A Guide To Facilitated Performance

Table of Contents

  1. The Activities of Facilitated Performance
  2. The Roles of a Facilitator
  3. Facilitator Personas

Facilitated Performance is a term used to describe the practice in which a musician or performer is supported by another person (a facilitator) in the activities of musical performance. Facilitators can offer musical, technical, or physical support for an individual depending on their needs. It is important to recognise that not all disabled musicians require support of this nature.

Facilitated performance is common within community accessible music making programs. Often these programs introduce new technologies over a short period of time. Which does not allow for an individual to become familiar with an instrument in a way that they can confidently use it independently (regardless of disability).

To understand how facilitated performance can impact both the adoption and use of a DMI, it is important to consider the activities that facilitators undertake and the roles they can adopt.

The Activities of Facilitated Performance

The activities of facilitated performance can be placed into four groups that reflect different stages of music making. These are: create, practice, perform, and reflect.

Stage 1: Create

The ‘create’ stage of the music making life-cycle is focused on discovery. Facilitator activities that are specific to the create stage include:

Introducing tasksIntroducing any project briefs, providing demonstrations of musical styles, soundscapes of instruments that will be used, including performers in project decisions.
Setting up equipmentSetting up any technology, putting up stands for microphones and other devices, running cables for the technical setup, moving furniture and setting up the space, giving directions to other facilitators.
Pairing musicians with DMIsAdjusting technology to suit musician’s needs/skill
Adjusting technology to suit musician’s needs/skillChanging the sound of a DMI, altering the user input (e.g. sensitivity), making adjustments to the user interface, creating ‘hacks’ or work-arounds to make an instrument work better for an individual.
Recording metadataTaking notes about each session, including all the metadata from instrument settings.

Stage 2: Practice

The ‘practice’ stage of the music making life-cycle is focused on mastering the instruments and practising elements of a musical piece. Facilitator activities that are specific to the practice stage include:

Recalling setupRecalling the settings of technology used, positioning of stands and all other elements required for practice.
DirectingUsually musical direction, including providing cues for musicians, keeping time, or prompting performers one to one.
AssistingProviding physical or musical support to an individual musician.
ObservingWatching the performer or group of performers as a spectator and making notes for improvements.
Giving feedbackDelivering constructive feedback on progress throughout.

Stage 3: Perform

The ‘perform’ stage of the music making life-cycle is about sharing work through performance. Facilitator activities that are specific to the ‘perform’ stage include:

Setting up for performanceSetting up the stage environment and equipment, including all technology settings and testing live sound levels with front of house engineers.
Performing ‘comfort checks’Checking with each individual performer that they are happy with their technical and physical setup. Dealing with any concerns about the setup.
On-stage directingProviding direction for a group or individual performer whilst on stage. Working alongside conductors/musical directors. This can include being visibly on stage with the performer(s).
On-stae assistingAssisting a performer one on one whilst on stage. This includes being visible on stage with the performer during the performance.

Stage 4: Reflect

The ‘reflect’ phase of the music making life-cycle is about evaluating progress. Facilitator activities that are specific to the ‘reflect’ stage are:

ReviewingWatching or listening to recorded material from a performance. Leading discussions about the experience with the performer(s) and other facilitators.
ObservingRecording notes of the performer(s) reflections during review sessions.
Giving feedbackDelivering feedback and responding to performer reflections.

The Roles of a Facilitator


ProducerLeads the production throughout the stages of a project, works with the performer(s) to make creative decisions.
DirectorDirects and provides prompts for a performer or group of performers.
TeacherIntroduces concepts, teaches technique, demonstrates musical tasks.


DAW OperatorManages session material within the Digital Audio Workstation software, including all metadata needed (track names, sound samples, sections) and records material when required.
Audio Visual TechnicianRoutes and manages all audio visual signals, includes setting up audio cables, interfaces and live sound output devices.
Equipment TechnicianSets up and monitors all equipment including microphone stands, power supplies and cables, as well as any DMIs in use.
Technical LeadCoordinates all technology, records necessary information about sessions about technical requirements. Directs other technicians.


Individual SupportProvides one to one support for a performer or more focused support to a few performers. Includes managing assistive equipment, as well as helping guide and monitor interactions.

Facilitator Personas

When designing DMIs that could be used in facilitated performance, it is important to consider facilitators as another user of a DMI alongside the musician. It is also worth noting that not all facilitators possess the same knowledge and skill-set.

Provided are some facilitator personas that can be used in the development processes of DMIs. Each of these personas exhibits a facilitator skill-set that has been developed from real-world observations. These provide close to real life examples of people that work within accessible music making.

For a perspective of how a DMI might be used in a facilitated performance environment, consider how each of these personas may experience the instrument. Think about what personal challenges they might face in using the DMI and in assisting a performer with it.

Persona 1: Jay

Persona 2: Alex

Persona 3: Charlie

Persona 4: Dylan