The Michigan Mobile Phone Ensemble

Gritty, etherial and industrial sounding, are words which come to mind when I listen to the University of Michigan's recent iPhone performance. I love the sound and show (see video below, there are others from previous recitals and practice) which is reminiscent of early Kraftwerk, remember at the time (early 1970's) Kraftwerk's sound was considered abrasive and undisciplined.

The University of Michigan’s Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and Music Departments, recently formed the Michigan Mobile Phone Ensemble and held their first performance on December 9th at U. Michigan’s Britton Recital Hall. The academic program behind it all was formed and led by Professor Georg Essl, stating that U. Michigan’s Mobile Phone Ensemble is focused on engaging its students in the exploration and development of new forms of music and instruments, and “currently our instruments of choice are iPhones and iPod Touches”.

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The U. Michigan Mobile Phone Orchestra follows close on the heels of the Stanford Mobile Phone Orchestra (MoPhO) developed by Stanford University Professor Ge Wang of Smule fame. While I have not yet fully developed an ear for music created on an iPhone, can a time when a pop band or new genre of music emerges with the iPhone as the lead instrument be that far off?

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I'm a behavioral health professional living and working in Maine specializing in psychiatric rehabilitation. For years I've utilized mobile technology to improve the delivery of community based mental health services, and embraced the iPhone when it came out in 2007.

I am also a doctoral candidate at Franklin Pierce University where I have been researching the role of the Liberal Arts in American higher education.

I write as a guest for iPhone Life periodically with a special interest in helping other professionals (healthcare, education and government in particular) incorporate iOS devices into their work, and several years ago introduced the first iPhone and eventually iPad classes at Lewiston Adult Education in Lewiston Maine concentrating on helping other professionals interested in using and incorporating iPads into their work.