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Skoogs in Orkney
Skoogs in Orkney

Chris Giles, Principal Teacher in Expressive Arts for Orkney Council, introduces the Skoog Project, funded through the YMI formula fund for local authorities.


Orkney Island’s  Council’s Education and Leisure Service is one of the first local authorities to pilot the use of the ‘Skoog’ as part of its instrumental services which serves the islands of Orkney.  YMI funding has so far helped to fund three Skoogs and two training days. Orkney Map

The ‘Skoog’ ( is a new musical instrument developed by Dr Benjaman Schögler and Dr David Skulina - a colourful squeezy cube that is sensitive to the slightest touch, yet is robust enough to resist strong handling.  This allows children with profound and complex additional support needs to play music in a an expressive way.  The innovative software enables teachers  to configure the instrument  to any pupil. 


The instrumental service in Orkney aims to be inclusive and this equipment will ultimately enable learners with a wide variety of learning support needs to take part in instrumental tuition and to perform in orchestral concerts, both as solo performers and with conventional instruments.


The project is still in its initial stages, but pupils and staff alike have been delighted with the potential of the instrument.  The staff have already been impressed by the ability of the Skoog to enable connections with pupils who have very severe communication difficulties and some pupils have already composed a piece of music which has been used for a drama session.  Staff members feel that the software and the instrument itself are very user-friendly and are being offered hands-on opportunities to practice and explore the equipment.


Child playing skoog

A project leader  has been assigned to initially use the Skoogs at Glaitness Primary School, Kirkwall, with the intentin of rolling out the project to ot


her schools and ensuring that the use of the Skoog becomes routine within the music curriculum.  Three Skoogs have been funded by the YMI and will be used by the peripatetic music servcie, Glaitness Primary School has funded a further two and the Department of Community Social Services has funded one for the residential and respite facility at Aurrida House.  The aim  is for implementation (at Glaitness Primary School at least) by the end of this school session.



Staff members have already received training from Dr Schögler on two full days and are now being offered induction by the project leader.


There is no doubt that all of the learners involved so far have been extremely enthusiastic about the Skoog and teachers are very open to the possibilities it affords.  We are looking forward to the first appearance by the Skoogs at an orchestral concert.


Tanya McGill, Cultural Co-ordinator Manager at Orkney Islands Council comeented “As an instrumental service we have been looking around for some time for a project which can bring a step change in allowing all pupils in Orkney, especially those with additional support needs, to participate fully in our service and concerts.  I really welcome the genuine opportunity that the Skoogs provide us to extend our instrumental service and to be fully inclusive”.


For further information on the Skoogs in Orkney project contact:


Download a PDF version of the Original Article from the Scottish Arts Council website.