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2014 Bader Grant recipient, OHMI (The One-Handed Musical Instrument Trust) is holding a competition challenging people to create an instrument that can be played without the use of one hand and arm. The deadline for this challenge is 30th June 2015 so you need to get your designs in fast for a chance of winning a prestigious award from this wonderful and very worthy organisation.

The 2015 OHMI Competition

Entrants to the One-Handed Musical Instrument Competition are challenged to develop musical instruments that can be played without the use of one hand and arm. It can be an adaptation of an existing instrument or a new design that is capable of emulating a traditional instrument. See below for details on the awards and the rules.

The final date for accepting entries is June 30th 2015. Judging by an independent panel will take place a few weeks thereafter. We are still working on plans for the awards ceremony, but will post details as soon as they are fixed.

Enquiries, in the first instance, should be sent to us using the contact page or by calling us on 07849 726309.

Entries can be made in any format just as long as they provide a full technical and musical explanation of the instrument. Email entries can be sent to rachel at OHMI dot org dot uk (sorry for spelling it out, but this helps avoid the spammers). Postal entries can be sent to The OHMI Trust, Tyndallwoods Solicitors, 29 Woodbourne Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B17 8BY.


OHMI Competition notification

(Please note that the links above won’t work – you’ll have to copy and paste them)


There are three prize categories for competition instruments:

PLAYABLE – For instruments capable of performance without further development. Adaptations must have all the capabilities of the original instrument. Where an entry uses new technology, perhaps electronics, it must closely copy the musical characteristics of the instrument it is emulating.
CONCEPT – For the most technically promising solution(s) to the challenge. Entries may be made in any form – paper, video, drawings, etc., just as long as they explain and describe the concept in detail to the competition judges. Several past entries have been projects in development – playable, but not yet to the high standard required.
ENABLING – For apparatus (straps, stands, harnesses etc.) that make a traditional instrument accessible for one-handed playing.

Qualifying Instruments:
The instrument adapted or emulated must meet these qualifying conditions:

i. The instrument is, or was once, commonly found in a musical ensemble (examples are orchestras, jazz bands, folk groups, or rock groups).
ii. The instrument does not already use any electronic devices. For example, an electric organ would not qualify.
For the benefit of clarity, competition instruments can use electronics or any other technology. It is the original instrument being adapted or emulated that cannot be electronic.

The Competition Rules
1. The competition instrument must be a “qualifying instrument” (see above).
2. The competition instrument must be capable of being performed by one person without the use of one hand and arm in any capacity.
3. The competition instrument must be portable by one person unaided, excluding any loud-speaker systems. If loud-speakers are used they must not contain any special elements or circuitry that are an important part in the instrument design itself (other than for sound output).
4. As part of the judging for the Playable category, a performance may be required. The performers of the instruments need not be the competition participants. The competitors may elect the performer of their own choice.
5. Neither the competition organisers (The OHMI Trust) nor any of the judges are permitted to take a legal interest in any copyrights, intellectual properties or manufacturing rights in the instruments. All rights will remain with the creators.
6. Competitors agree to licence to the competition organisers at no cost all copyrights and performance rights in any recordings of the competition auditions and performances that the organisers may make.

Although not a rule or competition requirement, the competition organisers wish to encourage all competitors to make their work “open-system”.