I’ve seen Helsinki decision makers do it.
I’ve seen them smile.
I’ve seen kids do it.
I’ve seen professionals, amateurs, and the very beginners laugh.
I’ve seen myself do it.
’cause I’m hooked, yeah, I’m hooked.
Should I make this into a song? Maybe I should, because this post is about coding music!
What could make a better break from editing and blogging than some dancing? It was a sunny day in July, and only Antti and I were working. Perfect – we could have the office only for ourselves! Antti is a real pro musician and coder, and thanks to him, I could have my own private party at the office! (Although the fact that I don’t like public dancing is somehow ruined, when I uploaded the clip online – have a glimpse behind the scenes 😀 )
One of mehackit’s courses is about coding music in Sonic Pi. It is developed by Sam Aaron in Cambridge, UK. The program itself is free for downloading, and you can learn with the Mehackit Tutorial for free here.
Bending analytical thinking and creativity
Why is music then a good approach to learn to code?
Think for a while about music. There are rules and a definite way of writing it. When composing, you are actually giving instructions to musicians. In the same vain, coding is simply put giving instructions to a computer. There’s not much of a difference!
In music, you have repetitions, scales and different patterns for different instruments, for instance.. In code, you can have similar kinds of conditionals and commands to play. You can have endless loopsloopsloops, and you can modify the code live, just like a DJ!
Furthermore, music coding lets you be creative in your code from the very beginning. You wouldn’t actually make it without using your imagination and having fun trying weird sounds. You can even increase your creativity by including some random variables. Let the code surprise you!
One of my favorite quotes is from Einstein: Creativity is intelligence having fun. And that totally applies to coding music.
Sonic Pi is based on Ruby, one of the many coding languages. Writing music with it is simple to start (and difficult to stop – trust me!). The way I see it, the most important thing when you’re stepping into the world of coding is to get into an algorithmic way of thinking. So, if you don’t know which language to learn, coding music in Ruby is a good way to get started. Once you’re familiar with Sonic Pi, it is easier to apply this knowledge onto other coding languages and applications.
Two universal languages
Music is said to be a universal language, and so is coding. What’s better in music coding, you don’t need to know about either of them to start, but you can learn as you go! Learn about music by coding. Learn about coding by music.
The approach is concrete. You hear the result of coding immediately, as music, and you know right away if it works or not. No need to wait to go through big data sets or to just stare at a moving dot – instead you can dance to your code!
This year, mehackit received the Kokoa Education Standard Certificate, so you are in secure hands to learn. Sonic Pi was used during the CodeBus Africa project that I already wrote about to encourage young to code and enhance equality.
The creator of Sonic Pi, Sam Aaron gives live concerts with only self-coded music, and is even invited to have a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in Convo 2019!
Enough reasons to try it out?