Jazz up your switch

“Jazz up your switch”


People with a physical disability often use special tools. A push switch is such a tool. A push switch can be operated by almost any body part that is able to produce consistent and voluntary movement.
 Push switches are used for getting computer access, in electric wheelchairs and environment control. We use (button) push switches during musical activities.




The button switch is made of plastic, shiny in striking “Sesame Street” colors. The “Big Bird” yellow button is fun for children up to 6 years, but in our rock band it does not look cool. 
So time to do something about this.
 In this workshop we are going to pimp our switches.


Musical device with 5 switches.

The preparation

Our switches have a cap that can be unscrewed. 
We sanded and degreased the plastic cap. 
Then we sprayed a couple of thin coats of primer. The primer was oil based and special for plastic. 
For painting we used acrylic paint. 
Acrylic paint is water based, but it works well with the oil-based primer.


A blank button and 3 buttons in the primer.

The techniques

Karin, Petra and Lyn have painted the switches with acrylic paints. Karin is not able to use her arms and hands well. We found a very nice solution for her. We used a record player and let her paint the button using the rotation of the record player.


Now she was able to add paint in the right amount, she used a paintbrush for effects.


For adding the paint she used an easy to hold dosing bottle.


Karin then used the brush.



The blow dryer was used to dry the paint a bit.


After a few days drying we finished the buttons with a gloss varnish.

July 2011 – Ruud van der Wel & Karin van Dijk

Workshop Magic Flute

1. Improvisation on the Magic Flute
2. Choice of notes and note usage
3. Playing songs for beginners
4. The power of the pentatonic scale
5. Turn your computer into a Magic Flute sound module
6. “Jazz up your switch”
7. Working with the iPad in combination with the Magic Flute

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