CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – There’s a music wall at Open Arms Care in Ooltewah.
And it’s all thanks to an engineering class project and a team of four UTC students.
“It’s a sensory wall for special needs people and it just happens to be musically inclined,” environmental science student Matthew Branning said.
Matthew Branning, Gary Paradis, Kevin Finch, and John Crabtree said that their project was geared toward helping people with disabilities.
The group worked with Open Arms Care, a nonprofit agency that serves people with disabilities, and came up with an idea to create a sensory wall using percussion instruments.
“We tried to get a whole variety of percussion instruments, because they don’t require much upkeep and there’s just a whole lot of variety, like, we’ve got metal instruments like a chime, got like a wooden xylophone, and a steel drum too,” mechanical engineering student Gary Paradis said.
It took around two months to complete.
They created a 3D drawing and prototype, then put it together.
“It turned into this big 5×3 wooden box with colorful foam and instruments all over it,” mechanical engineering student John Crabtree said.
“It was honestly like immaculate, like, greater than anything I could ever imagine,” mechanical engineering student Kevin Finch said.
Since the wall was installed, the group said they’ve received positive feedback.
“The clients themselves you know, they are, you know, challenged in different ways, but I like the idea of them coming together and playing with the wall. There’s multiple sets of mallets so they can even incorporate teamwork if they wanted to. Maybe they’ll learn a few things about musical instruments that they didn’t know before and just have fun with it,” Branning said.
“Even though this thing we made was made out of materials, it was just wood and foam and instruments and stuff, you know, to these people it’s more than that. It’s entertainment, it’s joy, it’s pleasure and that really hits home to me,” Crabtree said.