her team’s respective design.


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