Learning and Healing Through Music with Orba

Learning and Healing Through Music with Orba

Teachers and therapists are using Orba to bring more music into learning and healing (and the Artiphon community is helping it happen).

Artiphon’s Orba in a remote-learning environment.

Music is so amazingly multi-faceted, and two of its greatest powers are in the development of young minds and in psychological wellness throughout life. We always get energized when teachers and therapists tell us they’ve been using Artiphon instruments in their work, and we’ve heard so many incredible stories along the way.

Things have been really accelerating in the learning and wellness spaces and we’d like to tell you the latest, as well as some ways you can get involved.

Orba in particular has been warmly adopted by a range of practitioners. The half-grapefruit shape is friendly and familiar. Orba’s eight pads and four instrument modes feel approachable. The pads are highly sensitive to the touch, which is great especially for those with mobility issues. And people really like that Orba can be used standalone or with laptops, mobile devices, and software.

One of the catalysts this year has been our ability to donate a good number of Orbas thanks in part to our Kickstarter backers. When we launched Orba on Kickstarter, backers had the opportunity to pledge on a Give One, Get One program where we shared the cost of an additional Orba to be donated to a teacher, therapist, or researcher. So far over 100 Orbas have been donated to people and institutions doing all sorts of amazing work.


Campers like this young musician at Camp Mixtape use Orba to compose and record their own albums.

Orba is being piloted by the Anaheim public elementary school district (which has over 15,000 students) to support Social-Emotional Learning in its music programs. The curriculum, called Orba and Feelings, teaches students to use sounds, rhythms, and melodies to articulate their emotional states.

The Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory, a non-profit in Los Angeles, is using Orba to offer music lessons to incarcerated teenagers in the California corrections system.

Notes for Notes, a national youth music organization, uses Orba in its innovative distance-teaching program with Pittsburgh public schools, where instructors teach via Zoom to students in the classroom.

This summer, New York-based Building Beats taught a free music production workshop for teens in Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn, part of a community initiative to reduce violence exacerbated by the pandemic.

Camp Mixtape is New York-based summer camp where young musicians are using Orba to compose and record their own albums.

Music therapists at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital have been incorporating Orba and INSTRUMENT 1 into their work with patients.

Below, you'll see an even more comprehensive list of participants.


A student at the Reece school customizes their Orba with the companion app.

This is certainly a challenging moment for our educational institutions, and for our collective wellbeing. We’re hearing from teachers the struggles students face as they return to the classroom after many months doing school from home. Not only do students need to catch up on the learning they missed, but also the social and psychological growth that happens in-person with teachers and peers. Some, like Anaheim public schools, are using music to help re-weave this connective fabric that is part of well-rounded development.

Music therapists and wellness practitioners are also getting more attention these days as we weigh the toll that the pandemic has put on people’s state of mind. From credentialed clinical music therapists to those practicing sonic healing and south baths, music is playing an important part in our rebalancing. Check out the American Association of Music Therapists to learn more about what this field is all about, as well as the amazing groups linked below.


We want to thank our Kickstarter backers who helped support our ability to donate Orbas. We also want to thank the teachers, therapists, and researchers who have been so enthusiastic and open-minded about using new technology. If you’re in one of these fields, you can request a donation here.

Also a reminder that we offer a discount to qualifying educators and wellness practitioners. Click here to apply.

The world is increasingly tuning in to the many powerful benefits of musical creativity, and technology can do so much to bring those benefits within reach. Artiphon is excited to deepen its relationship with the many experts who are pioneering the next chapters of this valuable work.


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