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‘Students in walkers literally throw their walker to the side’: Shine Music Festival will help people with special needs enjoy music in different ways

<i>KCNC</i><br/>New 'Feel the Beat' technology helps everyone enjoy music
New 'Feel the Beat' technology helps everyone enjoy music

By Olivia Young

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    DENVER (KCNC) — The “radically inclusive” Shine Music Festival is this Saturday. The event hopes to break barriers so that more people can enjoy live music. One Colorado company is turning music into vibrations so everyone can Feel the Beat at that event.

Lily Martin attends classes at Whitlock Rec Center in Lakewood every Wednesday.

“It’s really fun and the dance stuff,” Martin said, “I love doing the dance, it makes me so happy.”

But she’s not learning on just any dance floor.

“[It feels] like buzzing,” says Martin, “It’s just like that which is really very cool.”

That buzzing comes from “bone conduction” technology, embedded in the floor by Colorado nonprofit Feel the Beat.

“It reaches your mastoid bone in the back of your head,” says Feel the Beat founder, Jari Majewski Price, “which pretty much bypasses your inner ear which is where a standard hearing loss would be experienced.”

Majewski Price got the idea when she was a special education teacher.

“The lightbulb moment was when we had one of our deaf-blind students put her hands on the xylophone when another student played, and they just kind of took turns, and their faces beyond lit up,” said Majewski Price.

The technology helps students with a range of special needs grasp all elements of music and sound, and has a focusing effect.

“Students in walkers literally throw their walker to the side like, ‘I’ve got this choreography! I can move across the floor,'” said Majewski Price.

Now in its sixth year, Feel the Beat has founded its own studio, installed floors in community spaces, and even created a mobile version of flooring that can be used at events.

“Tears, lighting up, giggles, like ‘everyone, you have to feel this with me! Look at what I feel,'” says Majewski Price. “It’s like, what I get up in the morning for every day.”

You can get a chance to Feel the Beat for yourself coming up on Aug. 27 at Shine Music Festival. The festival will be Feel the Beat’s biggest event to date. It takes place on Saturday, August 27th from 1 to 8 p.m. at Civic Center Park, 101 14th Avenue.

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