Tangible Distributed Computer Music for Youth

Shapiro, R. Benjamin; Kelly, Annie; Ahrens, Matthew; Johnson, Benjamin; Politi, Heather and Fiebrink, Rebecca. 2017. Tangible Distributed Computer Music for Youth. Computer Music Journal, 41(2), pp. 52-68. ISSN 0148-9267 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Computer music research realizes a vision of performance by means of computational expression, linking body and space to sound and imagery through eclectic forms of sensing and interaction. This vision could dramatically impact computer science education, simultaneously modernizing the field and drawing in diverse new participants. In this article, we describe our work creating an interactive computer music toolkit for kids called BlockyTalky. This toolkit enables users to create networks of sensing devices and synthesizers, and to program the musical and interactive behaviors of these devices. We also describe our work with two middle school teachers to co-design and deploy a curriculum for 11- to 13-year-old students. We draw on work with these students to evidence how computer music can support learning about computer science concepts and change students’ perceptions of computing. We conclude by outlining some remaining questions around how computer music and computer science may best be linked to provide transformative educational experiences.

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Additional Information:

The publisher version is reproduced with permission. © 2017 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Computing > Embodied AudioVisual Interaction Group (EAVI)


9 December 2016Accepted
30 May 2017Published Online
1 June 2017Published

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Date Deposited:

03 Jan 2017 12:11

Last Modified:

09 Apr 2020 10:55

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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