Artist Profile: Clare Johnston

Our PRS Foundation Talent Development Partnership musician Clare Johnston is helping us develop the use of iPad as an instrument for disabled musicians.

Drake Music Scotland was one of the first in the world to recognise the potential of iPads as inclusive musical instruments – the touch and expression sensitive screen can be controlled by hand, chin or nose.  Since 2013, we have been exploring the use of various apps (e.g. Thumbjam, Auxy, SoundPrism) across our projects including Scotland’s first disabled youth orchestra, the Digital Orchestra.

Watch our first video showing our work with iPad and thumbjam (June 2013)

Clare is helping us take this to a new level!

A professional disabled musician, teacher and composer, Clare also has a keen interest in the development of digital technologies and music.  Having taught herself Jython coding, Clare has revolutionised our use of iPad, bringing together…

… Thumbjam and Eyegaze

Clare’s work connecting the Thumbjam app with the eye-movement detecting system Eyegaze has enabled musicians with severe physical disabilities to control the music app with their eyes.

…Thumbjam and Figurenotes

Clare has integrated the inclusive music notation system Figurenotes with Thumbjam making the app more accessible for people with learning disabilities. You can read a fascinating blog about this on the Figurenotes website

Clare has also used her virtuosic skills with Thumbjam to write pioneering compositions such as “Solo a trois” which she performed to great acclaim at Celtic Connections 2017.


We are delighted to be one of PRS Foundation’s Talent Development Partners which is supporting us to commission Clare to write an exciting new piece for iPad Quartet which will be performed at Cryptic Glasgow in autumn 2018.

PRS Foundation Talent Development Partner